What Is Your Currency?

What Is Your Currency?

What do you want to offer to the world?

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Recently, I overheard a quote that detailed a different way of looking at the world.

Everyone has a personal currency they pay throughout their lives with their lives. It is entirely unique to other forms of payment - you have to decide what your currency will be, what you will give to the world. The decision is important, for with every exchange, every interaction, every conversation, you spend these pieces of your life and yourself, investing them into other people, other places, other experiences. You choose what you will barter with as well as what you will leave behind.

The originator of the quote decided that they wanted their currency to be kindness. Keeping it readily in mind, they spend their life trying their best to live in such a way that pays their currency to everyone around them.

Interesting thought, right?

Of course, it does beg a particularly important question.

If I am to choose the currency my life will pay, what do I want to offer to the world?

If my personal currency is kindness, I will endeavor to bring the people around me joy. I will strive to speak with neither empty flattery nor hostile accusation, choosing instead to go for a smile, willing to exhaust all funds and feelings for just one moment of another person's joy. If my personal currency is kindness, I will keep others in mind even when my patience has worn thin, when my heart just wants to curl up and ignore. I will learn how to prioritize people above the petty stressors in which my life so often wraps itself. Filled with the constant remembrance of my life's emotional finance, I will be able to look to life's positives and exude them towards those who might struggle to find those positives themselves.

Thus, I want to pay people in kindness.

If my personal currency is pride, I will think only of myself. I will go bankrupt shelling out currency I can't even afford to pay to make sure I am in good standing amongst others. I will distrust everyone - why trust a person who could, in any way, usurp my title as "decently capable human being in a couple of areas"? My currency will funnel from my fingertips solely towards interactions that could improve me. I'll waste funds, build upon my personal victories, waste funds, build upon my image, waste funds, build upon my grades, waste funds, build up my place in the supposed social hierarchy. I will see other people as simply side characters in the grand story that is my magnificent life. I will be filthy rich in self-deprecation and deeply poor in relationships.

Thus, I do not want to pay people in pride.

If my personal currency is courage, I will see no worthwhile challenge as being too expensive to attempt. I will buy out fear and purchase successes and failures alike, learning from each as best I can. I will strive to pay others with that courage, speaking my mind and heart with a decided honesty, praying they choose to do the same. I will pay others courage with the hope that they find in themselves the strength to try and use the courage I pay to buy a chance to believe in themselves, a chance to try. Others have offered me that gift, that currency, that chance. I'd relish the opportunity to offer it to someone else, if ever I am able.

Thus, I want to pay people in courage.

If my personal currency is anger, I will shove foul wealth into the pockets of strangers for no reason whatsoever. I'll bury their unique currencies with my own terrible vice, all but forcing them to pay that rage forward to others to continue the cycle. Loaded as anger would make me, I would use it to buy scowling looks, arguments with loved ones, tear-stained pillows, and desolate confusion at why I can't calm down. I would pay for fight after fight after fight until, currencies fully exhausted, I'd collapse, unconnected to those I love, unbalanced, unable to find the positives or offer a single ounce of joy to another person.

Thus, I do not want to pay people in anger.

If my personal currency is love, I can make every single interaction count. I can find the people I love, the people who love me. I can go all out, seek genuine connections. Love holds a hefty value - I will risk a lot of personal heartache and could end up losing big, but I will continue to love through every bit of it. It will be worth the risk, worth the fears, worth the rejections, worth the strain. Love is something to be treasured and shared. If my personal currency is love, I can let everyone and their respective currencies know how precious they are to the world in which they live.

Thus, I want to pay people in love.

Currencies of life are unique, multi-faceted, powerful, abundant. They tell a story of who a person is and where a person has been. For those piling up hatred, they might have been paid nothing but that from their very start. It might take time to pay them enough in positivity that they feel safe to use it themselves. We can't know other people's lives or stories. What we can know is our own. What we can do is make a choice, a choice to pay others in the best of what we have to offer.

So what will your currency be?

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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