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Am I too old to change my name?

(27 Posts)
Anjou Fri 11-Jul-14 05:28:20

I hate my name. Always have. It's Christine. When I was 11, a school friend gave me a nickname that stuck & everyone (except my parents) has called me the nickname ever since. I use it for work etc, even though it's very unusual sounding and is usually met with a "what?!" when I introduce myself. It's not a nice name - certainly not pretty - but it feels much more like MY name than the one given to me at birth.

Since having kids a couple of years ago, I've thought more about my (nick)name and how I wish I had one I liked the sound of and felt comfortable in. My given name, Christine, is not that bad as a name in itself. However, my childhood was a particularly unhappy one and I still have a number of unresolved issues with my mother (I've tried everything to resolve them, she's now in her mid 70s and is not going to change). Being called Christine immediately takes me back to being an unhappy kid. That's why I hate it.

If I could go back in time, I'd tell my pre-teen self to be creative with Christine and go by Charis (it's just an 'A' being added to 'Chris' - not too much of a deviation, right?) or Kitty, which is actually one of my favourite girls names. Christopher gets shortened to Kit, why not Christine to Kitty? Kicking myself for not thinking of this years ago! Or maybe I could choose something completely different.

The thing is, I'm in my late thirties. I have an established career, husband, pre-school kids and - like everyone else - friends I've picked up from all over. Can I change my name at this point? Not from a legal standpoint, I mean can I really say "I'm called something else now, folks!" How would one go about letting colleagues and friends from all over the place know? Is Kitty from Christine too much of a jump? Is it any different, for example, to someone being known as Charles all their life now wanting to be Chuck? Is it all a bit weird and mid-life-crisis-y?

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't think THAT much of it if a friend or colleague said they wanted to now be known by something else. What would you think? Does anyone know anyone that's done this? I'm becoming slightly obsessed with the idea of changing my name (hence posting at 5am - it's keeping me awake!). I feel like it would have a big positive impact on my life. It's obviously a big step, so I'd make sure I was 100% happy with the new choice of name.

Thanks for reading if you got this far! All thoughts & opinions welcome. smile

Anjou Fri 11-Jul-14 05:29:43

Wow. shock MASSIVE post. Sorry! blush

MammaTJ Fri 11-Jul-14 05:34:39

I know someone who had their Mum give permission to change their name when she was close to death.

Once her DM had passed away she changed it. She was in her 40s and everyone accepted it. I agree that her name given at birth was not as nice as her chosen name.

Go for it, people will get used to it.

RitaConnors Fri 11-Jul-14 05:36:26

No I don't think so. My dh changed his name when he was 30. His old name was very ghetto and it was, in his opinion, holding him back in his career. He said he could see peoples eyebrows shoot up when he introduced himself.

He changed his name to his second middle name. He couldn't use his first middle name as it is........Tracy.

He just went for it and it went quite smoothly. His parents still use his old name which I think is fair enough. Everybody else just switched over.

Just do it.

Anjou Fri 11-Jul-14 05:46:16

Thanks for your replies, Mamma & Rita. It's great to hear 2 success stories. Were the new names quite different from the originals? Did they just tell people as and when they saw them or did they make any kind of announcement. The latter actually sounds OTT now I've written it down, but I imagine it would feel more 'real' to do it that way - and it would save a bit of time!

PIVOT Fri 11-Jul-14 05:59:06

Go for it! Loads of people change their last names upon getting married, why shouldn't you have a first name you're happy with?

My middle name is after a family member I don't like or see, and it's not to my taste so I'm considering changing it.

As long as it's not a symbol (yes Prince, we're looking at you) or a Puff Daddy/P Diddy escapade, I say you're fine.

ViviPru Fri 11-Jul-14 06:29:47

Another resounding 'go for it' from me too.

I kind of did this at age 33.5, in so much as I have a long name with 2 very distinct, broadly recognised diminutives. Very much along the lines of Penelope, Penny and Nell.

I was known generally by 'Penny' from childhood. I've never really liked it, but it just stuck. Very close friends and family use the 'Nell', which I prefer. I feel uncomfortable though with very new acquaintances using 'Nell' or it being used professionally as it feels very affectionate and familiar so since I started working 15 years ago I've always introduced myself as 'Penelope' professionally and socially, then that may drift into 'Nel' over time which is fine.

Last year I decided I'd had enough of 'Penny' once and for all so made it known I don't really like it. This was made easier as it coincided with our wedding and on all of the printed matter we used 'Nell' and I asked the celebrant to refer to me as 'Penelope' in the ceremony.

Several people asked me about it and I made it clear I didn't like 'Penny' and never had. It helped that one of my girlfriends thought this was hilariously preposterous and kicked up a right song and dance which while irritating, helped spread the word. A few people have raised eyebrows over it, to them, starting to call me 'Nell' after 33 years of knowing me as 'Penny' feels as alien as calling someone Claire whom they've always known as Sarah. But I was resolute and it just caught on. 18 months on, I barely hear Penny now and I'm so glad I did it

Sorry for epic post, good luck with your decision, OP!

xvxvxvxvxvxvxvxv Fri 11-Jul-14 06:34:33

No not too late!! You're not even halfway through you'd life yet! In ten or twenty years you'll regret not doing it now if you don't!

HSMMaCM Fri 11-Jul-14 06:40:24

DH changed his name. His oldest friend still calls him by his previous name, but he's the only one.

Iownafourinchporsche Fri 11-Jul-14 06:57:10

I think you can just say that you've always really disliked being called penny and cant stand the idea of being called that for the next 40 years. Then introduce Charis or Kitty (which ever one you prefer most)

AwkwardSquad Fri 11-Jul-14 07:01:16

Someone at work did this in her 50s, after her mum died. Didn't seem to be any problems, certainly everyone at work accepted it easily. Her name, her choice!

guinnessgirl Fri 11-Jul-14 07:31:02

A lady I worked with changed her name when she was 60. She had dissociative identity disorder, and her given name brought back some very unpleasant childhood memories, so she changed it to a name that many would consider a men's name (think along the lines of Alex or Chris). Some people were a bit hmm but everyone made the effort to respect her choice, and now I couldn't imagine her with any other name. It suits her far better and she is so much happier.

Do it! smile

Shia Fri 11-Jul-14 08:06:31

I changed my name. Only my dad calls me by my original name.

For example, Diane and I changed it to Dido being the first name and made Ann a middle name, so that that there was some semblance of the original name. No, my name isn't Dido!

Looking back, I wished I had chosen something altogether different.

ZuzuandZara Fri 11-Jul-14 08:20:58

I know someone who had a weird nickname very cool throughout teens/twenties but a bit stupid for a 30 something mother of 3. She changed it to a nickname of her real name, everybody accepted it with no problem and she's known by her 'new' name. Very similar story to yours. Go for it!

Hairylegs47 Fri 11-Jul-14 08:25:59

Go for it!
I can totally understand your reasons why. My side of the family are the only ones who use the UN shortened version and it makes me feel like a 'wicked lassie who'll end up in a home'. Seemingly, all I ever was as a kid was a big disappointment, never did anything right etc. I know if I said to all of them but my 'D' mum 'Look, I'm nothing like her, please don't call me 'Constance' call me Connie' they'd be fine with it, but the troubled kid in me - I saw my mum in Asda the other day, she didn't see me, and I was a wreck, I felt like that 'wicked lassie' all over again. sad I'm 47 for crying out loud!

WhizzPopBang Fri 11-Jul-14 08:50:27

Yeah go for it - I've two friends who changed their names, one was a variation of their name, the other was to their nickname. They were probably both in their twenties so a little earlier but still with established friends and jobs... Went totally smoothly - in fact it was probably me that found it hardest to change over because I'd known them so long, in fact I went to second friend's workplace and asked for her by her original name & they didn't know who I was talking about blush. Your friends are hopefully a bit more on the ball than I was... Either way go for it - it's your name!

GingerPuddin Fri 11-Jul-14 08:55:45

I worked with someone who transition from male to female. We just got an email saying she was transitioning and would prefer to be called her female name. We were all very English about it and didn't comment but just called her by her preferred name. Amongst my colleague it wasn't a big deal.

hollyisalovelyname Fri 11-Jul-14 09:04:04

Celebs do it all the time.
As do some hair stylists - if 2 stylists have the same name in a salon, one will change their name
Go for it.

RitaConnors Fri 11-Jul-14 09:07:44

My dh's names are as different as L'Dashawn and James. He just told people as he went along.

Preciousbane Fri 11-Jul-14 09:14:52

I contemplated changing my given name when I got divorced. I actually have two given names, one is not English but is a name from my Fathers home country. I decided not to as no one would be able to pronounce or spell it, I do regret it sometimes.

I think you should change it.

Iquitelikeapples Fri 11-Jul-14 10:07:55

Another one saying go for it. I have a friend who changed to a very different name. She just changed it on Facebook & carried on. Seems completely normal to call her by her 'new' name now.
I also have a friend who transitioned from female to male. Again, no one was bothered, think he was slightly disappointed with the lack of drama!

Anjou Fri 11-Jul-14 22:17:23

Thank you all SO much for your replies! It's great to hear from those of you who know people that have done it, but also people like ViviPru & Shia who have done it themselves. It's really helpful to hear your opinions and it's amazing that - having had some sort of experience with later life name changing - you all think it's well worth doing. It's also really heartening to know I'm not the only one who feels this way. grin

Hairylegs, thanks thank you for sharing your story. Hey, it's never too late to change, right?! smile

Now I just need to concentrate on what name will be the best 'fit'. And to test the water with DH ... wish me luck!

If it helps and I'm unsure if I've read right but I've known a couple of Karis's. And one charis. It's a lovely name. If it feels more you, just change it.

Peaceloveandbiscuits Fri 11-Jul-14 22:43:26

My cousin did this after a horrid divorce, and she was in her late 40s/early 50s I believe. Sometimes I forget she even had another name. Go for it!

Peaceloveandbiscuits Fri 11-Jul-14 22:44:49

Oh and the names were very different, though connected in a nice way.

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