The Power of the Susans, Kathys & Debbies
It’s not just my neck that’s screaming my age. It’s my name. While I always considered my parents’ names to be tragically old-fashioned - when was the last time you met someone named Ida or Willard for goodness sakes? - I never fully realized until this past year what a dinosaur my own name has now become.
I can color my hair, work out religiously, eat right, dress stylishly, stay curious and employed, but as soon as I say, “Hello! My name is Susan,” the jig is up.
Yet, I continue to work in the youth-obsessed advertising industry, among the Taylors, Montanas, Tiffanys, Brittanys and Courtneys, conscious of the fact that my name is outing me, projecting all kinds of false assumptions, sometimes even before we have a chance to meet.
Is it fair that my name does not match the youthful spirit and ageless beauty that I am, if only in my head?
“When was the last time you met a Susan?” I complain one day over coffee with Kathy, Diane, Linda and Nancy.
“Maybe I should change my name,” I muse. “Do I look like an Ashley?” I query, as my dear friends deftly control their gag reflexes.
That is, until Kathy and I started our blog, Girls Gone 50. As we turned our focus to celebrating incredible, accomplished, inspiring, powerful, funny women over 50, suddenly everything was coming up Susans! And Paulas, Angelas, Julies and Joans.
I kid you not, I have met more amazing Susans - accomplished writers, thought leaders, directors, execs, artists, entrepreneurs - in the last few months than I have in a decade. It seems I can’t go out to dinner, network, read an article, or watch a show without discovering some wonderfully talented woman named Susan!
Then there are the famous Susans. U.N. Ambassador Susan B. Rice, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, actress Susan Sarandon, singer Susan Boyle, Senator Susan Collins and astronaut and Lt. General Susan Helms.
Thanks to this sisterhood of Susans, I am now proud to say my name, knowing that it announces to the world that Susan is not just a name from the 1950's, it is a glittering badge for a generation of women who have lived fully, achieved widely, smashed glass ceilings and continues to march on. Just don’t ever call me Susie.