God, Am I Too Old to Change My PlayStation Username?
Sony
 

When Sony announced the ability to change usernames was finally coming to PlayStation Network this morning, I was elated and filled with dread, in that order. The simple feature has been absent from Sony's platforms since the online service launched on the PS3, and fans have been clamoring for a way to undo their poor life choices ever since. I should be savoring the one nice piece of news I'll see today. Instead, I'm worried that I'm just too damn old to create a new identity.

It's not that urgent. The gamertag I use across most gaming platforms does not contain "69" or "420" and it wasn't poisoned by my one month of intense Hoobastank fandom. But for the last few years, explaining where my username came from has felt wrong. The handle everyone else sees is a past version of myself, an echo encased in amber. I would like to come up with a name that could represent where I am now and where I hope to be in the future. Problem is, I don't have any idea what that would look like.

It was so easy when I was young. I was confident and oblivious and shameless, without the foresight to comprehend how I might evolve past callsigns like "PikaLink800" or "amonkeynamedchimchim." Now that I'm a coward in my early 30s, I am hesitant to define myself with a specific concept or god forbid, a fandom.

For a while I was considering the irony route, making a tag so terrible and bland that no one would believe it was real. Then I thought about the times I've seen those kinds of people online, and how I can never tell whether they're a smug asshole or a genuine asshole. I don't think I want to be either.

I've also thought about using a random name generator. Leaving the burden of judgment to a cold computer algorithim holds an odd appeal -- then again, feeling like I don't own my online identifier is kind of why I'm in this mess to begin with. 

Part of me wants to say that decades of internet hindsight is at fault for my gamertag paralysis. Maybe I can't decide on anything because I know that I'll just want to change the name again in the future. And hey, living with your awful high school username is one of the great shared experiences of our generation, right? The other, truer part of me knows that getting older doesn't mean finding out who you are, but growing to accept that the definition of yourself is complex and always shifting.

In Animal Crossing, choosing a name for your town is an excruciating process, yet you get through it eventually because you want to get to the rest of the game. If I want to get on with the rest of my life, I should probably just suck it up and pick something. I wonder if PikaLink800 is available.