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Curve ball?

中国日报网 2022-12-19 16:40


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: Life throws curve balls at us, constantly.


My comments:

In other words, life is full of surprises. Unexpected things happen constantly. Some changes and the challenges they bring make life difficult for us.

That’s about it.

Curve ball, you see, is originally a baseball terminology. Curve ball refers to the ball a pitcher throw that spins in midair. The spin of the ball makes the movement of the ball uneven, seemingly producing a curve, hence the saying. A curve ball is not as forceful as a straight fast ball. It doesn’t travel as fast. Yet, it is deceptive, due to its “curve”, making it difficult for the hitter to strike the ball in precision.

In other words, curve balls are full of surprises.

Hence and therefore, in other walks of life, metaphorically speaking, “curve ball” comes to represent anything that’s tricky, deceptive, surprising.

And potentially difficult.

In our example, life is indeed full of surprises.

Of course.

Especially if one lives long enough. The other day, I heard an old lady remark: “I took that boy as a girl. He’s boy, all right, but he has his hair dyed green. And I mean green! I thought to myself: Now, I have seen everything.”

Well, long live that old lady – so that she’ll see something more bewildering.

Or exhilarating, depending on her perspective at the time.

All right, no more ado. Here are recent media examples of “curve ball” in the figurative sense:


1 Just when the Trump cult members thought that Trump might be able to avoid an indictment, the DOJ threw Trump a curveball.

Yes, yet another Federal Investigation into Trump has been opened up.

This time the DOJ is looking into the fraudulent fundraising Trump did after he LOST the 2020 Election through the Save America PAC.

How many of you will admit to sending Trump any money?

The $250,000,000 which Trump scammed out of his cult members in the guise of paying legal costs related to Trump’s alleged voter fraud court cases is what they’re looking into.

That money raised through the Save America PAC never paid out a single penny for legal costs.

Trump’s legal problems are getting worse by the day!

- Trump’s legal troubles just got worse, UglyHedgehog.com, September 8, 2022.


2 G1-class geomagnetic storm hit the Earth last Saturday, causing bright auroras over Canada, Newsweek reported. The only problem is that nobody saw this storm coming until it was quite late.

Solar scientists have been watching the skies with anticipation of solar activity after a sunspot grew enormously earlier last week, and then a huge coronal mass ejection (CME) was spotted on the solar surface. A big solar storm was expected due to the latter, but scientists were not very sure if it was heading towards the Earth.

After a long two-day wait, no worrisome geomagnetic activity was noticed, and solar scientists may have breathed a sigh of relief. But the recent report showed that even after watching the solar surface so closely, our Sun is full of surprises and, from time to time, throws us a curve ball.

How bad was the geomagnetic storm?

According to the Newsweek report, the geomagnetic storm was predicted by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the evening of June 25. The space weather prediction agency also said that the storm would last through the night and into the morning.

The SWPC predicted the geomagnetic storm to be of G1-class, the lowest classification in terms of power and impact of the storm. A G5-class is the highest classification of a geomagnetic storm that we have so far.

A G1-class geomagnetic storm carries risks such as an impact on satellite operations and power grid fluctuations. However, due to the relatively weaker intensity of the storm, the impact of the risks is also lower. Energy transfers during such events also produce some beautiful auroras that are visible in the night sky, and astronomers told Newsweek that they observed auroras in Calgary, Alberta.

- A geomagnetic storm hit Earth at a million miles an hour and nobody saw it coming, InterestingEngineering.com, July 1, 2022.


3 There are times in every person’s life where we are faced with transitioning into a new phase of our journey. For some, these are planned or natural transitions such as school, marriage, children, career advancements, etc. However, there are also many times when we are forced to face unforeseen, unplanned, and often difficult, life changes. These trying times are typically the moments that challenge us both physically and mentally, requiring us to grow and redefine ourselves in previously unimagined ways.

While natural life transitions are typically manageable, these unexpected changes can cause tremendous amounts of stress, anxiety, and fear. What do we do when we are faced with having to make life decisions, we may not feel we have adequate answers to? How do we cope with the stresses these transitions bring? How do we not lose ourselves as we grow in these experiences? Simply put, how do we move forward?

There may not always be an easy answer to these questions, but the concepts below are a good place to start.

Identify a Support System – During difficult times, it is essential to know who we can count on to support physical and emotional needs as they arise. Connect with those supports often and directly communicate the desire to be there for one another through these transitions.

Become Informed – Many times during life changes, we will be asked to face the unfamiliar. It is important to become informed and well-educated on options and facts regarding the situation at hand.

Ask for Help – Whether it be a trusted friend or family member within your identified support system or a trained professional, recognize the importance of asking for help. Know that you are not alone on this journey and there is always someone who can walk with you if you are willing to let them. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness; it is always a sign of strength.

Make Time for Yourself – If you have been placed in a position where you are now taking on a new role in life, it is so important to keep the things that make you feel like yourself in your daily routine. Make time for yourself and the things that bring you joy. In high-stress times, we should be purposeful in prioritizing our needs as individuals. When redefining ourselves we must always find ways to keep who we are at our core alive and well.

Allow Yourself Space to Grow – Full transitions don’t often happen overnight. There is a process of learning, changing, and growing. Be kind to yourself during this process. Allow yourself time to shift gears and figure things out. If you must make a difficult decision quickly, remember that many changes can be temporary if needed. Do the best you can and give yourself intentional grace during these times.

Know It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay Sometimes – As a society, it often seems frowned upon to be open and honest that one is struggling. There may not be a better time to break that stigma. A large number of people are really struggling right now, in one capacity or another. Have empathy for others and yourself.

Get Help for Depression or Anxiety – While it’s normal and okay to feel down sometimes, it is also important to recognize if you are having increased feelings of “not being okay” or if you have been experiencing negative or harmful thoughts for extended periods of time. Take this as a sign and opportunity to reach out for help from your doctor or mental health professional.

Seek Hope – When we are thrown into the unknown, there is so much uncertainty. Many times this can become incredibly overwhelming and cause us to lack hope for the future. In these moments it’s important to seek hope. Find things that you can look forward to. Create goals for your future, things you want to do or accomplish. Intently look for positives throughout your day.  It may be as simple as acknowledging the sun is shining, but over time finding these small glimpses of hope and joy will wire your brain to more optimistic ways of thinking.

Consider “Kintsugi” as a Metaphor for Transition – Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with melted gold. The concept is built on the idea that, in embracing flaws and imperfections, we can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

While the past several years, for many, have been years of uncertainty, fear, grief, and change, we must remember that this has also been a time where we gained strength and resilience. It has set us up to be much more equipped to work through any challenging transitions we may face in years to come. We may at times still feel broken, but, just like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, we are allowed to use our brokenness to create something new that has meaning. Together we can choose to see the beauty in the broken. We can lean on one another to be the golden glue when we feel disconnected. Dare we suggest that this could even be the silver lining in redefining ourselves during difficult life transitions?

This idea that we are asked to keep all the pieces of ourselves and shift them into something new is a unique request. It is often a difficult task, but the opportunity to mold ourselves into someone that has grown in strength and resilience is a very powerful thing. With the New Year comes a renewed understanding that we are still beautifully crafted individuals. We can find peace in knowing that we are capable of facing the curveballs life will throw our wayand we can find hope in believing we are worthy, more than ever, of the promises our future holds.


When Life Throws Us a Curveball: Redefining Ourselves through Difficult Life Transitions, WestCountyBehaviorial.com, November 2, 2022.


About the author:


Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


(作者:张欣 编辑:yaning)



Rude awakening?


Pie in the sky?


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Piece of cake? 小菜一碟?

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