I saw an article on facebook that piqued my curiosity. The tag line suggested that science says it’s good to spend all your money on travel. Seriously? i have scientific backing now? Fist pump. While the title was simplistic and fairly over generalized, the gist of the article was pretty great. Put your money, effort, time into “experiences” rather than “things”. For psychologically studied reasons. Things don’t bring us happiness. We all know that. But it got the wheels turning…
Don’t we love the initial excitement of getting something new? You bet…but then us humans kinda ruin it with this thing called adaptation. We get used to it. And then, well, we start looking for something else to get us excited once again. On the flip side “Happiness that stems from things we’ve done actually goes up as time passes because those experiences become a part of us and shape our identity.” YES!
I started to think about memories stood out to me. Indeed it is experiences that came to mind. One was a trip i took to LA as a teen. It was a missions trip where we went to serve underprivileged children in the Watts area . It was the first time i was out of the shelter of my parents and way beyond my comfort zone. My memory is terrible on a good day but i remember this trip with unusual clarity. The little boy who was breakdancing in the parking lot for us….the hot sweaty costumes we wore for the day camp skits we put on…the delight of the kids when they saw us in our costumes…. not being able to sleep and hearing the rats scurry in droves in the ceiling and walls around me. That trip opened my eyes. Big time.
On a smaller scale, things as simple as our bike rides this summer have formulated some pretty
funny interesting adventures together with the kids. Hey, i’m not always on point with my bike riding slash starbucks in hand skills.
So here’s the challenge…what part can i play in placing a bigger emphasis on experience rather than things in our home? Thankfully, there are no parameters… it starts with simply being more purposeful: get out for a hike with a friend, have fun in your own city (here’s a guide to my idea of a perfect day in Vancouver), host a fun interactive dinner with friends/family (like this idea).
And what experiences can you work towards? Travel, of course, is a huge one… there is no way to understand on just how tiny a slice of earth that we live, than to travel abroad and experience other cultures, foods, people. We ventured on a trip to Thailand when our kids were 9, 7 and 4. And while that was already 6 years ago, our kids still talk about the food, the overwhelmingly kind people we met, the crazy “tuk tuk” ride we survived, and the stark contrast between the privileged and the underprivileged. That was a big one. When you venture out and see that many live with different freedoms and norms and living conditions, you can’t help but come home with a broader vision of the world than before.
i’m not suggesting you unsubscribe from getting those JCrew updates..i love getting them as much as you do! i’m preaching to the choir! Balance, right? Finding the balance.
And here’s my own little piece of advice…commemorate your experiences. Don’t leave the photos on your screen. Enjoy them in physical form. I know that there’s a myriad of different publishing sites, but my all time favourite is Artifact Uprising. Ok, i’ve just talked about less “things”, but photos tell a story…and allow others to share in your story. This fall, i’m going to work on compiling my photos into books.
What are some life shaping experiences you can recount? I’d love to gather some new ideas and be a resource for each other!