Fandango’s Provocative Question #146

I have to admit, I have not wondered about where my fish is swimming in years. Since I am, after all, a Pisces, I am definitely swimming. I don’t know where, but somewhere, I am all wet. With each passing year of life, the size of the pond in which I might be swimming feels less relevant.

In your opinion, is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? Or perhaps a big fish in a big pond? Why do you feel that way?

I’m pretty none of this matters after you retire. I noticed a difference in markets between working in Israel and the U.S. My profession was tiny in Israel and I was at the top, but when I came back to the U.S., I was surprised if anyone recognized me.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – He’s catching a fish. Big fish? Little fish? Old boot?

In the long run, it also didn’t matter much personally or professionally. Maybe if you are working in a profession in which you actually have “face recognition.” Television, movies, stage, or music. Any kind of performance.

For me, it wasn’t meaningful. I had samples of my work and that got me more work. Eventually, though, we are all edible fish and no one is indispensable. No matter how much effort, time, and creativity you’ve devoted to your profession, there will come a day when you retire — by choice or otherwise.

From the moment of retirement on, any fame you had slips away. True for Garry, meaningless for me. He is still recognized. There are a fair number of people who are sure he is still on the news even though he has been retired for more than 20 years. They are POSITIVE they saw him yesterday on television and nothing he says dissuades them.

No one recognizes me unless they were a friend or family member, so the “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” thing doesn’t happen to me. To be fair, I never wanted public recognition. I’m not a performer and suffer from an insane degree of stage fright — except for public speaking with which I don’t have a problem. Don’t ask me why because I really have no idea.

Garry at PBS interview in October

When you aren’t working anymore, the game changes. Completely. You are officially unimportant except to family and friends and maybe a few people in your blogging community.

Small pond, big fish? Big fish, tiny pond? No pond at all and trying to walk on your fins? Does it matter? By the time you have trod the long road into your mid 70s, you’re glad you can still walk that road or swim in the pond. What size fish you are doesn’t much matter, but being alive and alert always matters.

Isn’t it great that something really does matter? Even if you are a minnow in the ocean?

Did you know at age 95, Mel Brooks is FINALLY making “History of the World, Part II” as a mini-series on Hulu? Finally we get to see: “JEWS IN SPACE!”

Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Blackstone River, Photography, Provocative Questions, Retirement, Word Prompt, Work

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. You’re right. Things change once you retire. My “pond” became much smaller. And with COVID, it shrunk even more. I’m the same size as I always was, but since my pond is way smaller then it used to be when I was working, it makes me appear to be a much bigger fish than I actually am…or ever was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t trade my wee little pond for anything bigger if it meant going to work. I am SO done with work! We do look bigger in our greatly reduced personal retirement lives, but that’s okay. I wasn’t a star anyway. Garry was, be he seems to be coping pretty well 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Interesting. I guess I was a medium big fish in a semi-big market. During my prime, I was a BIG fish. In retirement, I am a previously frozen fish, reduced sale price.


  2. Very wise words Marilyn.

    Liked by 2 people

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Tish Farrell

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