Looking For Coins
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
"Like a child staring up at a sky of a billion stars, may you never let go of that childlike wonder, for that is exactly how you were created to look up at your Father." -Unknown
When I was little, I used to walk everywhere with my head down. Not because I was sad, overly shy or afraid of eye contact, but because for me, the world at my feet was more intriguing than the one at eye level. Instead of looking up, I used to scan the concrete streets and sidewalks looking for quarters and pennies because I liked the idea that I could find little treasures where most people didn’t bother to search for them. The funny thing is, I clearly remember coming home each time with my pockets full of change after running errands with my mom.
This might seem like a silly memory to recall, but as I walked through the city of Auckland the other day, I passed a girl- roughly my age- walking with her head down. She didn’t look sad like you might imagine that phrase to be interpreted, she just looked indifferent. Like she didn’t feel the need to face the chaotic world around her, but instead, was completely content with only having to interact with it through the placement of her feet on the sidewalk beneath her. Not only did she remind me of the little girl I once was, but she made me realize something else too. That I was walking with my head up.
That sounds like an odd thing to notice considering that you should always ‘walk with your head up,’ but reflecting on the person I was before this trip, I realize that there have been many times in my life where I have caught myself looking away at a stranger’s glance or staring at the ground in an attempt to disengage from a situation. Truthfully, I have walked most of my life with my head down- and not just while looking for coins. But here’s the thing I've recently come to fruition with: when you look down or away, you miss out on the world around you and likewise, the world misses out on you.
We were given two eyes for a reason- to see. But to merely see something is not the same thing as to experience it. Just like how knowing what something is, is not the same thing as feeling it. If you choose to walk with your head down, you choose not to see the life unfolding in front of you and therefore choose not to experience it fully. If you don't look up, how can you say you lived your life? If you don't look up, how can other people see the real you? There's a beautiful quote I stumbled upon once that said something like this (give or take a few words):
"When you reach the top of the mountain and look out in awe at the beauty of the world around you, I hope you know that the world is looking right back and admiring you."
I think that if you live your life this way, believing that not only are you lucky to have the world to admire, but that you (this includes everyone) are also admirable to the world, you will never walk another day with your head down. I think that if you live your life feeling like you're worthy enough to make eye contact with the world, you will see things you may have otherwise missed and even more than that, the world will never overlook you.
To walk confidently down the street in an unfamiliar city is like being the first to give the speech in the room- it's the quiet courage that people wish they could have more of. That everyday, not-always-noticed bravery of showing up and letting the world stare you in the eyes. When I realized this amazing and yet completely ordinary thing: that I was walking with my head up- I couldn't help but smile because it was such a humbling moment for me; a small victory. I no longer shy away from the world in front of me, but confidently and purposefully embrace it. I have my new home to thank for this. Here, there isn’t time to look down or disconnect from the world because I'm so caught up in the spaces and experiences around me- so much so that I can't look away.
While looking for coins can be rewarding and bring you a few extra dollars here and there, I will tell you a secret. Look up… the world is a bank.