My time as “Ashlie Sykora” is drawing to an end. A last name I hated growing up because it was different, hard to pronounce, hard to spell. As I entered my late teens, however, I began to embrace it. I began to love the sound of it. I appreciated that it wasn’t common. I also appreciated that it was a direct link to my heritage. I must admit that I’ve never dug deep into my ancestry, but it has been a piece of me, a piece of where I came from.

This isn’t my first rodeo, but it really is

I was very briefly married about a decade ago, I took his last name. It wasn’t the same. Maybe it should have been an indication that it wasn’t meant to be. It was as though deep down I knew I would be reunited with my last name once again. This time is different, it feels different. I have already been in preparation to change my name after getting married tomorrow. I have gotten the paperwork to get my ID and documents changed, I have made new business cards and materials with my new name on them.

It didn’t hit me until two nights ago

I was closing up a webinar on essential oils that I had hosted and the contact slide came up. I realized it was my last live webinar as “Ashlie Sykora”, that the next time I held one, there would be a completely different last name where the “Sykora” now was. I realized that someday, it would seem odd to hear the name “Ashlie Sykora” because it would no longer be mine.

I was filled with gratitude

I remember before I began dating my fiance again. The period of time I took to be single, to work on myself as an individual. I remember how I would start to yearn for companionship and wish I wasn’t “alone”. I also remember the thought that came with the feelings:

“I need to cherish this time being single. I need to appreciate each moment, each freedom I have, not being attached in that way to anyone. This may be my last chance ever to be single. I have to make the most of it.”

And I did. I enjoyed being able to go out when I wanted, not having to synchronize schedules. Being able to fully make peace with where I was at. Going into this marriage, I won’t have to look back and wish I would have appreciated my time being single, because I did. Never in a million years would I have thought that that thought would have been spot on, but it was. Somewhere between putting up with being single and enjoying being single, I found that I am okay, in and of myself, I am enough. I can be happy by myself or with someone. I had made peace with the idea that it was possible that I would grow old without ever remarrying.

I found peace

A chapter of my life is closing. A new one, so special that the lead character in my story gets a whole new name, is only beginning.   I am not sure where this path will lead, but I get to walk it with a partner. I look back on where I have been. The different turns and surprises along the way. I see the little unexpected blessings that have been bestowed along the way. I look back lovingly on hard times and inconvenience as well as the times of happiness and joy. It is every part of that journey, both good and bad, that has brought me to where I am now.

I hope I don’t forget (I can be really good at forgetting!)

I should cherish every moment, no matter whether I perceive it as good or bad, because it is a part of my journey. It all serves a purpose, guiding me to where I am meant to go. Some day I will look back lovingly on the tiny little duplex we live in now, probably thinking of it as cozy. The time we spend hand washing dishes and putting them away as building character and discipline. (yes, we really do not have a dishwasher!) I will see the struggles I go through now as part of the path to make me who I am to be. I will never get these moments back and I sure don’t want to regret letting them just pass by.

So it is bittersweet, letting go of my last name. It has served me well. I will always appreciate my time as “Ashlie Sykora” as I move forward into this next chapter with excitement and openness, because I am more than my name.


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