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Author Katie Mettner

Change is Inevitable

What do you do in life when you feel stuck? I guess the answer is simple. You can stay stuck or you can move forward. Often, in order to move forward, we have to change. It's that dreaded word, isn't it? CHANGE. Few like it and what its implications are. Let's define it to start:

1. Make or become different.
2. Transform.
3. Take or use another instead.

Make or become different. Transform. Use another instead. Those are all things we, as the human race, find difficult. Some things in this world don't find them difficult, though. Things like butterflies. They are born to change, and they accept it willingly. The truth is, we're born to change too, but we struggle with the acceptance part of it.

The last year I've tried to make this my mantra. "I will no longer accept the things I can't change. I will change the things I can no longer accept." It might seem backward from what we're always taught, but the reality is, we don't have to accept the things we cannot change. Sometimes NOT accepting those things is what helps us transform and move forward from being stuck. CHANGE has been a huge part of my last year. Why?

These three crazies! The one wearing the gown left home for the first time and started her freshman year in college. She was only about an hour away from us, but suddenly the whole house CHANGED. I didn't have my only ally in this house anymore. Man, I tell you what, it was a change for me, but more so, it was a change for her and it was almost instantaneous. She started playing in this marching band see, and wow, that was a change in itself for her! She went from a marching band of 50 kids to a marching band like this:

This is ONLY the saxophones!

She joined a marching band of 430 kids! It was a week-long camp before college started and the first night she called me she said, "I don't think I can do this, Mom. I'm in WAY over my head here. I can play the music no problem, but the choreography is something else entirely." For the first time in my life as a parent, I didn't feel the need to fix it for her. I simply said, "I know you can do it. You were born for this. You ARE this. You might have to change your mindset to get there, but open your wings and go." 


Less than a few months later she was in St. Louis doing this! 

That was only one of the ways and things she changed this year. As most mom's know, that first year in college is always a game changer for their child. They go from that high school kid who still wants you to do everything for them to an adult in the blink of an eye. Fast forward eight months and I sat in a theater and watched her perform in her very first opera as an 18-year-old kid who had always dreamed about performing in one. It was easy to see she was in her element and all the long hours of practice mixed with classes mixed with other choirs mixed with bad sleep habits and eating habits all fell away as she sang that final line and the audience stood up to clap and appreciate all of those sacrifices and hard work. What is my point? Well, I guess it's that sometimes, we have to stop and look up. We have to stop being stuck where we are, and realize that things are already changing around us whether we want to accept it or not. 

It wasn't just Em that I saw changes in this year. Those two boys standing next to her? They changed in unbelievable ways too! Ed, the one on the right, his last day of high school was eleven days ago. He walked out of high school at 16, just four months after getting his driver's license (He's an excellent driver ;) ) and while he won't get his diploma until January, he won't step foot back inside the high school. He will start college this coming fall while working and exploring his career goals. CRAZY. He changes every day still, not so much physically now that he's fully grown, but in his humor, skills, and attitude. My husband is a teacher and I KNOW if you want to know the truth about your kid, watch and listen to their teachers. I was having coffee with Ed's band teacher the other day and she told me, "I don't care what Ed does, as long as he works with people." I can say this 'sort of' surprised me. I've always said Ed could sell ice to an Eskimo, but he's also a grumpy old man a lot of the time! He gets that from me. He's very practical, literal, and doesn't take much along the lines of nonsense. It turns out, he's only a grumpy old man at home! I realized I was okay with that for two reasons. The first is, you should get to be who you want to be at home. It's your place to just be and not worry about putting on airs or pretending to be someone you aren't (to a point of course. Disrespect is not tolerated). The second reason I was okay with it was because I understood he could work with people, he's cooperative and helpful, kind, funny, energetic and easy to get along with when he knows it's appropriate to be. So, in other words, he's no longer the kid I picture him as in that first photo wearing his pirate shirt and Spider-Man sweatshirt. He's all grown up and it's a CHANGE I love. 

That other one, the cute one with his hands by his face sucking in the lady's hearts since 2003? He's changed a lot too! He lost 30 pounds, grew 5 inches, and turned fourteen. Man, that was a TOUGH change for me. He's my baby and suddenly he's taller than I am. (Not that it takes much!) I'm glad I didn't allow myself to get stuck back there in 2007 when that first picture was taken. I would have missed him study and pass a year-long course in one trimester, place first in multiple categories of academic decathlon, stand up for himself when he was wronged, and about a month ago, I watched him play a tuba solo at the end of the year concert that he had taken to state competition. He started playing 'Tubs', as I call it, last summer and he was already playing a solo! Man, I wouldn't even be able to get a squeak out of it after a year LOL Yes, he had CHANGED! (mostly that he was big enough to carry that sucker around now!)

The last 15 seconds of the tuba solo. It turns out, a 6-minute tuba solo IS really long so I spared you!

When I started this blog post, I wasn't sure where I was going with it, as usual LOL I write my books that way even! My intention wasn't to make this a humble brag about my kids, either, even if that's what it looks like. I planned to use my own changes over the last year to illustrate how change can be GOOD, but then I realized, those three ARE my good change. I've had some really bad change I've had to deal with this year too, but I used their good change to counterbalance it and found it much easier to get up and move forward each day by doing that. Even my writing life has changed. I've made some big changes, in fact! I wrote three books totally outside the box of what I normally write (will be a bit before you see any of them due to edits etc.), I decided I'd stop fighting the pirates and just give away some of my books for free legally (something I still oppose on a regular or continuous basis like perma-free), sucked it up on a few moves I made regarding my books, and I came to some serious realizations about writing, being an author, books, and LUCK, but that's fodder for a whole other blog post ;) 

If you get NOTHING else from this blog post, I hope you get this. YOU are in charge of your future. YOU get to decide if you stay stuck somewhere you don't want to be, or if you look up and let something catch your eye that can move you forward. Look at the world with new EYES. Look at the world like my three kids look at the world; as a place full of CHANGE to be EMBRACED even if we are a little bit afraid every time we do. 


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