There are no warning signs in life. Nothing cautions you about those bends in the road ahead or about what they may hide. There is nothing telling you it might be wise to adjust your speed, break or change gears. Those curves simply happen and there’s no telling how challenging they can be, not until they’re already behind.
I can’t say I’m particularly fond of driving on winding roads, but I manage just fine. I’m also fascinated by them. Sometimes the curves are tighter and more challenging than expected, but at the same time, the spiral can suddenly reveal unbelievable sights. Careful, don’t lose your focus just yet, captivated by the scenery, eyes on the road…
You can’t really tell what you’re going to find, even when you’ve been down that curve before – it’s never really the same. Will you be able to savour that view or will you have to focus all your energy on avoiding unexpected obstacles?
A curve is not the best place to stop and take a breath. Pressing one’s back against that solid wall, becoming small and blending in with undulating lines, while others go by undisturbed… that isn’t always an option. Reflection and perspective need to be achieved quickly, on the go, no reprise is possible before the road ahead becomes a straight line again; and that maddening feeling stemming in the inability to see the end of the spiral has to be fought off. One needs to be cautious even if taking in the view is all one might want to do – a person’s moment of bliss might be right in the middle of someone else’s race down a winding path.
How do I handle life’s curveballs, Tina wanted to know…. I think I’ll continue my driving analogy, since I’m really not into sports. Whether we’re talking about real roads or metaphorical ones, I’m not crazy about those unexpected curves. But I’ve learnt to navigate them, even to appreciate the adrenaline and learn from the new experience. Leaving the driving to somebody else is another tricky issue. Sure, in theory I could relax and focus on the journey, but in reality I’ve only met a couple of persons whose driving didn’t make me feel that car sickness might be just one bend of the curve away. Oh well… like I didn’t already know I’ve got control issues…
No matter what speed I go, I still feel an impulse to slow down when approaching a curve. I know better than that now, I ignore that impulse when necessary, I can assess my skills and my vehicle’s limitations much better. Fear becomes adrenaline and satisfaction, I feel good about myself when I’m done with a rough portion of the road and I feel I’ve handled it better than others. This doesn’t always apply to life’s “curveballs”. If I’m the only one affected by the situation, I might feel like I just want to slow down or even hide under the duvet and not deal with it. I might even overreact. But when others are involved as well, reason takes over and I take control – drama, feelings, fear, doubt or pain happen in a separate dimension. Those are the times I need to keep moving forward.
Let’s just say that I’ve been referred to as an ice queen, cold hearted bitch more than once. Calm and level-headed have been the kinder labels. Those who really know me – who have seen me fall apart time and time again, lose control and regain it, only to lose it once more, and so on – laugh whenever they hear someone praise my calm nature. I’m not that calm, in spite of certain appearances. That’s why I compartmentalize so well. What can I say… life’s a rollercoaster and we’re all doing our best to handle it, perhaps even to enjoy it, make the best of it with and with the help of those next to us.
Thank you for suggesting this introspective topic, Tina (Lens-Artists Weekly Challenge – Curves).