Guest Blog: The Ageing Plankton

February 22, 2012 § 30 Comments

This is a guest blog for which I want to thank 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.

§ 30 Responses to Guest Blog: The Ageing Plankton

  • Lydia says:

    Very true. That accords with my own philosophy that we reap what we sow. We are responsible for ourselves. We should act, not moan and we should not seek to lay blame but to change what we can change and accept what we cannot.

    I am also very happy single (and can be happy with a man too) so it matters not a jot if I find one and if I do then it would have to improve (not make worse) my life.

    I also knkow that plenty of men want women about their age as they tell me so. I spoke to one last night who has one child. I said you say you want more children so you need someone in her 20s and 30s then surely? He says no, they don’t have the wisdom, experience and I suspect they may be less willing to take on his little boy too although that wasn’t said. Experienced parents (and I count fathers in this ) can be more desirable to those of us with children at home than people who have never brought up a child.

  • Jane says:

    Hey Fi, love this! well done for jumping in there. I completely agree with everything you say and I love your philosophy. Understand that it’s hard to maintain sometimes, (for all of us) but as you say, life is short and how sad to waste it dwelling on the negative things that burden us all from time to time and not get out there to try and grasp the good stuff.

  • Caz says:

    Excellent post Fi – absolutely agree in every way. Thankyou!

  • Von says:

    Brilliant posting……so true thank you !

  • Cindy says:

    I totally agree with fi. I made a decision to leave a bad marriage, where I found I was very lonely. I am lonely now as well, however I can choose to do whatever I want when I want, and don’t have to have his approval or even his opinion. I am also now broadening my horizons and trying to make the best of it. After all this probably is “as good as it gets.”

  • j24601 says:

    If it were just that simple, Fi.

    There are always factors outside of one’s control which influence the choices one makes; there are endless examples, such as suffering severe neglect, or physical, sexual and mental abuse in childhood. Of course this list is endless, and for some, their life’s effort is required, and their energy drained in living in the face of the consequences of these destructive experiences.

  • Twinkletoes says:

    Very well written, Fi, and I agree.

    At least with the fat blokes, you can run faster than they can 🙂

    • fi says:

      Ha ha. There’s not much to fear from a man who has to sit with his legs far apart to accommodate his big belly if he’s sitting upright, or has to almost lie back in a chair if he wants to put his knees together. Although it is hard not to flinch when he rests his enormous hand on my knee as he leans over to speak to me.

  • Minnow says:

    Let’s hope the “man who has to sit with his legs far apart to accommodate his big belly” doesn’t read what you have written. How dreadfully, dreadfully sneering and cruel.

    • fi says:

      What? I can’t say anonymously, that a man who isn’t identified or identifiable, is obese, even though he is? Just in case he, or somebody else who is obese, may read it and not like it brought to their attention that someone who they don’t know may not find obese people attractive?

  • Jane says:

    Sorry Minnow, don’t agree, for one thing Fi is entitled to her opinion. Why is it cruel if it’s the truth. For another, being grossly overweight is not an illness, it’s a life choice and can be changed, it’s also dangerous to your health.

  • Really interesting reading. (But a plea – could you do AP style and paragraph it? It’s impossible to read unbroken copy on an RSS feed.) LLGxx

    • The Plankton says:

      I am so sorry. My fault. I was cross that I hadn’t managed to post it in the house style. I shall ignorantly fiddle a bit and see if it can be done! Apologies. Px

    • The Plankton says:

      Many apologies: my fiddling about there means I have posted Fi’s guest blog twice. I tried to trash the earlier one, not in the usual house style, but all the great comments went with it, which I didn’t want, so I have restored this morning’s original AND posted the new (identical) one. So incompetent. Anyway, I hope that it explains my silly techi-anomaly today and that nobody minds!? Px

  • lulu says:

    A good post thank you. There’s that wonderful Serenity Prayer that says:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.

    –Reinhold Niebuhr

    Sorry to get a bit religous (and I’m not religious myself) but this is what life should be about : courage, acceptance, gratitude and hope … all things I strougle with daily!!

    I have learned (often the hard way) that ALL our decisions carry consequences, often far into the future. If we could only have known etc etc … we would have made different choices. But that is life, and we do have free will, and whilst we do not have choice over what happens to us, we always have choice about how we react.

    If anyone wants a truly inspirational read about having hope in the face of adversity and living a life with dignity and courage, read Viktor Frankl’s story of life in the concentration camps (Man’s Search for Meaning). Amazing. There endeth the sermon 🙂

    • fi says:

      I’ve had that book on my to read list for the last year but not done anything with it. I’m definitely going to read it now. Thanks

  • EmGee says:

    I will go back and read the comments on the previous version, but post here.

    Wonderful piece and I agree is that the first thing to do is accept that we are where we are because of choices we make. Some of us have harder ones to make than others’ do, but once we admit it, we can crawl out of the passive victim role and taking an active part in our own lives instead.

    I try not to indulge in the “what ifs’ myself. For one thing, it starts me spinning fantasies, and for two, any thinking that drags me into the unchangeable past, or leads me into the future’s unknown, is a huge waste of time. What matters is right now, right here.

    I’m not saying don’t make plans, don’t have high hopes for the future, etc, just be flexible in the present and see where it takes you. Giving up control like that can be scary, it can also be very freeing – imagine the energy you’ll save not having to control and manage every iota of you life every minute!

    I’ve made a choice to accept my bf as he is: he’s handsome, in good shape, is smart, extremely talented, witty, and generous with his time and money (when he has it to give). On the other hand, he has Asberger’s, he isn’t regularly employed, and wants to be free to come and go. At the moment he is out of town again for a few days. But he’s honest, he says he loves me, and he told me once that as long as he keeps some belongings here, he will always return. I choose to believe him, and not set any conditions for him on the relationship that he hasn’t set himself. And I won’t trouble myself with the ‘what ifs’.

    Thanks Fi, wonderful essay! 🙂

  • 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

    • Joules says:

      Dear Jo

      I understand entirely. Several years ago my sister was diagnosed with bowel cancer. That took precedence over everything. And we don’t know if it did influence her outcome but she is now cancer free beyond seven years, has two lovely children and enjoys every day she has. I made a few decisions that meant I was not able to do some things at work and put her ahead of that – in the end it did not affect my career that much and it made the world of difference to her. I would do it again in a heartbeat – so tell your friend good luck and good fighting. That is what it is but it is possible to win that fight.


    • fi says:

      Hi Jo. What a really great friend you are, and it does put into perspective some of the issues that some of the people go on about here, which are really minor in the scheme of things. I too have had 2 friends diagnosed with breast cancer, both all clear after 5 years, oh and just remembered a third who is more than 10 years clear. Thanks for all your lovely comments to me here, and I look forward to you coming back when you’ve got more time or want to chat. Although it seems scary at the moment, once the shock subsides you’ll probably find there is time for you to do things that are important to you so don’t neglect yourself either and don’t feel guilty about making time for you. Best wishes and hope to see you back, don’t be hard on yourself, and remember what a nice friend you are to have 🙂

    • Margaux says:

      All the very best to you Jo . I will miss reading you but hope that you may come back from time to time ( unless P runs off into the sunset with Mr WhoeverHeTurnsOuttoBe )

      It is a sad fact that the Plankton years can also be the years that are tinged with illness. Who of us hasn’t known someone who has either beaten it or succumbed. May your friend be one of the lucky ones.

      All good wishes

  • fi0na says:

    Fi I really liked this post it was comforting, and it seems to have struck the right chord, with almost everyone liking it, and nobody offended (or only on account of the overweight). What I think was so engaging about it was that you included some of your life story, and took responsibility for your decisions along the way.

    So there was less tongue in cheek self deprecating humour, and more home truth than usual. I like it.

    BTW one of my internet dating experiences was a man such as you describe. He was lovely in every other way. Wittty, had a PhD, and had raised a child from la baby on his own. I do somehow regret rejecting a second date with him because he was morbidly obese, but I couldn’t go there.

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