Yesterday, it was my bathroom vanity. It started as a simple search for an extra button. You know the ones. They come attached to a sweater and you think you'll never need it, but can't quite justify throwing it out. SO instead you throw it in a drawer. Yeah. That kind.
In the midst of that hunt, I unearthed treasure.
We get back from trips all jet-lagged and travel-weary. With those precious hours between entering the house and heading to the office, we prioritize sleep above organization. We prioritize sleep above all else. The laundry gets sorted, we unload the essentials out of our luggage and pitch the toiletries bag under the sink for next time - often will all kinds of odds and ends still in there.
Excavating beneath layers of hotel shampoo bottles and quart sized plastic bags there it was... loose change. As I started collecting it, I found remnants from not one trip, but several. And in a fit of like-things-must-be-together, I went hunting in all the usual spots where change accumulates.
I found 11 currencies - not including our own.
We humans become accustomed to the way our own coins and currency feel, look. We attach value to those shapes and sizes. We understand the system. We can easily make sense from a pocketful of the familiar.
I spent so many years in retail and have counted out so many coins, I think I can do it in my sleep. I feel accomplished and comfortable adding and subtracting the familiar.
But there was a day that I stood at the corner market in Nottingham, hoping to buy just a few items. The clerk gave me the total and I pulled out a handful of change. I was so disoriented with the different shapes and sizes, I plopped the whole lot of it on the counter like a child buying candy.
~ Here's all the money I have plus a few bits of lint. How much will it buy me? ~
It was embarrassing. It's not like I was dealing with yen or rubles. It's was England! But there I was with a handful of new. The colors were different. The textures were different. The weights were different. The clerk gave me a withering look and counted out the appropriate pence and pounds.
A handful of change from a different country feels unfamiliar. It's not our norm. Holding those coins gives you the very real sense that you have departed from your ordinary.
Change. New. Different. Sometimes uncomfortable. Often disorienting. Change feels unfamiliar.
If we are to step out of our ordinary and into a new reality, we must embrace change. We must learn new colors and textures. Change isn't always shiny and fun, but there is always value in it.