Every so often (and more often than I’d like to admit), life forces me to make a decision that doesn’t have an easy or obvious answer. Wouldn’t it be nice if life came with a clear roadmap, marking every turn and steering me around road hazards? Lately, I’ve been learning to pay attention to and trust my internal GPS and to everyday synchronicities.
Several years ago, as I was transitioning from being married to being not-married, my lawyer emailed to ask what I was going to do about my name. It was a question I hadn’t anticipated or thought about. It threw me into a sort of existential quandary about names and identity—one of those “what’s in a name?” moments.
Deep down, I knew I was going to change my name, but “going back” to my maiden name felt like a regression and also a resignation. “I guess I’ll go back to Greenberg,” I told friends until someone told me a story about a woman who made up a new last name when she got divorced.
A new window of possibility!
Around that time, my friend Kristen and I were at our favorite Saturday night karaoke spot—a Greek family restaurant where they would set up karaoke outside on the porch when the weather was nice. I told Kristen that I was thinking of taking on a new last name. It felt out-of-the-box for me at the time and I was tiptoeing around the idea. She quickly pulled out her phone and started asking me about my ancestry. She plugged words like “butterfly” and “flower” into Google to translate them into Hebrew, Russian, Romanian, and German. When she got to the German word for flower - blume - we both got chills. I loved it because it was connected to my heritage and because of what it represented for me in that moment of my life.
Still, I had a big voice of doubt in my head so I asked the universe for a sign. Of course, since it was spring in Texas, there were flowers all over the place. I realized that I need to be more specific in my request: “You’re going have to hit me over the head" I said to the universe, “otherwise, I’m going to second guess every patch of wildflowers I see on the side of the road.”
A few days later, it was St. Patrick’s Day. I decided to go to karaoke at a tavern in my neighborhood. I was happy to find a parking spot right in front of the entrance. I went inside, sang a couple of songs, and then left to go home. As I backed out of my parking spot, I had the instinct to look up. It turned out that I had parked under the marquis. By chance, this is what was on the sign that night...
A “sign” on a sign—it doesn’t get much better than that! Maybe it was just coincidence; maybe it really was a sign from the universe. In the end it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that it gave me the resolution I needed to move forward with a decision I had already made in my heart.