FISE: The Case for the Environmental Hobbyist
June 16, 2020
FISE: Financially Independent Save the Earth. Dr. Plastic Picker
FISC: Financially Independent Serve the Country. Brother-in-law Navy Academy Graduate actively serving his country.
FIBS: Financially Independent Building Stuff. Older brother now doing a lot of carpentry.
FICL: Financially Independent Crafting Love. Younger Ivy-League trained younger sister crafting love in all her spare time.
FILP: Financially Independent Loves his Parents. Mr. Plastic Picker keeps on working as a financial cushion in case his parents need anything.
I was approached by part of a well know FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) blog team about including Dr. Plastic Picker into a multi-blog user app. It’s one of the well known FIRE bloggers I follow occassionally who is like the Oprah of Personal Finance Bloggers https://drplasticpicker.com/blogroll/. That blog has a devout readership of millions of people, but they are kind of scary and judgy. But in all seriousness, I appreciate the personality behind the blog and the environmentalism that informs his writing. I believe that blog is a force of good in the world. I give credit where credit is due, and for me that blog was one of several that I have admired. I was approached by individuals affiliated with his blog that are trying to spread exposure to his blog through an app, and of course they will make some sort of money off it either through ads or something.
I posted on my personal facebook about my dilemna as to whether I should look into it. I received helpful tips from high school friends who are successful business owners. I am on vacation but still always on the phone helping put out little fires at work, and I mentioned it off-hand to some of my work-friends. I discussed it with our two tween/teen children and Mr. Plastic Picker. I discussed it with my sister, who was in a very similar situation when she was taking a break from being an attorney and became quickly an internationally recognized scrapbooker and featured in 10 magazines with her designs and invited onto multiple design teams. She was only paid in complimentary scrap booking supplies, and her hobby no longer was fun. She went back to being an attorney and now continues to craft for joy.
In the end, I said no to the multi-user App and the siren call of internet fame. It was fun to think about the potential millions of possible readers. I have written before that I am trying to spread “a good contagion” of being an environmental hobbyist https://drplasticpicker.com/behaviors-are-contagious-i-am-trying-to-spread-a-good-contagion/. As a pediatrician I realize I have a lot of influence in the world https://drplasticpicker.com/pediatricians-the-hand-that-rocks-the-cradle-rules-the-world/. I felt very touched that someone from that famous FIRE blog read some of my posts despite the embarassing number of grammatical errors which I’m continuously correcting. I replied back “Thank you for your kind offer, and thank you for stopping by my blog. It actually means a lot to me that someone from XXX stopped by and read some of it. I admire the environmental activism that informs XXX. After some thought, I will have to decline. In the end it’s too personal and a passion project for me, and I’d like to keep it small. But thanks for definitely making my day, and thank you for everything you do for the environment! Sincerely XX aka Dr. Plastic Picker.”
I said no because much of this blog is about how Mr. Plastic Picker and I attained financial independence because of the lessons we were taught by our parents. Our parents other than helping with partial college costs, never gave us money. They gave us values that have been our guides through life and taught us the inherent value of work. And that is why my siblings and I have all been able to choose our passions now and we are all financially independent and could all retire right now. When we were young we worked for the family business helping enter in tax forms sometimes until 2am in the morning during the height of tax season. I worked at my uncle’s Chinese All You Can Eat Buffet the summers during Junior High, keeping the buffet and the tables clean, and he would pay me $30 for an entire day of work. We cleaned empty apartments when tenants moved out, when my father was building up his real estate business. I was never able to do soccer or sports during my early years. By the time I was in high school, our family business was doing well enough that my dad didn’t need us to work as much. So instead I began doing science research programs and in addition to carrying a full load of AP classes and graduating valedictorian of my large competitive public school, graduating with the highest scores in the International Baccalureate exams ever at my high school, I also traveled most afternoons to the local university to work at several research labs. It was semi-interesting but I did it because I knew it would get me into college. And then I went off to college at 17, and have been either in school, residency training, pregnant/lactating, or back at work now in my mid-40s climbing up the very short middle-management HMO ladder.
And I still work. I work full time as an Assistant Boss in my department, carrying for 2000 children. I am a devoted wife and I live harmoniously with my parents-in-law (which is the biggest accomplishment in my life). And for fun I blog, I pick up trash, and I advocate for the environment as part of my hobby. My siblings are the same. My brother has worked his whole life for the family company, and went to UCLA and came home to again take care of his family and the family business. And now is the first time he is doing something just for himself. And he is building beautiful furniture. My sister also other than being an amazing lawyer does the most amazing crafts for her entire Girl Scout Troop, her school, the sailors on her husband’s ship and for everyone who touches her heart. In brief, both Mr. Plastic Picker and I had amazing parents who taught all of us to have passion and work. And even when we are financially independent, we and all our siblings still cannot stop working.
But as I was texting my older brother and sharing my trash art and he was sharing with me some of his projects, I remembered our childhood. We used to sit for long hours on school nights together working for my dad when we were kids. My older brother who was in middle school would input the data into the accounting program. My job while still in elementary school was to check the accuracy of the data. The rest of the kids our ages were at sports practice, friends’ birthday parties or watching TV. All we did was study and work, but we worked together as a family. And my older brother told me regarding my new found love of writing “yeah don’t do it for money.” Mr. Plastic Picker also told me that if I monetized the blog it would take the joy out of it. In the end, the blog readership are my high school friends, my patients, many in my community, and Instgram fellow environmental activists that we’ve built real connections with.
As a pediatrician I’m overly protective of my patients and my own children. I never let anyone cover my patient inbox unless I’m out of town, and even then it’s only ever two people that I trust with my patients. I’ve come in during my off hours to see that special patient that has more detailed care to make sure it was done right. My two children have only ever been in the care of Mr. Plastic Picker and myself, or his parents or rarely other family members. Even our bunnies are only every cared for by the House Bunny Society that we adopted them from. So that is why I said no. This blog is for fun and it’s a project for the family, and it’s my baby and I won’t let anyone touch it. And below is a quilt that my busy attorney sister made for the shear joy of it, and it’s for me – her sister. And this blog is for the ones I love as well.
And thank you for sharing in this journey as I flirted with internet flame. Mr. Plastic Picker was very jealous that another blog approached me. In the end, I’m a one-blog woman as I am a one-husband woman. Isn’t it funny that all of my siblings married the first person they dated? Yeah, we are so weird. It makes life simple! Signing off your local Plastic Picking Pediatrician who is trying to throw a vegan pizza party at work and also finish a Pediatric Quality Presentation while still on vacation. Yes, because that is the nature of middle management. At least I had a fun hour blogging. It’s 612AM and I’m off to pick up a bag of litter. Or maybe I should plog (which is jogging and picking up trash) since there is going to be pizza this afternoon?