Monday, September 21, 2015

What's In A Name?

Shakespeare once wrote: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That quote came to mind the other day as I was reading an blog post about the term "Boomers," meaning those folks who are part of what is known as the Baby Boomer generation. The blogger was questioning whether this was a better name than referring to them as Seniors, or Elders, or a host of other names.

When I first started gardening, I tackled it the same way that I always tackle something new - I researched the heck out of it. By the end of the first year I was able to refer to plants by their proper names and recognize most on sight. Twenty-plus years later and except for the more common ones, I'll be darned if I can remember half of them. What they are called matters less to me than how they look and, more importantly, how they make me feel. As long as it make me feel good, and fresh, and closer to my Creator, than I couldn't care less what it's called ... Sally or Fred would do just as well!

In my ebook, "Song Of An Extraordinary Life: Creating A New Soundtrack For Our Third Age," I refer to that time in our lives when we have lived through our first two ages - childhood and adult - as our Third Age, a time when we have raised our kids, paid our dues, and have decades ahead of us to create our own ideas of what life should be. While I have put a name to the concept, I certainly wouldn't want to be called a "Third Ager," any more than I want to be known as a Boomer. In the chapter titled, "The Way You Do The Things You Do," I talk about the idea that who I am is who I decide to say I am. Referring to myself as a mother, daughter, sister, friend, etc., describes roles that I play in the lives of those around me, but the last time I was discussing this idea with a group of people and they asked me what I would want to be called, I replied, "Barb." There is only one Barb exactly like me and she can be and do anything she sets her sights on. Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said, "Once you name me, you negate me." Once you lump me in a category, you limit my potential.

So it doesn't matter what age I am, or what generation I belong to. Just like that pretty yellow flower in my garden whose name I don't know, as long as I live my authentic life and all that entails for me, the name Barb will do just fine, thank you very much.

And so it is.
P.S. The ebook that I mention above, Song Of An Extraordinary Life, is available at In it I challenge the women of my generation to make use of our experience changing the cultural norms and create a Third Age that rocks!