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How To Feel Alive

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In the grand lexicon of human life, ‘currency’ is a term that most often conjures up images of money or material wealth. However, as I deepen my understanding of the concept, I am coming to realize that there exists a different kind of currency, something far more personal and profound. This unique currency, my personal currency, holds more sway over my actions and choices than anything else. And it is how I feel alive.

I see this personal currency as the embodiment of my core values. It is what I cherish, it is the commodity with which I engage in the give-and-take of life. It's not just about possessing it, but about believing in its worth, both as something I can offer and as something I can receive.

For me, my personal currency is inspiration.

Inspiration is something I continually seek and cherish. It motivates my choices and destinations. Take, for instance, my spontaneous move to Portugal two years ago; the change of place, the discomfort of not knowing a single person and the challenge of starting again in many ways all inspired me. I've learned that my surroundings deeply influence my sense of inspiration.

The bonds I hold closest are with those who inspire me, each in their unique way. Some inspire me through the generosity of their spirit, others through their encouragement, and still others by being true to who they are, thereby unconsciously modeling qualities that I aspire to.

Recently, in a conversation with my mother, I divulged how inspiration fuels me. When she asked if she had ever inspired me, I could instantly cite two instances. Her dedication and stubbornness inspire me to stay committed to my choices.

When I consider tasks that linger unchecked on my to-do list, unread emails that have piled up over weeks, or even the stretches that I avoid despite knowing they're beneficial, I realize the common thread - none of these inspire me. They feel burdensome rather than motivating. I find no personal currency to trade in these scenarios.

A recent chat with a close friend led us to explore this concept of personal currency. As I unveiled my own, I saw him reflecting on his unique currency. He identified his as connection. He thrives on a sense of connection with the people around him, his environment, and his work. It resonated deeply with me - connection indeed seemed to be his personal currency.

I perceive my father's currency to be curiosity. We watched a documentary recently, and I found his engagement with the film as captivating as the documentary itself. He loves delving into people's stories, asking questions, and contemplating new ideas. Curiosity seems to be his life's fuel.

My mother, I believe, trades in the currency of learning. Her endless inquiries about smartphone apps, file management, or just random topics she stumbles upon online all point to her innate desire for knowledge. Learning, it seems, is her driving force.

Creativity, I feel, is the currency for my brother-in-law. His joy and sense of fulfillment in expressing creativity, whether behind the lens, in front of a screen, with a paintbrush or in the kitchen, is palpable and inspiring.

For my sister, fairness is her currency. She thrives on justice, equity, and balance, for herself and, more importantly, for others. Her disquiet at perceived unfairness is palpable, and unlike my attempts to rationalize, she can't just let it be. Her fervor amplifies in the face of fairness or the lack thereof.

My personal currency of inspiration serves as my compass, guiding me through major and minor life decisions. It helps me understand my attraction to certain places, people, and ideas and my aversion to others.

When I am trading in my currency, I feel most alive, most authentic, and most aligned with my intrinsic nature and energy. Its value surpasses that of money for me. It is, after all, my personal currency in life.

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