I saw an excerpt from an article recently that found, based on research, that spending money on experiences makes us happier than spending money on things. There were many factors involved, but what I got from the article is that experiences and memories make us happier than things and the more I sat and thought about that I had to agree with that for my life. I tend to get nostalgic over memories of family trips, seeing a movie with family or friends for the first time, and/or big events from my childhood. Those things have stuck with me longer than the toys or other things I’ve gotten over the years.
While I do enjoy getting things, like clothes, shoes, home decor, electronics, etc. (don’t get me wrong, ya girl has a running list of “things I want to buy” and wishlists on several sites), I actually LIVE for an experience and that has become my new goal – to experience as much as I can while I’m alive.
The excitement over material things doesn’t last
…and that sucks! Have you ever been so hype to get something and then after you’ve gotten it and it’s settled in, the excitement is no longer there? It’s just another thing that you own. Ugh! I hate that! And then you’re on to the next thing and the excitement for that thing builds and it just becomes a cycle. I’ve just come to realize that excitement over material things doesn’t last. You’ll always have the memory of the excitement over that thing, but the literal excitement isn’t there anymore and your mind has shifted to something else.
The memories are everything
As I said before, the nostalgic memories of childhood trips, playing at my grandma’s house with my cousins, funny moments with my family and friends, movies and TV shows, new adventures, those are the things that last and what matter the most in life. “I wish I spent more time buying stuff”, says no one ever! No one regrets not buying more stuff (sure, you may regret passing on that pair of shoes that sold out quickly), but we do regret the chances in life we were too afraid to take, the trips around the world we never took, or even the life lessons we never got to learn because we were more consumed with getting things rather than living.
Experiences help you discover your passion and lead to purpose
I would have never discovered my love for traveling to new places (and desire to do more) had my family never went on trips or had I never experienced my first cruise to a dope island. I also never would have discovered my love for helping others had I never experienced working for people with developmental disabilities, which is something I never thought I would do. Those experiences are priceless (well, traveling cost us, but you get what I’m say lol) and they fueled something inside of me that makes me want to do more and have more of those moments and memories.
You bond more with people over experiences rather than possessions
When you experience life with people it creates a deeper bond. Traveling with family is dope because you have that shared memory for life. My family and I still talk about our trip to Disney World we took back in the 90s. We remember ALL the details and still laugh as if it happened last week. My friends and I have taken cruises and we also laugh about the good times and have tons of pictures we can look at for years to come. Experiences have a way of bringing people together and creating a social and relational connection that brings joy even at a difficult time.
Less environmental clutter, less mental clutter
Too much stuff, especially unused stuff, gives me anxiety. It creates mental discord for me and I’m all about annual purging. Accumulating things doesn’t bring me happiness especially if I don’t have the space or regular use for those things. Whenever I buy something like furniture or a decor piece, I always ask where will it go in my home, making sure that it will have a place. If it doesn’t have a place, I won’t get it. I’m not the one to store things for later that I might use. Also when I buy clothes I think about the empty hangers I have at home and if I have enough. If not, something has to go – if it’s something I haven’t worn in a while, something that doesn’t fit quite right or something I don’t love, then I give it away. A less cluttered place gives me a happy mental space 🙂
Experiences take you outside of your norm and introduce you to a whole new world
When it comes to trips, I love to eat local and do the local activities. It takes me outside of my norm and I get introduced to new cuisines, new activities and adventures that I otherwise wouldn’t have done. I remember the food, especially if it was amazing, from various places I’ve been and those memories are everything! It’s wonderful seeing the world outside of your normal day to day. Seeing how other people live, their local transportation and how they get around town, what and how they eat, where they shop and how they have fun. Even when I travel for work, I try to experience the culture of that location, from the big well-known cities to the small barely on-the-map towns, and it’s always so memorable.
As I said, ya girl loves to shop and get new things 🙂 I’ve just learned that there’s more to life than things and experiencing life brings me so much more joy and creates wonderful memories.
A few weeks ago I wanted to take a random trip to the thrift store to see what I could find. I was going for an old school 90s vibe and found all these cute pieces. Don’t sleep on the thrift store when you need a quick look and you need an old school vibe.
- Blazer: Thrifted
- Floral shirt: Thrifted
- Mom shorts: Thrifted
- 90s flats: Thrifted
- Black purse: Nasty Gal
Let me know if you’re all about chasing experiences over things these days and share with me some of your most memorable experiences. I’d love to hear from you!