Multi-Faceted Plankton

September 23, 2011 § 27 Comments

See I’ve caused a bit of a stir these past couple days; one commentator suggested I must be so depressed I should consider pills; another that all my problems stem from still loving my ex-husband.

No, I don’t do pills (with the exception of the odd paracetamol).  Yes, I do still love him.  I loved him for many years.  You don’t just switch that off; don’t particularly want or need to, even though it’s different now.  I am fine with it and have moved on but I’m allowed still to like him.  Nothing sinister about that.  It’s very straight-forward: new circumstances, not always a picnic, but same old respect and lasting affection.  Imaginative.  Modern.  Civilised.  Generous.  Seems to me to make perfect sense.

I so do not need therapy; I am so NOT depressed.  My oldest best friend, and another friend also, told me last night that I ought to be careful about making myself out to be a plankton and living it because I will then become it all the more and they know there is more to me than that.  They are absolutely right, of course but, as I said to one of them, there are two vital, redeeming factors.

First, hello everyone out there, the Plankton is a persona.  Whilst everything I write is true, as I write I am only presenting myself as I am during the actual process of writing a post. None of it is a lie, but some of it is heightened a little through the conduit of writing, I am toying a bit, playful, perhaps to create an effect which is either humorous or poignant.  Just as divorce, as I discovered, is not black or white, nor, of course, is a person.  I may rant about this and that one minute, and the next feel quite the opposite.  I am full of ambivalent or conflicting feelings, and thoughts that are at odds with each other, as are we all.

I think, for example, of my attitude to solitude.  With my Plankton hat on, I write about the downsides of being on my own when knocking fifty, because that is what I am here for, after all, to flag them up, to say the stuff that so many millions feel – sometimes – but no one ever seems to say.  But as me, with quite another name, going about my daily life, there is so much about being on my own that I relish.  I live with the good and the bad.  My spirit is energetic and full of vitality and every day I am aware of this tremendous sense of excitement; that anything might happen.  My erstwhile married happiness has gone and been replaced by something different: still happiness sometimes, but with an edge.  This type is less stable but can bring on extraordinary joy and the jitters, as well as give way to moments of tremendous loneliness and pain.  I touch on all this in my blog, but what I focus on is the plankton side of things because it is a blog about the plankton side of things.

Second, I told my lovely, concerned friend, probably rather defensively, that I know I am so much else besides the Plankton and I am not losing sight of that.   I go up and down – doesn’t everyone – but the ups and downs can occur day to day, hour by hour, even minute by minute.  I am lucky in as much as my ups and downs – NB. frantically counting my blessings here! – are all within a healthy, stable range and never verge on bi-polar.  Everyone is a kaleidoscope; move a bit and the intricate patterns and colours somewhat shift.  So it is, I am a plankton, but I am also a hundred and one other things.  I am repeating myself from an earlier post, I know, but I am a mother blissfully bound up with my children and their extensive, full-on lives.  I am congenitally gregarious and so make plans to go out to things that are nothing to do with meeting Mr Right, but promise to be great fun in their own right.  There’s a festival coming up;  something else with about 500 friends enjoying themselves one night soon, wouldn’t miss it for anything; a concert which I loved last year to which I bought myself a single ticket this year but will meet up with loads of other friends when there; a big, cheerful school event one day soon.  The list goes on. Professionally, I work hard and love it.  I have a cultural and (admittedly rather slack) spiritual life too.  I travel (not a great deal, but enough).  It has to be said I don’t do much (fuck all) in the way of exercise, but, hey, we can’t be perfect.  I feel an uplifting sense of optimism on a bedrock of stability and – BLEARGH! – I have “belief in myself”.  I think I’m going copiously to throw up at this last piece of touchy-feely bullshit, but you get my meaning.

In a word (or two), and as my children have the unfortunate habit of putting it, I’m good.

I could go further.  This second, and I’m enjoying it while it lasts because far be it from me to be complacent and assume it’s a runner, but right this second, I’m really good.

§ 27 Responses to Multi-Faceted Plankton

  • Florence says:

    Go Plankton!

  • Patricia says:

    You’re writing for ME – so well put and thankyou again, I’m not alone – a tear and a smile is just how it is.

  • Ah yes, then you would seem to be a zooplankton, or perhaps concurrently, a meroplankton…

  • Aggie says:

    Never mind good – you are a-effing-mazing. I absolutely love every single sentence you write.

  • june says:

    i echo those comments, its only someone who is living it who knows it. Like you im not a miserable person, i would say im quite a happy person really and yes there are things about living on my own i enjoy and im healthy, have good friends,i do things with, ive just booked a concert in dec, with friends like you , could have more money but not destitute . Its just that sometimes not having someone gets to you and you feel why me, But there are so many in imperfect relationships, living with people they dont communicate with, they i know feel just as lonely sometimes, they are just terrified of becoming a plankton! .

    So keep it coming plankton,ignore those negative comments, we your fans love it, you are speaking for us all, you dont need pills nor are you depressed,same as me,you are telling it like it is for a middle aged unattached women in 2011.

  • Angie says:

    Reading your blog is better than therapy. I am able to try and make sense of the position I find myself in. And also to laugh at the ridiculousness we face each day too. Thank you.

  • joules says:

    You are good – reading this blog (and the associated comments) make me feel so less lonely than I did before it – helps to have a very erudite voice for what many of us are feeling.

    PS – still unsure about the old internet dating. Definately think there might be better uses of my time. I am amazed at Lydia – if we could find some way of packaging all that energy I think the world could rest easy regarding future (or present ) oil shocks.

    • Lydia says:

      I have a lot of energy. I think in p art it’s because I don’t eat processed food or any junk food. I don’t drink or smoke or take drugs. I am sure that affects how I feel. I try to get lots and lots of sleep – another plus compared with sleeping with a man when in family life sex is often carved out of sleep hours.

      Having the energy to date is just fun really. I saw someone last week. I’ve not bothered this week as work is rather busy and one particularly interesting has been in touch.

  • Sloe says:

    Don’t you think that there are so many more attractive 50 year old women than men?

    • june says:

      i also think there are lots more attractive 60 yr old women than men,many my age have one foot in grave, and ones in 50s which personally i feel i have more in common with wont entertain a woman over 55, even if she looks young for her age.

  • Sarah says:

    Know how you feel with the up one minute down the next emotions. It’s not only planktons that have to grapple with errant emotions. One’s children can do that to you, plus opening one’s bank statement, plus an unexpected rainy day (unexpected down here, that is, not so surprising in the UK… ) etc. etc.

    Glad to see you’re ‘good’ today. Long may it last, or at least into the weekend.

  • Jo-Jo says:

    Hello lovely lady! I am not going to say hello Plankton, because I truly do not believe your are, you are nowhere even near ‘the bottom of the food chain’!!. You come across as funny, interesting, intelligent, full of life, humour, vitality and confidence. Yes you are in your forties, but you are still beautiful, wise, and have tons and tons to give (I am far happier, and far more confident than when I was last single in my early twenties, and feel far more able to make good decisions, and that comes with age and experience) . Here on your blog you say the things that thousands of us mature singletons have felt and thought at times……well done!! It is good to be able to voice these things, and I personally would like to thank you for your honesty, your ability to write something every day (cant be easy!!) and to bring on many days, a rueful smile to my face, as I know exactly what you are talking about.

    Hold your head up high lady, you say you have self-belief, well you have fans out here who believe in you too……and that you can have a fulfilled and happy life just being yourself…..not necessarily someone else making you happy, but making yourself happy if you understand?! There are a few things that I have learned since being single again aged 48…….(1) I can be as happy on my own as I can be happy with someone (as long as we have a good connection) (2) You can be incredibly unhappy if you are with the wrong person (stating the obvious I guess!) (3) My plan for the rest of my life is to savour the happy memories, not think to far ahead, or worry about the future and what it holds, and to live each day as best I can, making the most of what I have right now, living every moment, and finding something good in everything I do, and everyone I meet.

    Let us not call ourselves Planktons……….perhaps we should call ourselves Angel Fish!!!!

    Take care, and have a lovely day.

  • Gilmore Jones says:

    Dear Plankton

    I totally understand. I’m a 67 year old plankton, divorced in my 40s, also raising children at the time.

    Of course you are good, and active, and happy, and as far over the divorce goes you are as you probably as far over it as you ever will be. And you are not going waste time on being unhappy – but there’s the BUT. And that’s all you are doing – saying the unspeakable. Talking about the gap in your life.

    It gets better post menopause but for me without a sex life and all the fun that goes with it I lost a hugely creative part of my life. A comedy evening is no substitute!

    So keep on speaking my words for me – and just keep that curiosity going that life will take you where you need to go.

    Big ether hug.

  • MissBates says:

    Interesting how some seek to pathologize one’s status as a plankton by positing a psychiatric diagnosis. I don’t think you’re depressed, either, Plankton; you’re just legitimately unhappy (and even then, not all the time, I’m happy to hear). There is no easy fix (i.e., the “take a course” solution) to our situation; the challenges we face are quite real, and not the product of the faulty reasoning that can be a feature of clinical depression.

  • anniebub says:

    Actually I wasn’t thinking about grieving for your marriage and certainly didn’t mean to imply you needed therapy to get over it! You have so obviously got that sorted and want to be somewhere else now. I was just interested to know how it came to an end, in that it seems you are someone who loves to be in a partnership, with a valued person, because it is genuinely life enhancing, and I can’t imagine you choosing someone less than wonderful to be with. So I wondered a) if he chose to end it, whether you have found yourself in the position of being alone because it was forced upon you, or b) whether you chose voluntarily to be in this position because life had become intolerable remaining where you were for some reason? Or c) whether it was a mutual, joint, sad decision that the marriage had just come to the end of the road? It just seemed to me that there might be a difference in how you perceived yourself now, i.e. a) ditched wife, b) brave deserter, c) older, wiser, sadder person, although the end result is the same – that you are now on your own. So I was thinking the grief was about being in this situation of desolate oneness, and the fact that there seems no end to it, without necessarily regretting what you had lost, but at the same time being sometimes sad and angry that this is where it has left you. I still think it is a braver place to be than in a trapped and hopeless marriage, which is where a lot of people of our age find themselves, and never have the strength to get out of and move on. More honest and true to yourself. But I was wondering if you have been more surprised than you imagined to find what a lonely place it is to be, and that is what the grief is about. But as you say, it is not there all the time, and there is more to life than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself all day, and the purpose of the blog is to entertain and inform others of a common predicament, while continuing to be cheered by all the ordinary wonders of everyday life, including your children, good friends and family. And I think you are right, the best way to find a new man is going to be through these known and trusted links.

  • Leftatforty says:

    Great once again Plankton. I am also throwing up at throwing up at the last piece of touchy-feeling bit…

  • Cindy says:

    Hello Plankton.

    I find it oddly comforting to know there are plankton just like me 5,000 miles away, all the way across this continent and an ocean too. I read your blog early in the morning, laughing at the funny bits, and smiling with compassion at your struggles to keep your head held high.

    As they say here YOU GO GIRL!

    From a fellow plankton, the northern California kind

  • You are, as you said, exploring a narrow slice of your psyche and emotional life. I’ve had similar comments regarding my own blog about the exploration of dating and relationships, and it’s important to note that one moment we’re digging up and exposing our feelings, which is dirty work, and the next we are rockin’ careers, friendships and parenting.

    You’re bloody brilliant! Keep on.

  • Lydia says:

    Yes, people often patholise particularly women. The Victorians had us committed, said we had the vapours etc and indeed it wa sa classic way to be rid of a spouse you didn’t want. The Russians jailed many of both sexes by saying they were mad. Those really depressed do not realy have the energy to put fingers to key board and type a blog like this. That’s fairly obvious.

    However you can’t post like the one at the top here because the whole attraction is the one sided fed up with being plankton idea. You might prick the bubble laughing as I type. You have to maintain the illusion of desperate planktonhood on the deep ocean floor not only at the bottom of the pyramid of attractive qualities but in its basement.

    That is not of course true because ou can right, are clever are only in your 40s etc etc.

    I would like to hear from more women over 60 or 70. What do they wish they ahd done in their 40s and what which they thought mattered then they know now doesn’t.Plankton and I are presumably both pre menopausal. It’s a massive difference in a woman;’s life between our age and even 5 years time. Ket us hear from those on the other side although I keep hearing tales from men who have had some of the best sex with women over 50 by the way so perhaps the best is yet to come.

    Indeed happiness levels rise at over 50, chdlren are gone. Those of us with stellar careers can come into our own and life will be even more wonderful than it is now. Lucky us.

  • John, a gentle man. says:

    Thanks for straightening that out Plankton, I was starting to worry about you continually putting yourself down. The dual persona thing is an interesting concept. Just a bit of (unasked for) reassurance, Don’t fret, life swings like a pendulum, after you get a low low, you can usually count on a high high. Unfortunately that works the other way too. lol

  • DAN says:


    As they say in america ( not me i’m irish),



  • Geoffrey says:

    I absolutely love this blog and have been reading each post and the comments for several weeks. Like Anniebub I too would like to hear more about how your marriage ended if you can bear to tell the story. I am married but surrounded by planktons – all dealing with their situation in very different ways. It seems to me that facing up to the past with equanimity is an essential precursor to finding someone new – obvious of course but not easy to do.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Geoffrey, Thank you for this and I am delighted you enjoy the blog so much. I posted a comment in reply to a question and about my ex-husband and divorce a couple of days ago in response to someone else. You will find it amongst others in response to Queasy Failure, and if you read it, I hope you’ll understand why I can’t enter into anything about any of that. Best wishes, Plankton

  • Jo-Jo says:

    My pleasure! Good luck with your date with LS this weekend, I will keep my fingers crossed that you click, connect and there is chemistry!!
    Above all, relax, and enjoy all those butterflies in your tummy!


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