Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve officially changed my name to my married one.
Theresa Gerling is now Theresa Karpen.
I used to hate my given name growing up. Too long, too many letters, doesn’t exactly slip trippingly on the tongue. No one could spell my first name. They didn’t understand the whole silent ‘h’ thing. I’ve gotten Teresa, Tereasa, Terasa, you name it (no pun intended). And my last name, Gerling. So German, sounds too much like girlie, in fact everyone wanted to spell it Girling. But now that all my mail and my checks and my credit cards all say Theresa Karpen, I miss it.
To me Theresa Gerling sounds like a fun loving girl in her 20s. Theresa Karpen sounds like a frigid, uptight 30 year old. Whatever, my goal is to make my name sound fabulous no matter what it is.
Today I turn 30 years old. 30 is considered a milestone birthday. When you become a real adult with real responsibilities. When you’re supposed to embrace the first sightings of gray hair and the beginnings of fine wrinkles. But whatever, I still plan to slut it up from time to time.
And as I bask in the glow of happy birthday text messages and the Facebook love I also can’t help but reflect on the past 10 years and what my 20s have taught me.
My 20s were a fun and wild ride. There was college and hopes and dreams. Late nights with friends and early mornings furiously trying to finish a paper. There was love and heartache. And love and heartache. Friends made, friends lost. Frat parties and clubs, dancing the night away in little tiny skirts with all the ladies (‘Baby Got Back’, anyone?). There were struggles with self esteem, depression, weight issues and eating disorders. Struggles with finances, college courses but always persevering through it all.
There was a girl from a small town in Missouri who packed up her things in a U-Haul trailer and fulfilled her dream of heading out west. There was culture shock of the big city lights and working long hours and multiple jobs to make rent each month. The thrill of meeting new people from all different backgrounds and cultures. Broadening my mind, listening to different opinions and learning about the struggles of others. New friends, new experiences, new places traveled and explored and a new outlook on life.
There was failure and coming close to giving up. But then there was success and finding the strength from within. And there was a boy (le sigh) and love. And then there was marriage.
Dude, and that all happened in 10 years. So there’s no reason to mourn the loss of my 20s. I’ve gained so much confidence and have become a much stronger person. So here’s to my 30s - I look forward to what may come.