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The Accidental Philosopher: On being adventurous

I've been feeling a nagging need to try something new. This isn't normal for me though because I tend to think that this whole need to constantly 'do something new and exciting' is overrated. Judy Balan writes.

brunch Updated: May 02, 2012 17:54 IST
Judy Balan

I've been feeling a nagging need to try something new. This isn't normal for me though because I tend to think that this whole need to constantly 'do something new and exciting' is overrated. I mean, what's wrong with the old thing? If boot cut jeans work for me, I'm not going to stop wearing them simply because Vogue thinks it's not 'in.' All right, it's not just Vogue. Many fashion-loving girlfriends have described my style as 'boring' and 'so last season.' Personally, I'd go with words like 'classic' and 'timeless' but whatever.

What irks me though is that people tend to equate this compulsive need to try new things with 'being adventurous' and then conclude that I don't qualify. Wrong. I just happen to define it differently - the ability to see an opportunity for fun and excitement in what is otherwise an inconvenience. Like this -You're on a solo road-trip, you have a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, you're changing your tyre (because you know how to do cool things like that), you have grease on you but you're somehow having fun, it then begins to rain (making your hair frizz) but you make the best of it and dance in the rain all by yourself, a handsome stranger notices this from across the street and decides to join you. See? Adventure.

All right, that's more like a Sandra Bullock starrer. But you see my point - I just think that my idea of adventure - the one that happens to me when I'm not looking - is far more exciting than paying someone lots of cash to tie a rope around my waist and throw me down a cliff. 'But it's such a rush!' some adrenaline junkie might argue. It probably is. Except said rush can also be obtained by standing on one's head in one's room and from what I know, no one's died from it.

It's not that I'm against extreme sports. In fact, I admire people who can do things I can't or am afraid to. It's just that I find it surprising that many of the people who brag about their sense of adventure because of their ability to jump off airplanes or swim underwater are the first ones to have nervous breakdowns over such things as traffic diversions and power shutdowns. I mean, if all those extreme situations you've put yourself through haven't trained you to survive a summer in Chennai (or fill in city of your choice) without cussing every five seconds, then this whole obsession with 'being adventurous' occurs to me as kind of pointless.

To give you a real-life example, I did not plan on being a single-parent. It happened. And when it did, it was new, scary and unexpected - all the elements that make a good adventure. Of course, I didn't see it that way initially. But five years later, I describe my journey as bumpy but exciting and memorable - to the point that I'm thankful that it turned out this way. And if I could go back in time, I'd change nothing about it. Because - and this is just my understanding - there are things falling off cliffs (metaphorically) can teach you that a bunjee jump never can.

And I tend to believe that if I'm too busyseeking out adventure, I might miss the ones that come my way. And the ones that come my way are usually custom-made. SO.

If hanging from rocks is your thing, go on and plan your next adventure.

I'll just hang in here in my last-season jeans and wait for something terrible to happen.

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