I recently changed my own "setting" when I sold my house last week. I got divorced a few years ago and the house equity needed to be divided, and even more importantly, I needed a fresh start.
Dreading packing everything up by myself, I invited a bunch of friends over for a "packing party." I gathered boxes, bought tape, and made lists, figuring we probably wouldn't get that much done, but maybe we'd get a few things packed.
Then my friends showed up. One took over the grill and made fajitas for everyone. Another took all the leftover food from my cabinets and arranged it into an attractive snack plate. Another brought crab dip. Even my realtor showed up with a cake.
Everyone else grabbed tape and Sharpies and got to work. In one evening, my friends packed about 70% of the house.
I was shocked that something I'd been dreading ended up being so much fun. And I felt so touched and supported that my friends were so willing to help me transition to a new phase in my life. Instead of feeling sad about my "change in setting," I started to feel excited.
Then came my first evening in the new place. My kids were with their dad in California, visiting relatives, and again I was feeling a little scared, apprehensive and alone.
Until a friend showed up with champagne. And cake, which we ate with forks, directly from the box. (Clearly, I have the best friends ever!) Before we had finished eating, a new neighbor came by with cookies.
And I suddenly remembered why I love writing for middle-grade. When you're twelve years old, the whole world stretches in front of you. New settings. New beginnings. New friends. New possibilities.
Maybe it's not just for twelve-year-olds. Maybe a change in setting can open up new worlds and possibilities for a forty-one year-old too...