If You Have To Spend, Spend It On Experiences

“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

This article from Forbes was originally posted in 2016, but the message behind it is truer than ever.  It’s an article that’s near and dear to me, because with a little one, my wife and I have always been proponents of that if we were going to spoil her, it was going to be by giving her experiences and memories that she’ll cherish forever.  Yes, it’s great to let them be kids as well with the occasional toy every now and then, but the hope is that she’ll always look back on our time together, something she’ll treasure the most.

I know for me growing up, I was certainly fortunate to have great toys, and the like, but I’ll always remember the trips with my family, and those experiences.  Heck, I still remember to this day my first time seeing The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theater in Toronto.  Or the times spent around bonfires during the summer, making snow forts in the winter, the list could go on and on. 

I highly encourage you to read the original post, but the main takeaways are that experiences become part of our identity – we are not our possessions, but actually an accumulation of everything that we have seen, the things we have done and the places we have been. 

Also, comparisons don’t matter quite as much when it comes to experiences.  Anticipation also matters.  The study mentioned in the post found that anticipation of an experience caused excitement and enjoyment, while anticipation of obtaining a possession can cause impatience and perhaps even stress. 

Finally – and this was what hit home with me – is experiences can be fleeting (a good thing).  The fact that experiences tend to last for a short time, is what leads us to value them so much.  In return, that value will only tend to increase over time. 

So this weekend, I would invite you to live in the moment, and treasure any experiences.  With that though, what have been some of your favorite experiences that you have purchased?  Did it create memories?  I would love to hear about them in the comments below!