It’s rare that I drink soda, but my husband usually keeps those mini Coca-Cola cans in the refrigerator somewhere. I needed a caffeine boost, so I pulled an 8oz can out of the plastic ring.
Suddenly I had a flashback to me, 10 years old. My sister and I saw some educational commercial on Nickelodeon that explained how you can help save the Earth by cutting those plastic rings that hold together soda cans before you throw them away. Then the commercial flashed to a sad looking duck who was being strangled by the plastic ring as it was caught tightly around its skinny neck like a noose.
The following week, my sister and I were so excited to take a scissor and cut each round circle of plastic that held together the six pack of soda that we rarely received as kids. We were doing our part. We were helping save the Earth.
Fast forward to present day. I drank my soda and it was time to throw away that plastic. I did not even think twice. I threw away the plastic without cutting each ring.
How does this happen? So I grow up. I continue school. Go to college. Work. Go back to school for a Master’s Degree. But I forget the lesson I learned 17 years prior. I just killed a poor, helpless duck.
When I was 10, I thought I could change the world with that one single action. 17 years later I am not so naive. Yes, I still believe I can help make the world a better place. But what’s the point in cutting some stupid plastic that likely will not even be thrown near a body of water? And do I want to make that extra effort of finding the kitchen scissors just for the very minute chance I could save a duck?
I reflect on this story because maybe we all have to go back and remember our bold and perhaps naive attempts to save the world as kids. Maybe we should still get excited about simple tasks like cutting plastic soda rings, and recycling bottles.
If nothing, maybe these small actions will just make us feel a little better about ourselves for the rest of the day. Make us smile. I know that I was on top of the world that day when me and my sister got to save the Earth.
So what will you do?
I'm Kim. I like to work hard but not enough to stop having fun and enjoying life. I hope I never stop learning and exploring. Other people inspire me to be and do better every day. Read on for reflections on work and play.