I got married when I was a mere babe, at the tender age of 18 and 11 months. I took his name, because it felt right. Oh, and because I was a little fed up of being instantly associated with my mum when all I wanted to do was make my own way in the world (I love my mum and am incredibly proud to have her as my mum, but professionally we are in the same business and a different name helped at the time).
So for most of my adult life, I have had his name. We split nearly 5 years ago now and I have finally got round to changing my name. Why so long?
In part, it is because I'm known professionally as that surname. With some of what I do (elected official at a council), having a consistent brand is really important. I took the decision to keep my married name because it was less confusing for my residents, and for work purposes (it can take forever to get a name change at my other job!). The other reason was that I've had this name most of my adult life and I wasn't sure what I wanted to be. For a long time, going back to my maiden/family name didn't feel right, it felt like I'd be taking a step back into childhood.
But then The Beard and I got serious, and moved in together. And because I am usually the one who books hotels, or holidays, he gets called Mr MyMarriedName sometimes, which is both uncomfortable and weird. So I knew I had to do something. But it has taken me another 3 years to get round to changing my name officially. I changed it on Facebook and Twitter last year, testing the waters. I had finally decided to go back to my family name, rather than picking something else out of the air.
One reason for this was the cost - to go back to my maiden name simply required all my ID documents showing my name change (birth certificate, marriage certificate and divorce decree) whereas a new name altogether would have required a deed poll.
But ultimately it was because of my family that I went back to my maiden name. It's quite unusual in this part of the world and it will be even more unusual in Austria! And you know, it's my name. And a new start in a new part of the world feels a little bit like starting my adult life all over again. So it made sense to start all over again, name and everything.
It has taken a while, but I finally got my new passport through last week. I am not officially known by my new name. And it pleases me greatly :)