Pay Attention to What’s Important First: Your Family, Yourself, Your Finances, and The Earth – Dr. Plastic Picker

Pay Attention to What’s Important First: Your Family, Yourself, Your Finances, and The Earth

| Posted in Our Tween/Teen

My daughter wrote this as we were processing recent things.

October 27, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m sitting here at 539am and I’m on drop-off duty this morning!!! I’m not usually asked to do drop-off because we have three adult drivers in our family. It’s kind of a competition in terms of who gets to drop off the two teenage children at their little bubble of a private school high school. Mr. Plastic Picker loves to drop-off when he can, and the next is my father-in-law, and I’m last. I think it’s mostly they want to share in the child-rearing tasks and they don’t necessarily trust my driving. But I haven’t gotten into a car accident since at least 20, and I drove all the way to LA for the first time in my middle-aged life last weekend! But old habits die hard, and they remember the Medical Student me who refused to drive in Boston/Cambridge.

So here I am in the morning excited about driving the kids to school, and trying to time things so I can dye my roots in the morning and do some important tasks and send some emails. I am reminded that the whole world needs to prioritize. I think this is one of the most underrated skills in the universe, and a skill I am very good at.

We have to prioritize! And that’s the problem with poor leadership. Leadership needs to prioritize or they start confusing everyone who is not in leadership and does not have the access to to the information leadership is given nor the time to process the information. When poor leaders fail to prioritize, then they need to own up to their complicity in causing the problems for whatever they are leading. That’s a whole other world I’ll leave to fester in it’s stink. This can be applied to many parts of our world right now.

As for my life where I am leading myself, my family, my finances, and my budget of $0 volunteer advocacy group that is trying to save the earth – I am prioritizing this morning. I am prioritizing by drinking matcha green tea soy latte, which makes me so happy and gives me a steady amount of caffeine without the highs and lows of coffee. I am paying my quarterly taxes in an orderly manner. I invested some money in a cool education start-up in a country that means a lot to me. We have a new possible renter to our downtown condo, and it will start cash-flowing again. I spent an extra three hours yesterday off the clock taking care of my own patients and my own results, because the patients right in front of me are really important and that is why I get my paycheck.

And I was trying to figure out love. I’m still confused and delighted and at times sad and happy about our recent family pseudo kdrama. I know this will be at least a decade in unfolding. But I realized something last night as I was tossing and turning and thinking about events, in that it’s okay to think about who your children will eventually love. It’s okay to talk to them about values and traits, and share stories. Guiding them is okay. In the end my daughter felt absolutely loved. I hope that the other protagonist felt that too. I honestly felt the universe guiding me to my actions. I could not explain it. I would not usually do what I did, and draw that much attention and be so persistent. But what is done is done and it’s now the 20th text message stream on my daughter’s phone. Pumpkins have been exchanged. Impressions have been made. And two children are moving on with their lives. And I’m honestly left with a sense of peace. In the end of the day, its true what everyone says. People always remember how you made them feel. And feeling loved and opening yourself up to another family that mirrors one’s values, I hope reaffirmed how important those values are.

I was talking to my mother-in-law yesterday morning and she comforted me with her words. It’s a simple word in Korean, and one she uses all the time. But for me it’s such a powerful word. 괜찮아요 It means it’s going to be okay.


I'm sitting here this morning with tears streaming down my face. For me parenting our youngest has been every day a reminder that there is goodness in the world. However you want to understand it, the hand of God, the hand of Buddha, the universe or the earth. And that Sunday as we were wandering around Balboa Park and she was processing emotions and holding my hand and restoring her sense of self, I questioned my parenting.  I questioned my common sense.  Other parents made me question it again. But my mother-in-law and my husband and my children reassured me, that it was okay and that I had made a good judgement.  

And with that reassurance, I'll go forth today and tuck my daughter back into her bubble. She has speech team competition coming up, and I'm excited to judge. She's helping her older brother weather some academic storms. She reminded me to get her eczema cream and take care of her skin. And I know when she wakes up, I'll get to look at her beautiful face with her profile and her smile. She'll worry about her skin and she'll wear her uniform.  And I'll get to keep her all to myself at least for another few years.  I didn't want to share anyway. But the amount of love and absolute goodness that radiates from this child, I almost can't understand how it's possible.  I know it's because of all the love that has been poured into her by her grandparents, her father, her brother, myself and the entire extended family.  When you're born so early and were so sick, and emerged as a healthy and bright and beautiful child - that is what happens.  And she wants to go forth to help the world. She understand that to those that much is given, much is expected.  And she can do it herself and does not necessarily need someone like her father to protect her.  And that's what I was looking for. Because the world is still scary for a young girl. 

But I'm reminded to live in the present and not to let the worries of tomorrow rob me of the beauty of today. She was asking already about internships for later on in high school, and worried about how safe it would be to be away from me.  I told her and I'll remind myself.  Let's enjoy you being a freshman. We have to figure out all your stuff this year before we worry about next. And how absolutely beautiful and surprising and challenging and memorable has freshman year been already.

Thank you for reading dear readers.  I'm going to dye my roots now and get my two teenagers off to their little bubble of a private school high school and see some patients. I have climate work to do as well, one patient of mine is going to be on a major morning news show regarding air pollution and asthma! Pays to be Dr. Plastic Picker's patient! Green hugs to everyone and I hope you have a sustainable day!
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