The Currency We Spend Without Realising.

man at top of moutain
Living life on our own terms.

What is the most important currency that there is?

We all have this currency in our possession, but many, if not most of us, are spending it unknowingly.  This currency is spent by us every minute, every second of every day.

So what is this currency?  It is our life.  My life, your life.

This morning I was reading a book written by friends Brent and I made at the conference we went to in Canada.  Here is their website, and this is a video of theirs which we have watched literally dozens of times over the last few years.  They are an amazing and inspirational family.  Anyway, the book quotes a phrase that was originally said by Thoreau, and here it is:

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

And it really made me think.

Do I make it my practice to exchange my life, my days, hours, minutes and seconds, doing something I want to do?  Something I love?  Or something which has purpose?

Let me ask something; what is the cost of a house?  You might say, “well, it’s several hundred thousand dollars/pounds”.  And yes, it is.  But more than that, a mortgage costs you 40 years of your life.  That is the real cost.  Forty years of staying in a job that you may or may not like, working for a boss you may or may not like, in order to pay for the house which you need to live in, in order to be able to get to your job.

Is it worth it?

To after 40 years, own a house which you can’t take with you when you go, anyway?

I mean, yes, everybody does it.  But does that make it the best thing to do?  Or is it just the socially normal, expected thing to do?

Really, I’m not saying that everyone needs to travel to have a fulfilling life, I’m not.  But…are you in the life you are in because you consciously chose it?  Or is your life the way it is because you just drifted into it?

Conscious lifestyle design, or living deliberately, is about deciding for yourself what you do and don’t want in life.  It is about deciding what your values are, and what you will spend that precious currency of your days on, and then working towards those things.

We do not have a choice about whether we want to spend or save this currency.  It is being spent, every second of every day.  The choice we do have, is what we are going to spend it on.

Our life is essentially the sum total of our days. How we spend each day will determine how our life turns out.

Denning, Rachel. Living Deliberately: Your Guide to a Ridiculously Awesome Life

So what is it that you want?  Why not work towards it now, rather than thinking you’ll do it someday, when all the stars are in alignment or whatever.

As most people who read this know, as a family we move around a lot.  For me, traveling is not a purpose in and of itself.  I do not like being a perpetual tourist just for the sake of seeing stuff.  It is the same for Brent.  We need a reason to go to a place; a purpose.  And we have discovered that in all our meanderings.

And for us, life is about learning.  It is about taking on new projects, accomplishing what we set out to, and then finding something else to sink our teeth into, wherever that happens to be.  We like to start new businesses, or learn something totally new.  And once we’ve learned that thing and it becomes easy, we find something else to help us keep growing and expanding as people.

So what is it for you?

What are you currently exchanging the currency of your life for?  Do you like what you are exchanging it for?  Is there anything about your life you want to change?  Is there anything you are going to refuse to carry on exchanging your life for?

Big changes don’t happen instantly.  But the good thing is that big changes are made up of a whole heap of little changes.  And we can all manage little changes.

So why don’t you try this?

Write down what you’d like to do next (or even within the next few years), if there was nothing standing in your way.  I’m not talking about ditching spouses and kids here.  I am talking about a new project, a new something to learn, or a place to visit.  Maybe you want to improve the relationships you have in your life.  All of these things are totally doable, but they require planning and then action, one step at a time.

Check out my article on the importance of writing out your goals.

But please, make it a choice today, to stop spending the currency of your life on things that you hate, that don’t fulfil you, and that you don’t want.  Work out what you do want, and make a plan to get there.

When we wanted to emigrate to Australia, Brent needed a degree to earn him the required amount of points to qualify for permanent residence.  So he did the degree part time while working.  It took five years.  He could have decided that he didn’t want to do the degree because it would take so long, and five years later we would still have been sat there, wanting to emigrate, but no closer to our goal.

In fact, it took seven years in total, from the time we decided we wanted to emigrate, to the time we had the visas in our passports.  But it happened.

And it is the same for you.  Don’t not do something because it will take time.  Work towards it anyway, and you’ll achieve it.  It may take longer than you’d really like it to, but you’ll get there.  It’s totally doable.

The other thing to remember is that your choices don’t have to be permanent.

Brent and I don’t have to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives, or where we want to live for the rest of our days.  All we need to know is what we want to do next.

So what do you want to do, or learn next?

And why not start working towards it today?

Thanks for reading!

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See you next time!




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