Life’s Curveballs : Prepare For Being Unprepared

An image of a baseball pitch ground, with a baseball on the ground and the title of the post written over the top.

I’m guessing all of us will know what it’s life to be blindsided by something in life. We all know how it goes when we prepare, then are caught off guard. When life throws us a curveball that we never saw coming. What do you do when that happens?

Being Prepared – Useful or Not?

I think there’s a degree of feeling in control that we get from trying to be prepared. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. In fact, I’m a big one for being prepared and it’s something I feel I need. I like to research, think things through, and be prepared, whether that’s for a day out or when it comes to dealing with my health. It’s logical and it’s sensible.

When we’re waiting for news or busy planning and preparing, it can be stressful and time-consuming. Think of all that time wasted, the anxiety and stress and worry you go through in trying to feel prepared and in control.

It’s ironic, because no matter how much you may have prepared, you can end up being totally unprepared when life throws you a curveball.

The Curveballs

Curveballs can be anything, big or small. It’s when something happens in life you weren’t expecting, whether it’s news, an accident, mother nature, or some other random incident or turn of events you hadn’t prepared for.

You plan a long-awaited day trip to the smallest detail, but then the train gets cancelled, the restaurant you planned to visit for lunch is shut due to a power outage, and it rains on the way to the zoo.

You wait for a phone call at 10am, delaying doing anything so you can stick like glue to your phone. You get the call at 8pm or not at all and have wasted the whole day.

You try to live the healthiest life possible, denying yourself many things you want in order to be the picture of perfect health, then you get blindsided by news of a serious condition.

Ostomates may understand this one, when you change your bag before going out and think ‘good job’, it all seems good so you don’t have to carry your stoma supplies with you. Two hours later and it leaks and you’re regretting leaving your bags at home.

You spend hours planning for and fretting about a work meeting or health benefits appointment, only for it to be cancelled at the last minute.

You think everything’s going well, then learn it’s not. You think you’re prepared for something, but then something else happens and you’re suddenly caught like a deer in the headlights. Or like this cat.

A photo of a shocked cat with eyes wide.
This little guy has had a surprise shock, too!

Let’s not forget, some surprises that catch us off guard can be good. Other times, we have to try to find a silver lining, like how they can serve to teach us something, giving us the chance to grow and learn.

Bad News Curveballs

Sometimes these curveballs come when we’re waiting for news. You can spend a lot of time anxiously waiting, while life passes you by.

Receiving bad news can be painful curveball to take in your stride, even if you half expect it.

Before I had my stoma, I knew the situation was bad. But when I got the phone call and was told I was out of options, I still felt totally caught off guard. Then I get the dreaded can’t-not-cry syndrome coming on… I was a mess. I had thought through the worst case scenario, and yet I was still off kilter when I was told a stoma was the only route.

Whilst it’s hard to wait to hear news and try to plan a way forward, dealing with it can be harder than you anticipate, with emotions you hadn’t seen coming, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise.

No matter how much you prepare yourself and try to steel your resolve, sometimes we need a break. We are only human, and with that comes great pains; frustration, anger, resentment, fear, confusion, sadness, loss, regret, concern, hopelessness. Experiencing all of these emotions is okay, you can deal with them; take your time, get some support, but don’t let them break you.

Prepare To Be Unprepared

Perhaps the best way to prepare in life sometimes is to acknowledge that you can’t always prepare for everything. And that’s okay. It’s okay to get emotional, to not cope as well as you think you should or as well as you feel others expect you to. You will cope with whatever it is you’ve been waiting for or whatever curveball comes out of left field, but sometimes the emotional response is inevitable and unstoppable. Don’t beat yourself up over being human.

However, I think there are also times we may put too much emphasis on being prepared. There are also a lot of things that are out of our control; instead, focus on the control you have over how you react to what happens to you and around you. Enjoy a little spontaneity when you can, and instead of rigidity, try to be more flexible. This is so important when those curveballs happen so you can change, adapt and ‘go with the flow’.

Remember – You can handle whatever comes your way. You’ve done it before. You’ve got this. You can hit it out the park, just have some faith in yourself.

A photo of a ball being thrown and a kid getting ready to hit it with a baseball bat.
You can hit any curveball out the park. Have faith in yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up if despite your best efforts things go wrong or you don’t cope with a change in plans or a curveball hits you hard. It’s life, and you do the best you can. That’s good enough. Try to come to a point of accepting there have been times you’ve been caught off guard, and that there will be many more of those times in the future. But you can handle whatever comes your way. You’ll still knock it out of the park, even if it takes a few swings.

Prepare yourself for being unprepared, and for being human.

Caz  ♥

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74 Comments

  1. August 26, 2019 / 4:10 pm

    A great post reminder Caz and a post I needed to read of things that have hit me, creating my own unexpected curve balls. Xx

    • August 28, 2019 / 3:57 pm

      I’m really glad you liked it, thanks Liz. I hope you’re managing as well as possible and that you can have a more positive week this week  ♥ xx

  2. August 26, 2019 / 4:53 pm

    One of my favorite Navy SEAL quotes: “You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable”. Just not me. I stress.

    • August 28, 2019 / 3:59 pm

      I stress, too! The Navy SEAL quote does apply to life in general if you want to go with the flow a little more, but it’s not easy. Thanks for sharing, Jacqui xx

  3. August 26, 2019 / 5:00 pm

    Great post, Caz. All so true 🙂

    • August 28, 2019 / 4:04 pm

      Thanks, Sandra, glad you liked it! Have a lovely week 😊 xx

  4. August 26, 2019 / 5:10 pm

    I really like this. There are some things that you just can’t prepare for because they come out of the blue. Then you have to do the best you can with what you have, and not be too proud to ask for help or feel that you have to hide behind the “everything’s absolutely fine mask”. I love being prepared, planning, organising – but sometimes you just need to let go a bit and just do your best! Thanks for sharing this XX

    • August 28, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      You know all too well the whole ‘things out of the blue’ part, and you’re right about not feeling you have to hide behind a smiling face and say everything’s okay. We can only do our best. I’m really pleased you liked the post, thanks for the great comment!  ♥ xx

  5. Ashley
    August 26, 2019 / 5:23 pm

    You’re right, there will be many more times. But we’ve got this.

    • August 28, 2019 / 4:09 pm

      At least we can prepare for the fact we’ll be unprepared plenty more times in future! 😂 Thanks, Ashley, have a lovely week xx

    • August 28, 2019 / 4:13 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. Have a great week! 😊

  6. Benn Bell
    August 26, 2019 / 6:22 pm

    Good read! Well thought out executed. I try to strike a
    balance of being well prepared and spontenaety. Sometimes it is difficukt to know where to draw the lines. As Shakepeare said, the readiness is all.

    • August 28, 2019 / 4:17 pm

      I’m really glad you liked it! I think a balance between preparedness & spontaneity is good to aim for, but not always easy. Nice Shakespeare inclusion there 😉 Thank you for the comment & I hope this week treats you kindly! x

    • August 28, 2019 / 4:24 pm

      Absolutely, it’s just not always easy to put into practice. I hope you’re having a good week so far 😊 x

  7. August 26, 2019 / 7:33 pm

    Sound advice. I can’t catch all those curveballs. I’m not even good at playing the game. 😒 I try to do the best I can when the unexpected happens. Thanks Caz.

    • August 28, 2019 / 5:09 pm

      I’m not good at the game nor getting those curveball either, so I’m with you in just doing my best to get ’em. That’s all we can do, and that’s always good enough. Thanks, Darnell! I hope the week is treating you kindly so far 😊 x

  8. August 26, 2019 / 7:41 pm

    So true Caz, we never know what shit ball may hit us next or maybe it’s the million dollar sweepstakes! 🙂
    Hope the sun is shining on you today!
    M

    • August 28, 2019 / 5:12 pm

      Those shit balls can come fast & hard, but let’s hope we get more of the good ones. A million dollar sweepstake sounds like a pretty good one! 😉 Thanks for the great comment, Melinda. I hope your week is going as well as possible for you lovely xx

  9. August 26, 2019 / 10:30 pm

    Life is full of curve balls for sure. You never know when one is going to come at you either.

    Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. ♥

    • August 28, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      It’s a game of chance, you just have to handle ’em as best you can. Thanks for the comment, Sandee. I hope you’re doing as well as possible this week! xx

  10. August 26, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    You’re spot on with this Caz! Being suddenly out of control with life’s happenings is very disconcerting! I guess some folks are better at handling the unexpected than others, whether or not it’s for a good or bad reason why plans get scuppered. I must admit, I like a bit of spontaneity if it’s for a good reason! But we go tend to beat ourselves up if things go awry, whether it’s our fault or not.
    Funnily enough, I wrote a poem, this week, about being kinder to ourselves, so this really resonated with me. Great post! xx

    • August 28, 2019 / 5:42 pm

      You’re right with it feeling disconcerting, and I agree how some people seem to handle the unexpected better than others. It’s good you like a bit of spontaneity, I wish I could feel more like that. We do need to be kinder to ourselves, and less judgemental about how we handle things, too. Your poem is very well timed! Thanks for the great comment – I hope you have a lovely week, Debbie 😊xx

  11. August 26, 2019 / 11:14 pm

    Mindfulness: you don’t waste time trgretting the past or worrying about the future. This moment is the one to live in and make precious.

    • August 29, 2019 / 11:13 am

      Very well said, thanks for adding that, Annie!  ♥ x

  12. August 27, 2019 / 8:06 am

    I like it:)

    • August 29, 2019 / 11:13 am

      Glad to hear it, thanks! I hope you’re having a lovely week 😊

  13. August 27, 2019 / 8:46 am

    This is great advice, Caz. Although I’m not the kind of person who likes to prepare for ‘curveballs’, I still feel all those confusing emotions when something extreme happens. Each person has a different way to cope and no one should feel a certain way because others expect them to.

    • August 29, 2019 / 11:17 am

      That’s so true, Jina. We all cope with things differently and we shouldn’t feel bad or pressured in any way for how we respond to things. Thanks for the brilliant comment! I hope this week is treating you kindly so far 😊xx

  14. August 27, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    This is an absolutely outstanding post Caz! As you said, “no matter how much you may have prepared, you can end up being totally unprepared when life throws you a curveball.” No matter how much we’d like to, we can’t control everything. Learning to cope when things don’t go as planned is vital. That doesn’t mean we don’t have that ‘in the moment’ meltdown; it just means we allow ourselves to feel whatever emotions we need to feel and then decide how we’re going to react to (deal with) the particular curveball thrown. Thanks for such an encouraging post!

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:29 pm

      I’m really pleased you like you it, Terri, You’re right, we need to allow ourselves that space to feel whatever we’re feeling (without judgement). Thank you for such a kind comment  ♥ I hope you have a restful weekend ahead xx

  15. August 27, 2019 / 2:58 pm

    A great message Caz. “You got this!” I have been working on a post about life throwing me a curve. Not sure when it will be posted but a huge part of my message is life is a team sport. You don’t have to play the game alone.

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      Great minds think alike, eh? 😉 I love that, with it pulling through the message of life being a team sport – looking forward to reading the post! xx

  16. August 27, 2019 / 10:42 pm

    really good post Caz xx

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:31 pm

      Thanks, Bree, glad you liked it! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible, and that you have a relaxing weekend ahead 😊 xx

  17. Megala
    August 28, 2019 / 3:36 pm

    Great article! Thanks for the wonderful reminder to deal with curveballs in our life.

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:31 pm

      It’s great to hear you liked it, thanks Megala! I hope you have a lovely weekend 😄 xx

  18. August 28, 2019 / 4:29 pm

    It’s good advice.
    Our bodies can be especially sneaky.
    You really do have to just let go sometimes.

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:32 pm

      Sneaky, that’s a good word for it! It can be easier said than done but sometimes it’s all we can do, to just handle whatever happens because we can’t control everything. Thanks for the comment, Jay! I hope you have a good weekend ahead 😊 xx

  19. August 29, 2019 / 3:22 am

    This is such a great post. I feel like a lot of us have been dealing with unexpected curveballs. It’s so difficult to let go of all of those expectations, but there’s really no way to prepare for whatever curveball is coming next. I think the good news about being on the receiving end of curveballs, if there is any good news, is that eventually it does get easier to prepare for the unknown.

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:49 pm

      You’re right, many of us seem to be getting them and it’s not always easy to let go of the expectations but it’s important to not judge ourselves for how we feel emotionally or how we deal with those curveballs either. Good point about it eventually getting easier to prepare for the unknown too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Linds  ♥ xx

  20. August 29, 2019 / 5:00 am

    for someone who said only a couple of posts ago that you haven’t had time to keep up, you’ve posted quite a lot while I was gone only a week lolol why are we all so hard on ourselves?

    I am always in awe, Caz, of how courageously you’ve handled your challenges — & all with being so generous as to pass along your wisdom!

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:52 pm

      Hah yeah I’m still trying to keep up, but I’m finding it hard to stress less about keeping up with other bloggers & posts 😂
      I think you’re far too kind in your view of me and how I handle challenges (and I’m far better at giving advice than taking it 😉) Thank you for such a thoughtful, lovely comment! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible and that you have a restful weekend ahead xx

  21. August 29, 2019 / 9:17 am

    Wow, this is a powerful and inspirational post. The way I see it, none of us knows what is around the corner for us, so all we can do is live life to the full while we still can.

    My partner Jayne died at the relatively young age of 58 from cancer. But at least while she was alive and well, she switched to working part time and we took as many holidays every year as we could afford. I am just glad she didn’t spend her whole life working flat out and scrimping and saving in order to prepare for a retirement she would never get to enjoy.

    • August 30, 2019 / 3:57 pm

      You’re right, none of us really know what’s around the corner. I’m so sorry about Jayne, but thank you so much for sharing that – it’s the best way to live, by making the most of life while you can (however that looks and whatever is possible given your circumstances & finances), and I’m glad she was able to do that. Thank you, Nick, I really appreciate your comment. I hope the weekend is kind to you 😊

  22. August 29, 2019 / 7:59 pm

    An excellent post, Caz. I think you’re right, being prepared gives us a certain amount of control. If something changes and upsets those plans we made, we lose that control. We have to just breathe and deal with it somehow, don’t we? I will remember these words – “But you can handle whatever comes your way. You’ll still knock it out of the park, even if it takes a few swings”

    My sister had to have a temporary stoma a few years ago after a ‘simple’ op for bowel cancer went wrong. She would completely understand your stoma example.

    • August 30, 2019 / 4:09 pm

      I do think the control element plays a key role, as does lack of self-confidence if we doubt ourselves in being able to handle whatever life throws our way. I’m so sorry about your sister having bowel cancer and having an op go wrong; how did she manage after that, and was the stoma able to be reversed okay? I do hope things improved after that for her. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Liz  ♥ xx

      • September 1, 2019 / 5:06 pm

        Yes, it was reversed after six months or so and everything was fine, thankfully.

  23. August 29, 2019 / 8:57 pm

    Excellent post, as always, Caz! You never disappoint… cuz if you did… time-out corner for ya. But, unfortunately, time-out corner never gets used. 😝😝😝

    • August 30, 2019 / 4:22 pm

      Hahah, there’s plenty of time for that time-out corner. I’m full of disappointments, Tamara, I’ll prove you wrong! 😂
      xx

  24. August 29, 2019 / 11:25 pm

    I agree Caz. “Prepare yourself to be unprepared and for being human.” Love this and such great advice. In the past I always had trouble with this, but I’m finally getting it now. It’s probably one of the things parents and schools should teach children. Sure would make the journey nicer.

    • August 30, 2019 / 7:12 pm

      I totally agree, this is the sort of thing we need to be taught at a younger age. I’m so glad you liked the post, Michele, thanks for the great comment! I hope you have a lovely weekend  ♥ xx

  25. August 30, 2019 / 3:06 pm

    Very timely post! Well, I’m late in reading it. I can’t tell you how this just hit home! I needed to read this today. Thank you Caz. 💜

    • August 30, 2019 / 7:13 pm

      Wayhey, glad it was good timing! I hope you’re hanging in there okay, I really do hope the trauma flare eases for you soon. Please do take good care of yourself and rest this weekend  ♥ xx

  26. September 1, 2019 / 3:34 pm

    Great post, Caz, so true. I definitely build things up in my head and then when things don’t go as I anticipated, I feel a bit lost. So important to try and let these things wash over us. I’ve been having to try and do that this summer with my broken collar bone messing with my plans! Thanks for the reminder 🙂 xx

    • September 1, 2019 / 5:04 pm

      I get that too, with things building up in my head & leaving me a little lost. It’s not always easy to go with the flow when something unexpected happens, and a broken collar bone is definitely one hell of a curveball! How are you doing this week, Jen? I hope you’re managing to have a restful weekend  ♥ xx

  27. September 1, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    I think preparing yourself to be unprepared is very good advice. If only I’d thought of that before. 🙂

    • September 1, 2019 / 5:05 pm

      It’s easier said than done but it’s something I need to work on too. Thanks for the comment, Kymber – I hope you have a great week ahead! xx

  28. September 2, 2019 / 12:06 am

    Lulu: “Our Dada says this makes him thinks of some of the lyrics to one of his favorite songs.”
    Charlee: “It’s called ‘The Sunscreen Song’ for some reason and the lyrics are, ‘Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as affective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindsides you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday.'”
    Chaplin: “We listened to it and nobody is singing, so we’re not sure why it’s even called a song, to be honest.”

    • September 6, 2019 / 2:18 pm

      Oh wow, tell your Dada that Baz Luhrmann track is one of my favourite things to listen to! I have it on a mix CD in my car so I listen to it a lot. It’s brilliant, and has some very sage advice! x

  29. September 2, 2019 / 4:41 am

    “Prepare yourself for being unprepared, and for being human” ………Very difficult to be prepared for being unprepared but I know what is to face curve balls. Thanks for sharing your views with us and all the information. Love and Blessings coming Your way 🙂 <3

    • September 6, 2019 / 2:20 pm

      You’re right, it is difficult, and being flexible for a lot of us who’re used to being prepared or having control is a challenge. Thank you for the lovely comment, Deepa. I hope you have a positive, restful weekend ahead  ♥ x

  30. September 6, 2019 / 11:24 am

    Great reminder! Thank You and Cheers!!! 🙂

    • September 6, 2019 / 2:36 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, thanks Katy! Have a great weekend 😊 x

  31. September 6, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    I’m way behind in my posts still… (am I ever not?).
    Curveballs. Life keeps on throwing us curveballs. You’re right about being prepared for the unexpected, and knowing that you can’t know what it will be like until it’s there. I don’t know if it’s studying mindfulness, 12 step groups (which I haven’t gone to in years), reading up on innate health, or probably all of the above and living it, that at least I talk the talk nowadays, even if and though I don’t yet walk the walk. We’re getting there. It’s about knowing you can’t know and knowing we are okay always and will always be okay however hard it is to deal with, it doesn’t define us.
    Love, light, glitter and sparkles
    Keep on shining Caz, you’re awesome. Always remember that!

    • September 6, 2019 / 5:28 pm

      I find I can talk the talk but walking the walk is another thing altogether for me 😂Thank you for such a wonderful, amazing comment, Eliza! You rock! I hope the weekend treats you kindly  ♥ xx

      • September 6, 2019 / 5:37 pm

        Thanks! I hope so too.
        Have you any plans for the weekend?

  32. Stacey Chapman
    September 11, 2019 / 1:11 pm

    Great post, Caz. As always. Thank you! Some helpful tips and advice that I can certainly use. As a constant planner, I struggle tremendously with so many things that cannot be planned or controlled. I find it’s learning to peacefully live with that chaos as my biggest lesson. Still working on that! ❤️

    • September 14, 2019 / 2:54 pm

      I find that too, with being a fellow planning fan. It’s definitely a lesson and a learning curve but all we can do is try out best, that’s always good enough. Thanks for the comment, Stace – I hope you’re having a restful weekend  ♥ xx

  33. September 16, 2019 / 5:21 am

    Great post! There are things we can’t be prepared for. We can’t always anticipate all the curve balls life throws at us. We just have to keep learning

    • September 17, 2019 / 8:04 am

      Exactly, it’s all a learning curve. Thanks for the comment & I’m glad you liked the post! 😊

  34. October 2, 2019 / 3:53 am

    an inspirational post which comes at the right time

    • October 2, 2019 / 12:40 pm

      Thank you, John, I’m glad you liked it. I hope you’re keeping as well as possible and that the week is treating you kindly so far 😊

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