What Timebanking Teaches Us about Life

By Grace Maselli


Be nimble, be curious. Be an omnivorous learner and connect to your community. This is what timebanking can teach us about the the wonders, vagaries and, yes, even the mysteries of life—because you never know what’s going to get lobbed in your quadrant of the court. Or someone else’s, beckoning you to offer a helping hand that gives someone a sense of oomph, connection, a warm feeling in the belly. Or when it’s time to reach out to your fellow timebankers for a reciprocal helping hand-a-roonie.

Why Be Nimble?

Because life is about constant change. Dear reader, you’ve heard it before, but if honesty is indeed the best policy, there’s a resistance to change among our species that can’t be ignored. Timebanking is the antidote to resistance because it begs for outreach and responsiveness to fellow timebankers. It calls for action. Clarity. Awareness of change and an agile approach to address tasks at hand. Whether that means weeding a garden or tooling around in a car with a companion, as one TBT timebanker offers in her profile. Share errands, gas, and a good talk.

Curiosity is happily reinforced by timebanking. You never know who you’ll meet right in your own weed-laden backyard. It’s this very spirit of community and inquiry that spurred timebank founder Edgar Cahn. Edgar’s timebank “invention” speaks directly to the concepts of change and need, resource sharing, and combining energy for optimal, super-charged effect.

Be omnivorous and inquiverous (the latter, this writer’s neologism blending inquisitiveness with a veracious appetite for sharing your best skills with the community.) Be open as a timebanker. Changes in relationships, jobs, geo locations, appetites, death of a companion. You name it, and life brings it into the present moment. Either accept that change is implicit in this human experience, or dig in and resist. Mr. Cahn is about accepting life and joining together.

Now and again, we all need a helping hand (sometimes, even a prosthetic one) to make another person’s life easier, to instill a sense of agency and competency.  It’s all tied to timebanking. So which member might be the one to help you over the hump?