Guest Blog : The Ageing Plankton

February 22, 2012 § 64 Comments

Many thanks for this guest blog from regular commentator, Fi.
Here are 2 of my thoughts. Firstly we are all Planktons because we choose to be. I know a lot of people will deny it, but stop and think about it for a moment. We are where we are because of choices we have made in the past and their consequences, and more significantly we continue to be planktons because of choices we continue to make. Take me for instance. If I decided to go out with the bloke who keeps pursuing me (so obese he needs a stick to walk and even then can’t do more than 10 feet without struggling for breath) then I wouldn’t be a plankton. If I hadn’t told my (first) husband I didn’t want to be married anymore (perfectly nice bloke but I was young and thought the world would always give me opportunities) then I wouldn’t be a plankton. If I hadn’t married my second (horrible) husband and had another child before he scarpered, then maybe I’d have met someone else and I wouldn’t be a plankton. If I hadn’t decided to focus on my kids and refused to meet anyone else, then maybe again I wouldn’t now be a plankton. Or maybe I would. Who knows. The point I’m trying to make is we are all where we are because of things we’ve done in the past, and things we continue to do. It’s not our fault we are , but I do think that actions and decisions have consequences for us and the upside of this thinking is that I firmly believe we can change where we end up. Whether we decide to go someplace new and therefore meet new people, broaden our criteria or just say ‘yes’ to someone or an invitation or simply try something new – all these things send us off down a new route. Recognising that it is one’s own choice does give one the opportunity to change the response from a no to a yes. On the other hand choosing to say no and to continue what is currently being done will only bring about the same result so if that’s the choice don’t complain about the consequence. Yes I know its not fair, its not fair that I only have an obese man chasing (or rather shuffling) after me, but we are where we are. Life is what it is.

My second thought is that film with Jack Nicolson – As Good As It Gets – where he asks a psychiatrist’s waiting room of depressed people “What if this is as good as it gets?”. What if it is? What if there is no man out there that fits your criteria? What if you are always going to be on your own? Till you die? I would say its very likely actually. Younger women, early death of men, their tendency to go out with younger women, the baggage that older plankton’s have….What then? When I watched this film this line struck me and I thought, Bloody hell I’d better get on and enjoy my life now and make the best of it then. So I’ve conciously made the effort to find things that enrich my life, I’ve learnt that it is relationships with people that matter, it’s lovely now its spring again and the days are getting longer so I can do more things in the evening. I spend less money on things, and what I do spend is on experiences like going to the cinema with my daughter, seeing a movie with a friend. I rarely say no to any opportunities to do whatever comes my way even when I don’t think I’ll like it. I still like to think I’ll meet someone who is right for me, and now I’m older I think I can offer more to them than I ever could when I was young and stupid, but I think it’s less likely unless I’m incredibly lucky and bump into them on taking up the new opportunities that come my way, or I decide to broaden my criteria to include people I am not currently considering. But knowing its my choice means I have a realistic view of the world and my place in it, and I’m ok with that. And if I don’t meet someone then my life is still ok.


§ 64 Responses to Guest Blog : The Ageing Plankton

  • Steve says:

    Excellent post, P.

    Very accurate summary of what it is like to live alone. I echo your sentiments. If someone comes along that ticks some/most of my boxes, then that would be great. If not, then so be it. Sometimes – sadly – you just don’t get what you want.

  • thirtysomething says:

    This is quite possibly one of the best (realistic, albeit optimistic) musings I’ve read by a single woman. Thank you. Moaning is all well and good (that is, in fact, why this blog exists in part, yes?), but sometimes it’s helpful to get a dose of perspective.

  • MissBates says:

    Excellent guest post, Fi.

    I CHOSE to pursue a career; I CHOSE not to marry the man I loved when I was 28; I currently CHOOSE not to date men 15+ years older than myself. One quibble — and perhaps this is just semantics — but all of these choices ARE what place me “at the bottom of the sexual food chain,” which in turn IS the very definition of “plankton” here at this site. I guess what I’m trying to say is that “oh, I’m a plankton alright, but I accept my full share of responsibility for that fate.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy many aspects of my life. I, like you, it would appear, embrace the opportunities that come my way for socializing, and I’m blessed to live in a city where the cultural possibilities are inexhaustible. I agree with you that it is an extremely remote possibility that I will ever again share those social/cultural activities with a male partner (much less any more amorous activities!), and I’ve become quite matter-of-fact about it in recent years. Can’t say I’m thrilled with the outcome, but acceptance is the only way to move forward.

  • Alison says:

    As has been said above, a very realistic but not melancholy view of the plankton situation, and even made me smile in a wry way but also served as a reminder that the choices I make, I will now give more consideration to. Thank you Fi

  • AuntyB says:

    really interesting perspective and true, enjoy your blog, have never commented before, but always check it out each time I am on line.

  • Dawn says:

    I think Fi hit the nail firmly on the head. As previously stated by other commenters, if the right guy comes along, all well and good. But if not, I won’t look back on these years and remember nothing but sitting, wishing hoping for Prince Charming. Or even Prince Reasonably Pleasant.

  • RS says:

    Well said Fi. I’ve read often that to be truly happy a person needs to be grateful for what they DO have and not always be longing for more. Not to say that we shouldn’t be open to, and hopeful for, a fulfilling romantic partnership IF THAT’S WHAT WE WANT – but to be grateful for the lives we craft for ourselves outside that is what we should aim for.

  • Jo says:

    Fi. As you know, you are a girl after my own heart and I applaud you for this. Very well done. Very well said. Every word seconded. Great great great.
    Dearest P, Fi and all of you girls here. I’m sorry I am going to have to depart for the foreseeable future. I’m sure many of us know someone who has had or currently have a serious illness. I don’t wish to be gloomy, but last week the mother of one of my daughter’s friends died and today a dear friend of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
    I am trying to be a good friend and be present and caring for both these parties. It has crystallised my thoughts actions and as such I don’t feel I’ll be able to post. I hope you all understand. My friend comes first and needs all her pals for whatever/whenever she needs. And I have always tried to be a good friend.
    So bye-bye all. Thank you for some stimulating, uplifting and thought-provoking posts. Thank you even for when there have been disagreements! All goes into the pot of learning something from it!
    I shall miss you all and hope maybe to be back.
    Good luck to you. Maybe if/when I can come back some things will have changed for P and you all.
    Oh I do hope so!
    Jo xxx

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Jo, Sorry to see you go but totally understand. Take care and come back any time you want, obviously! I expect I shall still be here, even if no one else is!? Pxx

      • Jo says:

        Now P. Stop that girl!
        You may very well not be here when I can come back. I hope you’re not. Although, at the same time I hope you are, purely for your fab writing…!
        You may well of course still be here keeping us up to date with you and your beau..
        Yes. That’s what I hope. Best of both worlds.
        Take care P.
        Lots of luck. Lots of love. xx

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Jo. Best of luck to you too. Px

    • Barry says:

      My Thoughts and wishes go with you Jo …..take care of yourself, you are needed .

    • fi says:

      Jo I commented on the other strand but just wanted to say I’ll miss you here. Hope to see you at some point again X

    • Lizzie says:

      Dear Jo,
      Sorry to hear this news. I know the support you are going to give both these families will be the best gift you could possibly give them. Will be thinking of you and will miss your posts – complacent and argumentative alike!
      Dear Fi,
      An excellent post. If must be difficult for Plankton to keep up day after day, an imaginative dialogue on the plight of being a plankton. If someone else throws a constructive and logical take on the whole picture every now and then – well, we are truly blessed!
      And meanwhile Plankton, we could not do without your daily meanderings, anyone who approaches this blog with a negative stance has completely missed your humour.

    • RS says:

      All the best to you Jo. You’ll be missed here but I know the support you will be giving your friends will mean a lot to them.

  • marriednotsmug says:

    Will miss your posts Jo,
    take care x

  • chris says:

    Weall have our sell by date, including me. Guess the fat bloke your level now ? Well, just a thought, if not all together welcome !!

    • fi says:

      Ha ha. He would be my level if I couldn’t get any bloke other than the fat bloke I suppose. But just because someone unattractive fancies you it doesn’t necessarily follow that you have to be unattractive. That’s an illogical argument I would say.

      • chris says:

        Just because I am a man does not mean I have to be logical. Or is it just because I am illogical it does not follow I am not a man…….oh, I don’t know, too confusing….which is exactly what life is !!

  • Margaux says:

    Jo – I too have added my very best wishes to you on the other post and re-iterate them here. Remember to take care of yourself too x M

    Fi – brilliant post- very succint. It totally resonates with my own view of life. Thanks for writing it x

  • fi says:

    Dear All. I just want to say thanks very much for all the compliments. I honestly expected a series of hate mail comments with some exceptions (from Zoe, Caz, Jo, Maria et al) along the lines of my sense of superiority, I must love myself etc etc. Its really great to think that there are single women out there who are just enjoying life. Its great P has let me put this here – but of course it’s dead easy to do it for one day. What’s amazing is P keeps it up day after day, still finding something interesting to say. I love the idea of other people contributing something too to give a different perspective.

  • June says:

    Well Fi you and i have had our differences in past but you do talk a lot of sense and yes i guess we have to accept our fate, as my mum used to say what will be will be.

    I have thought about this lately as recently the husband of an old colleague of mine died suddenly on a winter sports holiday, she wasnt with him and had to fly out and turn off life suport ,machine. She was my old manager in the company i worked for and recently took early retirement so they could be together more. he was only 55 and my friends first marriage broke up, he left her for another, she met this chap, now shes alone again, and she hates being alone, she did when her first marriage broke up, and her kids were at home then, shes a kind and lovely person, its so sad but it made me think she didnt choose it, two marriages, shes a bit younger than me but shes a plankton. I was discussing it with my friend who dreads becoming a plankton yesterday,who stays in a dead relationship cause she cant face being alone,she knows my other friend,she was her manager to. Nothing is certain in this life is it, and i have to face i will probably not meet anyone,unless i compromise a lot and i dont think i can. So your point about choices are true are they not,my friend hates being alone, and cant afford her mortgage by herself, she bought her ex out, so she stays in a dead relationship and of course with we women its the sell by date thing,men dont suffer from that so do they, thats another thing we have to live with,its hard over 45 to find anyone, anyone you would want anyway. Sure you couldnt accept the obese man Fi, who would blame you, but there are some who no doubt would.

    Sorry Jo you wont be on here for a while, hope all goes well with your friend and you will be back again in not too distant future.

    • fi says:

      Hi June. Just to clarify what I was saying today: no I don’t think we have to accept our fate as I don’t think we have a fate. I also don’t think women have a sell by age. I’ve never thought in terms of accepting or not accepting someone – I think in terms of do I want to shag them or not. 🙂

      • fi says:

        Well we probably do have a sell by age at some point, maybe, but as along as there are men around who are the same age then there will always be the potential. My friend of 74 is pursued by elderly gents who buy her flowers and take her to lunch. I have the obese man actually pursuing me – putting his hand on my knee, slipping his arm round my waist at any opportunity, but I don’t think I’m only attractive to him. Maybe I should! But I don’t.

      • maria says:

        Great post, Fi. I’m so glad you’re back. As usual I so agree with you, me too, if I wanted, could stop being single and a plankton as there is a guy at work who fancies me, he’s divorced, age appropriate and all, but he looks like a gorilla and he’s totally bonkers, and even though I’m no oil painting myself, just the thought of doing it with him, makes me throw up a little in my mouth. There are also at least half a dozen SFARs here in my neighbourhood and I could easily pick one up, but I could never get into the sack with them.
        And it’s true what you say that we don’t have a sell by age, my mother was in her middle seventies with a terrible wig(due to chemo – she died of breast cancer) and still she had an old bloke chasing her in the bus. Great to have you back.

      • fi says:

        @Maria. I quite like the gorilla look. And bald men. I just associate it with high levels of testosterone. I know I’m not the norm but I can’t bear men who don’t have enough hair on their bodies. Think its just me that’s a bit odd actually.

    • Jo says:

      Ah…Thanks June. How lovely of you.
      Fingers crossed and best of luck to you – and to you all. x

  • Man says:

    Dear Fi

    Congratulations on your very good guest posting.

    Where people have some control over their lives and can make choices, then I suggest that they are satisfied with the way things are. If they were not satisfied, they would take action to change their situation, trying to improve it.

    What a lot of people on this blog realise is that changing from life as a singleton to life with a partner requires a huge amount of compromise – and many prefer the freedom that a life alone can give. This is the Plankton’s dilemma.

    P’s blog is her way of doing something to change her situation. But she is not using it nearly as much as her many followers think she could. I suggest that she is happy with how things are at this stage – otherwise she would be doing something differently.

    As long as she remembers that a relationship, like happiness, is best not pursued, but a by-product of a life lived well.

    Good luck in your choices


  • Josephine says:

    My thoughts & prayers are with Jo at this very difficult time, I will be sorry to see her go, also I am sure she will be a great source of strength to her friends. X

  • Vicki says:

    Just recently started following your blog but love it! Most everything you say i agree with !

  • Elle says:

    Fi, that was an excellent blog, and the phrase “as good as it gets” really resonated with me. Yes, this is probably as good as it gets and we have to make the most of it. The choice is this – make the most of things or rail against your circumstances.

    Best wishes to June and her friend.

  • plumgrape says:

    Well done, Fi. At least you are talking. I have confidence in you. What I do wonder about though is what you WILL offer? Good company? Some money to pay your way? A place to live? Good cooking? Servitude? Humility? Fun? Sex talk? Integrity? Humour? A sandwich and a soft drink for a picnic? A convenient location? Wit? An SMS message? All of the above? Travel?
    How are you reachable? How are you found from behind the iron curtain that is this epiphaneous blog? How old are you? Want to come play hide and seek?

    • fi says:

      I can only offer what I offer my friends, but with sex thrown in. So I need to meet someone I like (or have the potential to like) at least as much as my friends. So the qualities I look for my close friends to have, I need to have in a bloke I clever conversation, good company, kind, and tolerant. Plus I need to find them attractive enough to want to sleep with them. Without the desire to have sex with them, they stay as friends.

      • Twinkletoes says:

        Fi, I couldn’t agree more!

      • fi says:

        Sometimes I think I’m out of step with other people who seem to look for something else in a boyfriend (if that’s not too cringy a term). The people I’m close to have particular values and attributes and those are what I look for in new people. If they’re there then those people usually become good friends. It does seem sometimes as though people look for entirely different things from a partner they’d look for in a close friend and it just seems really odd to me. If you wouldn’t want them as a good friend without sex, why would you want them as a partner/boyfriend/lover/whatever?

      • EmGee says:

        “…and those are what I look for in new people.”

        I agree with you Fi, I am the same way, on the other hand, there are people with sharply different views on life, different cultural backgrounds, etc who somehow connect and live together quite happily.

        Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.
        (the heart has it reasons that reason doesn’t understand.)

  • Joules says:

    Fi – great entry. I agree with the sentiment that maybe this is as good as it gets. Just after my break up I read something somewhere about a woman whose marriage broke up when she was in her 40s and she eventually found someone again when she was in her 60s. Her advice was to live your life as if you knew there would be someone out there eventually and to use the time before you meet them or realise who they are to do as many of the things you want to in life before they get here. I am trying to do this. Some days go better than others.

  • Caz says:

    So true Joules – we are all basically alone in life but occasionally we find someone to travel along with for all or part of the way….which we should regard as a bonus and not an expectation.

  • june says:

    ive had problems with my email, so have only just reread this. i agree Fi we should look for same qualities in partners we look for in friends and if i think of the happiest relationships i know,the couples have, and the the unhappiest they havent, trouble is ive always had a problem finding a man with qualities i look for in a friend and cant accept less.

    Like the bald men have more testorerone, my dad was bald and lovely man though he was, hed be first to admit he had a low sex drive, my mum did to, probably why i am only child, but they were happy, guess as long as both are on same wavelengh ok, but its not always true about bald men Fi.

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