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On Dolce Far Niente

People are always saying I should 'get out there' and 'do something'. It's the default advice no matter what the nature of the complaint is - I could be worried about my dead-end career or my prolonged single status... Judy Balan writes.

brunch Updated: Apr 12, 2012 15:08 IST
Judy Balan

People are always saying I should 'get out there' and 'do something'. It's the default advice no matter what the nature of the complaint is - I could be worried about my dead-end career or my prolonged single status or simply complain about how completely uneventful my life is - but the response is always the same. I'm all for benefitting from other people's experience but this direction strikes me as kind of vague. I mean, what exactly is out there?

For the longest time, I believed that 'out there' was this magical, invisible threshold that everyone other than me seemed to have experienced - and once I crossed it, I would, you know, land in Narnia or something.

Except, every time I got out there and did something, I ended up in jobs that drove me insane (and caused hair thinning) and got involved with a colourful range of dysfunctional individuals from garden-variety commitment phobes to Shahrukh-Khan-in-Darr like stalkers (that turned Nutella into staple food).

SO.

I altered my mantra just a wee bit - Shut up and stay put. When I consulted ancient wisdom such as the Psalms, I came across verses on the lines of 'Be still and know'. So I decided to experiment - after all, I had wasted a good number of years being 'pro active' so how's a few more years going to hurt? I quit my job and shut myself out for roughly three years. And guess what? I had finally slowed down enough to realize what I didn't want. And eventually, I discovered what I wanted to do - write!

I decided to apply the same theory to my search for The One. It's simple logic, really - if I kept swinging from one relationship to the next without giving myself any space, how is The One supposed to find me even if he were out there? And more importantly, how would I know what I want if I just took anything that came my way?

So I've stayed single now for the longest time but umm, nothing's happened. The temptation is to go out there. But I know now that that is a scary place full of other people's discards - men with heavy-duty baggage, men with mommy issues, men who wear jewelry, men who like hip-hop - not for the faint-hearted!

Some people may argue that experience counts. I concur - but there comes a point when all you seem to be doing is gathering experience without making any progress. I think that is the point when it's ideal to switch to the Shut Up and Stay Put school of thought. And why not? It's the only way to open up to that magical thing called serendipity - which by the way, is exactly like Narnia (or Middle Earth, Hogwarts, whatever).

So while the voice of reason says such things as 'You're a single mom, this is not going to be easy', 'The good ones are already taken by the twenty four year olds' and 'You got to hurry, you're running out of time' - there is another, totally sorted voice that says 'Just shut your trap and relax, woman. I've got this!'

My relationship history is proof that reason got me nowhere. So I'm going with the voice that makes no sense. The Italians got it right!

I'm going to relax. I'm going to do nothing.

I'm going to sit in here and wait for some Tom Cruise like creature (or Josh Holloway like creature, I'm open like that) to burst through my front door any second and tell me that I complete him.

Judy is a compulsive theorist and dreamy single-mum. She believes in serendipity, The Butterfly Effect and is pop-culture-crap intolerant. She is also the best-selling author of Two Fates - The Story of My Divorce