My husband and I went to Sea World on Saturday, we had a blast. We were like kids all week waiting for Saturday to arrive so we could to Sea World. We got there before the park actually opened. Once we got our maps of the park, we sat down and plotted the important stuff so we wouldn’t miss out on anything. We saw Shamu first because Shamu rocks! We saw everything and had a fabulous time!
Sunday we got up to see the Simpson movie. Are you wondering why two adults would go see the movie? Because we KNOW our two older sons are seeing it and we have to be able to talk about it with them. We have to be in the loop. And just because we can.
See, we’re kids again. We’re free. My youngest is 18, and amazing. Okay, all my kids are amazing, the three boys (they’re men, but they are my boys) all interest me every time we talk. We don’t always agree, but I love hearing their take on life. I love that they care about people, have passion for issues, and yet they are learning to roll with the punches. I respect each of my sons as adults—something that’s hard to imagine when the small life is placed in your arms at birth.
Okay…life changes. It’s our choice if we change with life, grow, expand and become more interesting, or if we dig in and fight stubbornly to hold onto a time gone by. We loved raising our kids, and it hurts to let them go (the youngest is still at home, making me laugh), but we don’t want to hold them back. We want them to fly on their own…we’re here if they need us. But we always knew we didn’t get to keep our kids forever, that we would have to let them go and be relegated to a supporting role in their life.
So it’s a big change with the kids practically grown, but it means we get a whole new life. We can go anywhere we want, do anything we like, and we don’t have to be adults (parents have to be adults). We can be kids and go to Sea World by ourselves and see the Simpson’s movie. We’ve chosen to take the change that life has handed us and live it. Embrace it. I was just talking to my oldest son on the phone in the middle of writing this blog, and he said, “You guys just go do whatever you want now, we never know where you are!” There’s irony for you—now instead of me calling the check up on the boys, they are calling to check up on us!
So my point? Life changes and so do careers. If one stays in publishing long enough, there will be changes. Big, scary changes. Sometimes we’ll initiate the change, and sometimes, it’ll be thrust on us. What defines us as successful, in my view, is how we handle the change. Do we embrace the new challenge? Become an enthusiastic kid again and find the joy in the change?
Or do we whine, complain and do things like we always did? Do we develop an attitude about how we’re being picked on and taken for granted while refusing to change and try new things? Here’s a hint: If what we always did isn’t work any longer, then it’s time to change. Time to challenge ourselves, find a new path, do something different. It’s harder yes, but it’s also a lot more exciting.
My agent told me something a couple years back that has really resonated with me. I’m paraphrasing, but she said something like, “Don’t think of yourself as a mystery writer or a romance writer, think of yourself as an author. An author who, at the moment, writes mysteries and romances. Don’t limit yourself.” I think that applies to writing and to life.
In life, I never wanted to limit myself to “just” being a mom. I want to be a woman who is a mom, a wife, a friends, a sister, an author and much more.
As an author, I am a writer who writes mysteries, romances and has the potential (if I work hard enough) to write so much more. I just have to be willing to TRY, and keep trying. I have to recognize when something isn’t working for me anymore and try something new. By something new, it can be anything—from a different approach to plotting, trying a fresh character or working in a new genre. The point is the willingness to find what does work!
So what about you all? Are you facing changes in your life or careers? How do you handle it?
And seriously, how do they train those killer whales?