Life has a tendency to throw curveballs at us. Sometimes we swing and connect. Other times, we strike out.
Urban dictionary defines a curveball as “A particularly difficult issue, obstacle, or problem. Named after the equally tricky baseball pitch.”
Long work-day hours, car problems, family crises and illness are all things that can derail our writing intentions. Learning (and accepting) that we can’t control these types of things, even if we want to, can be a hard lesson. We roll along, fully expecting events to play out in a normal fashion – normal being relative. We try to mold people and events so they unfold in our own personal grand scheme. We live by Plan A.
And then that curveball comes along, smashing our expectations to smithereens.
Caught off-guard, we are not prepared to deal with the changes going on around us. Not that we should be pessimistic, but curveballs tend to throw us into a funk, stopping us from living our lives as we normally would. We become distracted, and miss taking advantage of opportunities presented to us. What is Plan B? Do we need a Plan C? How are we going to get through the immediate difficulty and bring our lives back under control?
Curveballs don’t have to be bad experiences. Learning to deal with difficulties helps us to grow, to expand our horizons in ways we might not otherwise have considered. We must learn to adapt, because as much as we went to, we can not control everything in our lives.
So how can we learn to use those curveballs to our advantage?
Take time to cry, to vent, or to be frustrated. Validate your feelings: believe in yourself, and know that it’s okay to feel the way you feel. But also recognize that not everyone will feel the same way you do, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Then, get creative and find ways to rejuvenate and stay positive. Learn from the experience.
My 17-year old son recently set a great example for me. Last week, only one month before high school graduation, he broke his upper arm playing dodgeball. They tell us it’s the worst break you can have. One week, two splints and a brace later, the doctors finally (hopefully) have his arm set so it can heal correctly. The arm is immobilized, preventing him from normal movement; from any movement with that arm. No writing (how will he take final exams?), no driving (it’s embarrassing to be driven around by mom and dad), and they want him sleeping upright (not comfortable). He’s facing 8-12 weeks in a brace, and even then will not be fully healed. But throughout the last week, he’s faced each day with a smile, determined to adapt so he can accomplish the goals he has set for himself.
My son is making a connection with that curveball, and inspiring me to do the same.