How Do You Account for Your Worth? – Dr. Plastic Picker

How Do You Account for Your Worth?

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My favorite piece that was already sold.

April 8, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 528am and our daughter has returned from her epic-once-in-a-lifetime school trip. So far no COVID. I had a fleeting sore throat and it’s gone now. My teenage son and I also took a rapid home covid test, which were both negative. It’s a Friday and it’s payday, and this is when I usually do the accounting for the family and the impact I’ve had on the earth.

But this morning and this week, I am absolutely emotionally exhausted. It’s a good type of exhaustion because this week is the culmination of two years of work on this “small youth art project” that has become probably the most impactful thing I’ve done since I committed myself to climate work. And indeed, this was all about the children’s art and raising awareness and changing hearts.

I’m tired. I slept and did not binge watch any Korean dramas yesterday. I’m giving myself permission to be a bit tired, and not to do my usual accounting for the month. I picked up 18 bags of trash this month, short 2 bags from my goal of 20 bags. In total I’ve gathered 661 bags of ocean plastic pollution and salvaged 1898 things from landfill on my litter picking trips .

Two of the youth art pieces from the show #weborrowtheearthfromourchildren have already been sold. Already the children have now generated enough donations to plant 30,000 trees in the Chitwan Forest in Nepal through Eden Reforestation Projects. After the show runs this month, we’ll send a summary letter to the children to let them know what an impact they had. When we started all of this, I had no idea. I had no idea what an impact it would have on the community, the children, the national coversation and myself.

My gaze keeps on turning back to the image above. It’s beautiful and it’s sad. It’s thought-provoking. And each of those images are. I have no concerns. I know each image will be sold. Someone will buy the images on behalf of a child, and the children will know that they did something remarkable by helping to reforest an area that is connected to us. They will have an impact.

And I know today that I can give myself a break and not do the accounting right away. I’ve picked up bags of trash. I’ve salvaged items. I’ve donated money. I’ve saved acreages of nature. Our family has helped perserve over a million trees through targeted donations. But today I don’t need to account for my worth. I’m giving myself permission to just love myself.

Filling myself up, means giving of these funny beets – and one to a friend from the AAP along with some lemons and parsley. Filling up means giving myself permission to go on an airplane for the first time in a long time, to visit our family home in Hawaii. A few more days and I’ll be on digital silence and just be within myself and within our family. I’m so proud of our son especially for all the work that he put into this. I’m proud of the other pediatricians and especially Dr. C. And I’m proud of me. But I need to turn it off for the week, while the world wanders into The Studio Door – I need to retreat emotionally. Let them be inspired by the images. Let the exhibition do what it is meant to do.

Dear readers. Know that you fill me up. Thank you for being you. Thank you for the kumquats, the Starbucks, the messages and the joy. Know that you help me keep on going and it’s for our children that I do this. Whatever happens in this existential struggle, we will be able to turn to our children and grandchildren and know that we did everything we could to bend the arc toward a sustainable future.

Beets from our crazy garden.
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