“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Every year, around this time, I start looking around the house at what toys I can donate, what clothes no longer fit, and what I can get rid of to make room…for more. More things. But why? Why buy more things? Why not buy experiences instead?
Experiences Create Less Clutter
Every year for Christmas, we fill our living room with things - toys, clothes, books, games, etc. - and every year, my son’s face lights up with excitement as he tears through wrapping paper and looks at each item with pure joy...only to toss it to the side for the next thing.
He plays with his new toys all day...maybe even a few days. And then...the novelty wears off.
Let’s face it, material things get boring quickly. And, there we are with more things - things to pick up in toy boxes, things to put away for another time - more things than he’ll ever play with! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the joy Christmas morning gives him, and I feel truly blessed to be able to give him gifts; however, last year, we cut back on the things, and we went on a trip! There was less clutter in the house, less things to get rid of this year; and, let me tell you, he still talks about that trip!
Anticipation of an Experience Creates Excitement!
After telling him about the trip, he couldn’t wait to go; however, there was a little bit of a wait between telling him and actually going! So...we made a countdown. We planned what we were going to ride at the parks. We looked at maps. We picked restaurants where we wanted to eat. We watched videos online. We picked out shirts and outfits. We packed together. We got the truck ready for a comfortable ride. And, we enjoyed every moment up until the trip! The anticipation created excitement! The anticipation created memories! The anticipation was truly part of the joy!
Experiences Make Us Happier
“Happiness is the richest thing we can ever own.” - Donald Duck
They say money can’t buy happiness, but research shows that using your money to buy experiences over things can create happiness. Some believe that happiness is the best way to stay healthy, and most people are in the pursuit of happiness! It says right there in the Declaration of Independence - we all have certain unalienable rights...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As I reflect on this past year, what sticks out to me most and what makes me the happiest are the memories that I was able to create by spending more time with the ones I love. When travel opened back up, one of the first things we did was plan a trip. I was never more ready to get out into the world (as safely as possible) and make memories with my family. It lifted our spirits just to have a plan in place!
We booked a vacation to Disney World, the Happiest Place on Earth; and though we’ve been many times, this time was different. We appreciated it in a different way. After being tucked away at home for so long, we appreciated being able to spend time together somewhere else. We appreciated the time and care the cast members took in making everything clean and safe for our vacation. We appreciated being able to make happy memories that we could look back on throughout this year, and beyond!
Time is Fleeting - Take the Trip!
Swiftly. Quickly. Fast. Days are long, but the years are short. I blinked, and my son is 5. I’m afraid to blink again. Time is fleeting.
I want to capture as many memories as I can while my son is young. I want to make more as he gets older. I want to enjoy every moment possible, and vacations create amazing possibilities! Vacations give us the opportunity to connect with each other and create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. They allow us to disconnect from our everyday lives to connect and make memories with the ones we love.
Make as many memories as you can with your family! Walt Disney said it himself, “the most important thing is family.” Time moves quickly in this life, and experiences provide memories that we can take with us wherever we go. Moments are priceless.
In a world of instant gratification, where things can show up on our doorstep with a simple click of the mouse and a few days wait, why not buy a gift that will withstand the test of time? Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show. Your family will appreciate it more than you can ever imagine!