One of the most defining characteristics of my personality is my passion for accumulating and sharing knowledge; I’ve frequently discussed how much I love these monthly opportunities to compile new tidbits of knowledge to share here with all of you. However, this past month has been a powerful reminder that some types of learning are more fun than others: I love trivia, and even welcome many of the more profound (read: important) situational lessons that God chooses to reveal to me. Unfortunately, its often the not-so-fun circumstances that prove to be the most powerful classrooms. This month’s whirlwind of accepting/turning down jobs . . . deciding to move—then changing our minds about where . . . and the overall “up-in-the-air-ness” of our lives at present has been fertile ground for learning, but it has also been incredibly challenging. I’m thankful for the ways in which God is currently speaking to me, but I can’t help but wish he would choose some less uncomfortable ways of going about it!
These substantial lessons are deserving of their own post, and to be honest, many aren’t really suitable for public consumption. Fortunately this month has brought its fair share of fun learning, too. Here, divided into a few nifty categories, is the lighthearted edition of what I’ve learned this May.
Name Nerd: Because I clearly can’t get enough baby name trivia!
- Each May I’m reminded that sometimes it’s the little things in life that bring me the most joy: this month saw the release of the Social Security list of Most Popular Baby Names given in 2014, and the list’s annual release is always one of the highlights of my year! To help my husband understand the extent of my excitement about the new list, I told him that the Name List release is to me what the Apple Developer’s Conference is to him: months of anticipation and speculation culminating in a grand announcement that will provide limitless amounts of entertainment.
- The name Michael, which was the most popular boy’s name in the US for nearly forty years, is responsible for inspiring the creation of the Social Security name popularity lists. It all began with Michael Shackleford, an employee at the Social Security Administration Headquarters. In 1997, Shackleford and his wife were expecting their first child, and having grown up with the most popular name of his generation, he was eager to select a more original name for his own baby. To determine the most common names of the time, Shackleford wrote a program that sorted names given to babies as reported annually to the Social Security Administration. . . and the official SSA list of names (dating back to the 1880’s) was born!
- The top names for boys last year were Noah, Liam, Mason, Jacob, and William. For girls, the names Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Isabella, and Ava held the top spots. However, if the various spellings of names were combined, these top-5 lists would look a bit different: Sophia/Sofia would hold the top spot for girls, while Jackson/Jaxen/Jaxon would be the top boys’ name, followed by Aiden/Aidan/etc.
- My name was the 259th most popular name in 2014, but in 1984 (the year I was born) Kendra was much higher on the list, coming in at number 150. If I were born in 2014, my name would be Isla, which is the name that held the 150th spot last year. (You should definitely check out this site to find out what your 2014 name would be. . . then come back and share the results with me!)
- The name Charleston has never been in the top 1,000 names on SS lists, but last year, “Charlie” was #225 on the list for boys (and #229 on the girls’ list!).
Breaking News from the World of Healthy Living
- A study on the amount of activity needed to increase longevity found that when it comes to walking, more is definitely better: people who walked for 22 minutes each day (following the federal recommendation of exercising 150 minutes/week) gained an average of 3.4 years of life, and people who walked 43 minutes each day increased their life span by an average of 4.2 years.
- On a related note, even small doses of activity can go a long way. Another study found that walking for two minutes each hour (in addition to regular activity) can offset the health hazards of sitting for long periods of time. This small change was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of dying.
- However. . . if that activity is done on a treadmill, the risks might outweigh the benefits: hospital emergency departments in the US treated 24,400 treadmill-related injuries last year, and there were 30 reported deaths associated with treadmills between 2003 and 2012!
- General Mills has announced that as of this September, five varieties of Cheerios—including my favorite, Honey Nut—will be gluten-free! I’m ridiculously excited about this!
- In an effort to appeal to health-concious but budget-strapped millennials, the grocery chain Whole Foods is launching an offshoot brand with lower prices. The company plans to open stores next year. I’m a Sprouts girl myself (it’s inexpensive AND healthy), but I’m always open to new options if the price is right.
- This month’s search for a new home has taught me more than I ever wanted to know about rental listings posted on housing apps. Lesson #1: Photos do not always paint an accurate picture—we’ve seen many houses that were not nearly as nice as their photos would indicate, and others that were much nicer than depicted in photos. Lesson #2: If a house’s listing doesn’t include exterior photos, there’s probably a reason. Same goes for a lack of pictures of the house’s inside.
- Learned the hard way: if you find a house that you would love to rent, DO NOT WAIT to turn in an application; the desirable houses get snatched up faster than you’d think!
- More than any other time, a move—and even just the prospect of moving—has made it abundantly clear that I own WAY too much stuff! And I’m not alone: there are 300,000 items in the average American home, and even though the average American home has tripled in size over the past 50 years, 10% of Americans have to rent offsite storage to house all of their possessions.
- Our upcoming relocation also has me appreciating the wonderful things about our current home. There is so much that I love about where we live, and it will be missed.
- Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) was established in 1868 in the wake of the Civil War. In 1971, President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday, and it was moved from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May.
- Austin, Texas, is the fastest-growing big city in America. Last year the city grew at a rate of 2.9%, with 110 new residents arriving each day.
- Costco will bag your groceries in reusable bags, if you ask them nicely. I’m not sure why I never thought to do this before, as I’ve always gotten frustrated with Costco’s haphazard boxing techniques (awkwardly sized boxes that are either too small to carry much or too big for me to bring in from the car). On my last Costco trip it occurred to me that I should carry my bags into the store, as I do at all other grocery stores, and they worked out great.
- According to typography experts, Helvetica is the best font to use on a résumé. Comic Sans is definitely not a good option, and emoji use is out of the question.
- Speaking of emoji. . . my most frequently used emoji is definitely the winking face: I probably use it in about a third of my text messages. My excessive use is kind of starting to become a problem! 😉
- As a new mom, the #1 question I get asked is how Charlie is sleeping at night. The short answer: he’s not. But it turns out that not STTN is completely normal, and might actually be a good thing: according to one infant health expert, babies who wake up a lot are actually associated with higher levels of intelligence and better mental health. It’s good to know that there are perks to our sleepless nights!
Big or small, I’d love to hear about what you’ve been learning this month. Leave a comment to share something that’s been new to you this May! Then head over to Chatting at the Sky, where I’m linking up with several other bloggers to share what we we’ve learning lately.