Remembering our Engagement

All the memories that are making this the most special time of my life.

The modern name change

on March 29, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, we went out to celebrate setting the wedding date for August 29th. I am smiling now thinking about the 3 champagne cocktails each, making toast after toast to I-cant-remember-what. Before diving into all the wedding planning, we took that moment to just dream. To talk about the fun stuff. Whoa… we will be living together. Should we get a 1BR or 2BR? Whoa… we’re going to get to have this big party just for us! Whoa… name change!

I think it is the sweetest thing in the world that you said I didn’t have to change my name if I didn’t want to, and when I said “of course I will be taking your name,” you smiled from ear to ear. Yeah, that’s right, you get to put your name on it. 🙂 And then we actually sat there on my dinky windows phone and looked up available gmail addresses.

I’ve gone back and forth a lot over time about this one, and here is where I came out. Changing my gmail address is, in many ways, much more personal to me than changing my name. I’m not sure if it is for that reason, or for the inconvenience of switching over, that even the women I know that have change their names have kept their gmail addresses. And I do understand it. My entire post-high school data trail sits on there, with of course some major edits and cleanouts. More importantly, the evolution of our relationship is chronicled in the pages and pages of chats and email threads full of flirtations, revelations, declarations, and yes, some frustrations, irritations, and indignations. Can I really just start over?

But it is a truly modern way of thinking to say that a new gmail address implies “starting over”. For thousands of years, two people have begun a life together without an archive of the minutes of every conversation they’ve ever had. The human brain and physical space constraints have always worked together to force a prioritization of what stays, and what goes, in ones mind and in ones file cabinet, based on the usefulness or meaningfulness of that information in the future. Now all things are treated equally in my inbox. A GB of space is a GB of space, whether comprised of our musings late at night or 20 confirmation emails. I’m not saying this is good or bad, but it certainly has implications on the way we view our personal history.

But that is only if you equate data with memory. We have seen over and over that the facts of what happened in our lives aren’t nearly as important as the story we tell ourselves about them. Research shows that two people who go through similar experiences – war, for example – have very different long-term outcomes (health, happiness, etc.) based on the way they view those events, and not necessarily the events themselves. This is why our minds are so capable of healing us and reminding us what makes us happy.

While I am completely ready to trust in our memories, I then realized that really, by having all this data, the same forcing function plays out in what you choose to go back to. For example, I have never dipped back into the archive to look at those NY times updates, but I have gone back to re-read the conversations from our early days and reminisce. I recognize there is some danger in that, the potential to warp perspective, but only as much as choosing which books to pull off the shelf and flip through can. The overabundance of equally accessible information creates the same flat surface of history on which the brain and memory can act, as having none of that information at all.

I was happy to learn that you can actually merge gmail accounts now. I can create an account where I have my entire history, plus send emails only from my new address. To me, this is beautiful. This is a modern way of letting life take its course, building your new life seamlessly out of the past, and moving forward together.

So there we were at Pops drinking champagne, searching for gmail addresses. Yep, there was one with my first name and middle initial, and your last name! In typical style, my phone cut out, so I reserved the gmail address the next day and sent you an inaugural email.

Well I hadn’t signed back in until today, and now I see your reply from then:


I love this so much,

Not as cool as your [college email] though…


As much of a goofball as you are, this email made it all worth it. I love that you’re excited about it all, because I am too. Someone told me the other day that the moment it all hits is when someone to call you Mrs. ____. I don’t doubt that at all, and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to continuing our story.


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