[Listen to me read this reflection here, if you prefer audio]
The term currency is used most often to describe money, however there is a far more valuable, and more personal, relationship that I am developing with the term.
What I am discovering is that, unlike the currency used to trade money, I have my own currency in life, unique to me, as do you, also unique. This currency carries more influence than money on what I do, and also what I avoid.
My currency in life is what I find value in. I trade with it. And to be able to trade with it, I believe that I both have it to give, and that it exists out there, for me to receive.
My currency in life is inspiration.
Inspiration is what I love to receive, and actively seek out.
For example, when I moved to New York, I was drawn to the city as it inspired me in a special way. Wherever I move to next, I know it will be a place that inspires me. I have come to learn that it is important to me that I feel inspired by my physical space.
The people that I feel the closest to also inspire me, in their own unique ways. Some inspire me by sharing themselves with me. Others inspire me by encouraging me to do what I clearly want to do. And others inspire me by simply being themselves, unconsciously modelling qualities and traits that I wish to cultivate in myself.
I shared with my mom that inspiration is what makes me tick, and she innocently asked if she has inspired me in any way. I shared two examples immediately. First, her work ethic and desire to be productive has definitely inspired me to similarly work hard. Second, while mostly living at home over the past year, I have also been inspired at times about what not to do.
When I think about the many items that have overstayed their welcome on my to do list, or the emails that I have not responded to in weeks, or the stretches that I know are good for my tight shoulders but avoid, I see clearly that I am not inspired by any of these. They feel effortful to me. I do not have any currency to trade in here.
I saw a close friend recently, and we got talking about this idea of having a currency to trade in throughout life. As I shared more about my currency, I sensed his mind starting to reflect about what his currency might be, similar to your current experience as you read my writing right now.
He shared that his currency is connection. He is most alive when he feels connected to the people in his presence, connected to the place that he is living in and connected to the work that he is currently responsible for. I told him that I could not agree more that connection is his currency in life.
For my father, I believe his currency is curiosity. Earlier, we watched a documentary about how the planet has changed during the pandemic. Watching my father watch the documentary was as interesting for me as the documentary itself. He loved every moment of it. He is constantly curious about other people’s stories, is always asking me questions and often exploring new ideas out loud. He loves to be curious.
For my mother, I believe her currency is learning. She is always asking me questions about how to use different apps on her phone and how to better manage files and photos on her laptop. She is always browsing the internet, reading about random topics and often sharing with us what she discovers and is learning about. She is fueled by learning.
For my brother-in-law, I believe his curiosity is creativity. Whether behind the camera, in front of the screen, with a paintbrush, or even in the kitchen, I can see that he is happiest when he has the space and freedom to express his creativity. It inspires me to see how creative he can be. I can never guess what he is going to create next.
For my sister, I believe her currency is fairness. She is at peace when there is justice, equity and balance. Be it for her, or more importantly, for others. She is also disheartened when there is a lack of fairness that she witnesses, or even experiences, unfortunately. Where I may try to make sense of it with an intellectual response, she does not let it go. Her passion only grows when there is, or is not, fairness.
And for my newborn nephew, I suspect I have yet to discover his currency, however if I had to guess, it would be joy. The other day, I went to see him wake up and the joy on his face upon seeing a familiar face was truly priceless. His smile, sounds and energy said it all. I have also witnessed when he is not experiencing joy, as he is not shy to let his parents know, immediately and loudly.
My currency in life is a north star. It is a compass to help me navigate through the big and small decisions in life. It helps me understand why I am drawn to certain places, people and ideas, and why I avoid others.
When I am trading in my currency, I am most alive, most myself and most in alignment with my natural state and energy. It is more valuable to me than money.