experiences, not things

If you asked me to list the things in my life that I've purchased that have brought me true happiness, I wouldn't be able to come up with much.  My cameras, for sure, immediately come to mind.  But really, not much else.  (I do own a pair of bracelets I wear every day that make me happy, but they were a gift from my grandmother when I was a teenager, so since I didn't actually buy them myself, they don't count.)  

However, if you were to ask me to list experiences I've purchased in my life that thrilled me, the list is longer:

•  Learning how to SCUBA dive.

•  Taking that dive card, and using it on solo trip to Cayman Islands back when I was single.  I went all by myself for 5 days, with nothing but my SCUBA gear and a stack of books.  Fantastic.

•  Our wedding, and our honeymoon.  Wonderful time, wonderful memories.

•  Hot air ballooning.

•  Attending plays, or various music or spoken word performances over the years.

And that's just for starters.

The truth is that buying or owning high end or name brand stuff has never been something that has turned me on -- honestly, I'm pretty tight with my money.  Tight, that is, until we're talking about spending it on an experience with people I love -- then you don't have to try too hard to convince me to part with my cash.  As it turns out, that there's some logic to this:  science suggests that spending money on experiences will bring you more happiness than spending it on things.  The theory, as I understand it, is that because the thing you purchase is ever-present, you just get used to having it around -- once you get over the initial rush of the purchase, its existence in your life becomes no big deal.  An experience, on the other hand, is more transient, is therefore viewed as more meaningful.

This makes sense to me.  But I think it also has something to do with curating your life, as well:  in essence, I suspect adding moments of happiness are more life-giving that simply adding things of happy.  


What do you think?

(More research on why money is better spent on experiences, rather than things, here.)


Song:  Lights, music, stars by Just A Band