JOY IS THE CURRENCY
Joy is the currency of choice. Habits, in many ways, get a bad rap. We often hear of the need to break a habit or to move away from its more sinister sibling; addiction. I bring this up because I have a habit, learned long ago, that germinated and blossomed during my time in college that I still take part in each day. That is the habit of looking at things, and life in the way some one like Socrates would. Literally, standing around, (or in our world, sipping coffee at Starbucks) discussing life, philosophy, current events and any and all things relevant to the particular topic we are discussing.
Its funny, how so much of what the professors tried to jam down my throat. I disagreed with that; however, one professor, (my favorite professor) who while lecturing on subject of the Supreme Court, taught me the process of discussing and learning from any and all who are around. Simply put, the method Socrates used as he walked among the marble structures of ancient Greece.
I bring this up because just a few days ago, I was speaking with someone about various topics and the subject of joy came up. It came up in this context, I was relaying a story about someone who recently had some good news come their way at work, and that while happy about it, they did not feel joy. I was surprised at the reaction of the person I was talking to, when they said, “Joy, in my opinion has little or no real currency.” I can not tell you how much I was shocked by this view, because I am shocked by very little these days. As a student of the method of Socrates, to me every view has merit for discussion, but not every view has the stature for implementation in my life.
I pondered this view during quite times at the gym or at home at night while reading. What is my real view on the topic of joy; does it truly have value or in other words, lasting currency?
To back track just a bit, I never understood the Stoics, or those that adhere to that philosophy. Clearly, I am not judging that way of life, but it is not a life style for me. I was born with emotions, and they are a vital part of me. In my opinion, to shut off my emotions in all aspects of my life, would be to shut off a part of me that I was born with. It would be like asking me to show up at some place, but leave my ribs at home. My emotions much like my ribs are a part of me. Now, that being said, I learned like most things in my life to modulate my emotions and look at them as just another variable in the make that is me.
We, as humans tend to play volleyball with words. They seem to start off with a specific meaning then take on a life of their own. Words like happiness, glee, contentment, and yes, joy, seem to end up in the “same broth” of our vocabulary as we move along in the world we live. But, I look at this jumble of words and meanings in the same way we may look at the world’s financial currency. All have value, but depending on where you are (the individual, or country) currency (Joy, Happiness, Euros or Dollars) may have very little value, or an extremely high value to your personal life.
A person walking the streets of New York, with a Euro in their hand, may not be able to make a purchase, because that currency, in the situation they are in, at that moment has little value to them. It may and in fact has value if they take a trip to Europe, but not if they want to make a purchase right then. To me, the concept of joy, works much in the same way. You may not be able to “cash it in” for anything other than a high five, or a happy cry, at a particular moment, but that real feeling of Joy, can be cashed in down the road, when you need it most.
Are you Happy to receive praise for a job well done? Can you compare that to the joy you feel when your child reaches out to grab your hand and look into your eyes? Tell me, which of these do you cash in, when you are feeling overwhelmed or lost? The thoughts of others who said well done, or the look of love from your child who reaches out to hold your hand because you exist in their world.
That is the funny thing about joy, its currency many times manifests itself from you as the individual watching others do simple things. The joy you get from observing the way an elder you love, sits on the couch watching her or his family at a holiday gathering and is just soaking up the occasion. As, in the joy you get when you hear good news about a stranger going through a hard time. Tell me in your definition of the word joy, for those of you who are old enough to remember, was it not joy you felt when they rescued that little girl all those years ago, from that well? Do you not cash in that currency of joyful hope when you hear of others who are lost or need rescue?
In my view, joy has real currency and in fact unlike the dollar or other forms of barter currency, does not seem to fluctuate in value. The joy you felt as a child becomes a driving force in helping you find joy as an adult, and then that joy helps carry you into your later years.
The real secret and best part about the currency of joy, is that you are the banker. You decide how much joy to take in, or to withdraw. Fill your bank with joy where you will always be rich.
Written By: Darren Redmond
UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for our contributing authors. We do not claim credit; we simply want to make it more available to the general public. And, the opinions of the authors are not necessarily the opinion or stance of this website. Further, none of the views expressed here are shared from the prescribed vendors, advertisers, assigns, or affiliates.