The 10 Steps of Dealing With Life’s Curveballs

So I had a little accident yesterday, albeit rather hilarious after-the-fact.

Long story short, I was stoking a fire and the clamps you use to move logs in the fireplace decided to swing up and javelin itself into my eye socket. (Look, a little over-exaggeration is what makes any good story.) Honestly, it sounds much worse than it actually was.

In fact, I’m feeling pretty lucky after the entire ordeal.

But it got me thinking. My hysterical encounter could relate to a lot of the surprising incidents that happen throughout life.

Here is how it went down:

1. Shock.

What. Just. Happened. One second, I’m trying my hardest to create a roaring fire, listening to some soft music, and sipping tea. The next moment, the clamps are on the floor, tea spilled down my shirt, and my hand has flown up to my eye. There is really no coherent thought besides, What?

When something sweeps us off of our feet (and not in the good way,) it’s a little startling how difficult it is to immediately grab our bearings. When things are going great and life throws you a curveball, it takes a particularly prepared and skilled person to swing the bat. What happens next is…

2. Realization.

I glanced at the fallen clamps and instantly put two-and-two together. Oh. OH. Oh, c’mon. Really?

So the shock starts wearing off when we realize what we just encountered. A break-up, a fender-bender, deleted your thesis paper on accident… (yikes to that last one.) It’s no fun when your brain finally computes what kind of roadblock has been placed in your path. But the next part is what really gets your heart rate up…

3. Panic.

I pulled my hand from my eye and looked down. Well, you can guess my panic when all I saw was A LOT of blood. Then I felt it running down my face and onto my neck. I had a few choice words that I can’t quite recall at this time because in that moment, my mind instantly drew up every horrific image of what happened. Did I just lose my eye?!

So, you panic a little. You weren’t prepared for this, you didn’t have any clue that it was coming, and you have no idea where to go from here. It’s like your mind goes into overdrive and the wheels spin out of control. But then a looming feeling creeps out of the shadows…

4. Fear.

My eye. MY EYE. Suddenly, those panic-stricken images became vivid. Oh no, I’m in big trouble.

Fear resides in each one of us, in different ways. It’s not about whether you feel it to your bones or not; what matters is if you choose to act anyway. Fear creates foul and terrible images of what the future holds. When fear seizes hold, you can either run from it or you can…

5. Courage.

… face it. In the moment, all I understood is that I had gotten hurt and that there was a lot of blood. My only choice was to clean myself up and inspect the damage. And pray to God that it wasn’t horrific. So, with a clean wet towel and my stomach doing backflips in my throat, I went to inspect my reflection in a mirror.

Keep moving forward. Life isn’t a walk in the park, but that’s what makes it exciting. Suit up and get ready because you never know. Sometimes life can surprise you with some…

6. Relief.

After wiping the majority of the blood away, I stared at my reflection and felt an overwhelming sense of relief. It didn’t look great, but it wasn’t even close to what my brain had instantly dreamt up. Already a little black and blue, a little swollen, and a small gash… but I was okay. I could see.

Our minds often carry us away. We can image everything going wrong only to discover that we can handle even the bad stuff. And as great as that relief feels, the next part is often inevitable…

7. Pain.

Ooh, that’s when I really started to feel it. It began to throb and eye began to swell shut and just… ouch, that stings.

Even after we’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t as bad as it originally seemed, we can still feel the pain in the aftermath. That is when it is time to go right into…

8. Solution Mode

Clean it. Treat it. My lovely grandmother, who is also a nurse, helped as we made sure the wound would have the pinnacle conditions for recovery.

Roadblocks are tough and they definitely can hurt. But point of action is to sit down and say, “How can I solve this problem?”

9. Acceptance.

Lying on the couch with a ice pack on my eye, I almost wanted to laugh at myself. What a lame accident. I knew I would have to relay the story to everyone who asked over the next few days, so I tried to think up some hilarious and obviously-false stories to make the situation a bit more funny. Shark attack. Knife fight. Went back in time and started jousting.

Cruddy things happen to all of us. Maybe today’s hand wasn’t your best, but you know that you played your best with the cards life dealt That’s what matters.

10. Gratefulness.

It took a little while, but I came to realize I honestly got quite a bit lucky that the sharp edge of the clamps didn’t hit me a few centimeters north. What turned out to be a very superficial injury could’ve been something much worse.

It isn’t easy to look back on hardships and feel grateful for what pain was inflicted. But you can be grateful for the lessons you’ve learned in turn, and what kind of person those hardships have made you today.

Plus, when I wear a leather jacket, it makes me look pretty dang cool. 😉

– Jenni xo


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