Updated: Oct 16, 2022
How many of us feel like we truly experience life? Do you go through life with your normal day-to-day routine and seldom add some fun, adventure or something different to your day? Or do you purposefully schedule a wide variety of experiences in your life? "Experiences" don't have to cost money and they don't have to be complex or time intensive. Below are some simple examples you could do, even this weekend.
Taking a walk in a park
Enjoying an afternoon in a museum
Exploring another town in your state
Learning a new hobby or participating in a new activity
Volunteering in a cause
Availing oneself of free concerts and festivals
Taking a short or long trip to experience other cultures, food or scenery.
Trying a new restaurant outside your comfort zone
Experiences VS Materialism
For some, life is about material possessions and not so much on experiences. Acquiring items can be fun and rewarding until it interferes with our health (financial, social, emotional and physical). Material possessions can bring us a temporary boost of joy or fulfillment (endorphins at work). But long term, too many possessions can clutter our life, our mind and negatively affect our health and our bank account. Experiences, on the other hand, provide long lasting physical and mental health benefits, Experiences are so important for personal growth, happiness and overall fulfillment.
Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.
Where and what we spend time and money on is indicative of who we are and what we represent. So where do we spend our time and money?
Materialism in the 1980s
If you remember the 1980's it was a decade of materialism. Low interest rates and low inflation encouraged increased spending on new inventions like the VCR and luxury items like designer clothes and accessories. And of course the need to "keep up with Joneses" has always fueled cultures since the beginning of time.
And 40 years later we are still sucked into purchases that we really don't need. Those unnecessary purchases, triggered by the availability of online shopping, social media, infomercials and peer pressure, clutter our houses, our closets and even our storage units.
Where do you stand?
There are those who would rather spend money on an experience than buy the latest social media buzz item. There are those that would rather buy that latest fad item than experience the outdoors, cultural activities, and such. And lastly there are those that consider themselves balanced. Which category do you fall in? No judgement here, just curious.
When you reach your senior years what will you remember the most? Watching a sunset on top of a mountain peak or that expensive purse you bought 20 years ago? Experiences will bring you a lifetime of memories and happiness, material possessions not so much.
Experiences can also enhance your life, change your opinions, values or beliefs, and give you a better perspective on the world itself.
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Traveling has always been my thing. I would so much rather spend time and money on travel than anything else. I find that traveling to new places, new towns, new states or even new countries is not only educational but has brought me a long-term sense of fulfillment and happiness. It has shifted my perspective on world events and has influenced my opinions, beliefs and core values.
Do you have experiences that have shaped your life? Are you continually adding new ones and/or replacing the ones that no longer serve you? We have to periodically step outside of our daily comfortable routine to reflect on what we have experienced and see where we need to adapt. Maybe we have gotten comfortable in our range of experiences and need to be open to things outside our comfort zone.
Just maybe, it's time for new possibilities.