Cultural Zeitgeist and Names

I went to a tai chi class this morning and had a somewhat surreal experience. Right before my class was a kung fu class for young kids (aged 5 mostly), and I overheard a really familiar set of names.

“Get your coat, Aria”

“Eli, time to go”

“Zoë, did you remember your water bottle?”

These are my friends names, aged thirty or so. All of us are trans, and chose our names in the years somewhat near the years these kids were born. It makes me wonder about the cultural zeitgeist that makes this happen. Something in our collective understanding of the world makes us choose names like this. In some traditions, naming after parents or grandparents, a certain age of relative is common. In other groups of people I don’t know what makes them choose the names they do. Maybe it’s avoiding names that are already too prevalent in the culture around them. Maybe it’s famous people around that time.

And in another fun coincidence on the topic today’s XKCD is about cohorts of names over time (and whether or not they will have experienced chicken pox)