Friday, March 6

What's in a (middle) name?

Shakespeare once said, "What's in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." (Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 1-2)  But did he ever think about what was in a middle name?  Did they even have middle names back then?  I'm not completely sure about that second question but that's for another blog.  There are so many people with the same name, John Smith, Katie Jones, and endless others.  In my grade alone there were over 10 Rachels and even a girl with the same last name as mine plus an O.  That can get very confusing.  So how did society decide to fix this name game issue?  They added in another name.  

Middle names can be very important to a person and their family.  Many people's middle names are the name of a special relative or a very close friend.  They may have passed away or they may have a special place in the history of the family.  Another common theme to choosing a middle name is choosing a prominent member from one's family religion.  Some of the most common middle names are Michael, John, and Mary from the Bible.  In the case of today's celebrities, they choose the most random name imaginable and decide that this name is the best idea for a middle name (or first name for that matter...)  A not so common theme for choosing a middle name is choosing a word from another language that means something to the mother or father.  One of my friend's middle names (who is African American) is Noire, which means "black" in French.

Another way to pick a middle name is the use the mother's maiden name, and this is exactly what my mom did.  My middle name is Jensen, my grandpa's last name, and my mom loved the idea of keeping that name in the family.  My sister has the same middle name for the same reason.  I think that is a tradition that is not kept around as much as it should be because in a typical marriage the female takes on the last name of the male.  By keeping your maiden name as your middle name it never goes away!

It can be really interesting to sit down with your family and learn why you were given your middle name.  If you are able to, even try to ask your grandparents where their middle names came from.  I have gotten into some really interesting and memorable conversations with my family when these things have come up.  Take some time today to learn more about your heritage and learn to love your middle name!!

I Want YOU to be Happy

Happiness is a funny thing.  It can come out of nowhere and it can go away in a flash.  However, I would have to say that making someone else happy can be the best feeling.  March 3rd is "I Want You to be Happy Day"; a day completely dedicated to thinking about other people and ways to make them happy.  I know that most people don't even think about what makes them happy on a daily basis so people may think it would be too much work to think about what makes other people happy.  When it comes down to it, though, being in tune to other's feelings is a great skill.  

Some people are outgoing and let you know exactly how they are feeling.  Those people are easy to please.  It's the people who are more introverted that you need to work at.  By observing peoples everyday reactions to their surroundings, it can become increasingly easier to make people happy.  If one of your friends really gets excited when there are gummy worms at the dining courts, buy her some gummy worms for no reason!  I'm sure it will make her happy and you will feel great about doing that for someone.  It can be as big of an action as buying someone flowers and surprising them in their lecture in CL50, or it can be as small as telling someone they look nice that day.  Both are just as effective as long as they are done with care.

If someone wants to make me happy, it doesn't take a lot.  First of all, if it is a sunny day, I am guaranteed to already be in a great mood.  If it is a warm and sunny day, I don't need anything more than to be outside to feel happy.  But if someone wanted to totally top that and go for mega happiness, a simple compliment would do the trick.  I'm sure a  lot of you have seen the people who stand outside on campus and give out "free compliments".  Although those compliments are not very well thought out, it still feels good to hear "Hey I really like your scarf" or "Your hair looks great today", even if it is from a random stranger.  Those people may get a lot of funny looks but I'm sure they walk away from there feeling like they made some people's days just a little bit better.  

It is proven that physical activity can put you in a better mood.  I know that I always feel great after an intense workout or even after just running around playing frisbee or racquetball.  If you are having a bad day, feeling stressed or just feeling down, try to get up and get moving around.  Even if you just take a walk with a friend you are getting exercise and socializing; two things that all humans benefit from.  Last weekend I was feeling really overwhelmed with school so I just picked up and went to the RSC and hopped on the treadmill.  I just chugged along for a couple of miles and felt so great afterwards.  I went on to have a great and productive weekend, which is another great feeling.  When you feel in control of your life and your own happiness, you will feel happier more often because you are in touch with your feelings and you will be able to spread your happiness to others.  

The point of this day is not to sacrifice all of the things that make you happy to make others happy.  The point is to remember to take time for happiness in your daily life by spreading a smile. 
 I'll end with a quote:

"Never give up on the things that make you smile."  --Anonymous