When I decided to change my name on social media accounts from UITourGuide to LifeAfterLopez I couldn’t really tell you what was going through my head. I would by lying if I said that giving up the handle UITourGuide wasn’t a difficult decision though. I credit a lot of my personality to the time I was a tour guide at the University of Iowa. Having the opportunity to showcase a wonderful school to families and their prospective students each week was the most riveting part of my third year at Iowa. Serving in the role of what I looked at as a knowledgeable, comedic salesman was a joy. I went as far as to wear my tour guide apparel to tailgates and parties shortly after my time as a tour guide was up. After winning Tour Guide of the Year, the most prestigious tour guide award (also, the only award) there was, in 2013 the name became a part of me.
But sometimes we have to get past who we used to be. I’m no longer a tour guide, so sporting the name was as ridiculous as Lavar Ball claiming he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one. Okay, not quite that ridiculous, but still, ridiculous. So last year (April, 2016) I made a post on Facebook asking for suggestions if I were to change the name and the post resurfaced on my Facebook a year later. I looked at some of the suggestions posted by my friends and snickered from inside jokes, smiled at memories, and shook my head at the audacity of some people to suggest such terrible handles. After analyzing them for a bit, one stood out to me: LifeAfterLopez.
At first glance, you may think that LifeAfterLopez implies that I’m dying. When you look at my logo and slogan, you may think, “well, yeah that’s exactly what it implies”. Truth is, I just liked the sound of the name. I searched it on social media and the only posts consisted of a few hashtags from August, 2011 after Lopez Tonight was cancelled. The name, the slogan, and the logo are just a lighthearted reminder that we will all pass one day. And since I don’t remember a thing before birth, I’m convinced that I may lose my internal spirit after death. Some days go by and I wish I was religious so I could go to heaven just like you (Yes, I stole that from an Andrew McMahon song), but I haven’t found a higher power that’s been able to convince me that this is possible. The world is the only place I’m certain people are able to experience emotions and a train of thought. And since the riveting invention of the internet, people have been able to connect in ways they never have before. So assuming the internet doesn’t completely vanish one day, this is my way of sticking around, because you can continue to learn so much about a person after they pass (This is me paraphrasing the movie Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl).
It would be foolish for me to end this post without telling you everything that went through my head, so here is another thought. I don’t have the statistics to back this up, but I’m assuming about 50% of people forgo their last name when they decide to get married. Typically, men don’t do this, but do they lose something as well? Maybe it’s freedom, maybe it’s sanity, or maybe it’s the 3 months’ salary they’re told to spend on a wedding ring. Whichever way you look at it, we all lose something. The interesting thing is I’m not getting married. Hell, I don’t know if I’ll ever get married, but I’ll make the assumption that when I do I’ll probably lose something.
The other thought that popped in my head was that LifeAfterLopez could be a metaphor for the people that were emotionally damaged after getting to know me. This thought made me smirk, but didn’t stick, so I’ll carry on.
My final thought was this: when you are a member of the jocky sports’ crowd in high school your last name becomes your identity. Coaches yell, “Lopez, catch the damn ball!” or similar demands on a daily basis. Your peers in school expect you to be the cool guy – and the same goes for the guys you connect with in college. They expect you to hook up with every girl you can, get excessively drunk on the weekends, and oppress you’re feelings. And if you are someone like me, you buy into that for approval. I’ve been that guy for years, but it kind of sucks thinking about it. I tend to try and please others more than I try to please myself, so when friends ask me to take another shot or say something silly to a girl, I usually do both. Literally, I broke up with my 10th grade girlfriend of two years because another member of the basketball team told me I should start focusing more on sports. Sometimes, you get roped in with the other cool guys and you begin to think that what you’re doing isn’t so “cool” after all. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s fun and I know I’m going to continue playing sports, attending pre-games with the guys, and occasionally consent to hooking up with a woman I find attractive, but I’m also going to start spending more time doing the things that truly make me happy: prioritizing health, traveling, story-telling, cheering people up, and focusing on my professional career – wherever that may take me. So I guess I’m beginning to turn a new leaf. I’m not drastically changing my lifestyle or the things that I do from day-to-day (besides the fact that I’m blogging). I’m simply trying to be a better version of myself so I don’t do anything I will end up questioning before I go to sleep at night.
Whatever reason you like best for the recently name change, I would tell you to stick with it. I’m so indecisive, I don’t know what to believe prompted me to change the name. I apologize that this post was more of just a ramble than a fully formulated thought to answer the question in the title. All I know is LifeAfterLopez is pretty sweet.