"Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences." ~ Daniel Gilovich
After my recent purging of stuff, I really began to take stock of my stuff and what it really means to me and about me. I have been learning over the last several years about the research that having experiences is more beneficial to us than purchasing stuff. So, I have been fostering more experiences with friends. Now, that is not to say that I didn’t love the golf balls, flameless candles, flowers and books that I received for my birthday, but I think the memory of doing things with friends will have a longer lasting memory.
A friend and I have our birthdays within two weeks of each other and we have adopted the philosophy of having experiences with one another. The last two years we have gone to Mount Lemmon and spent time together chatting, meditating and hiking and I treasure those times together. Even the experiences that didn’t live up to our expectations create memories that we laugh about for years. We both enjoy walking labyrinths and we found what sounded like a great place with a lot of labyrinths. But it ended up being a little bizarre; on one labyrinth we even rode an adult sized big wheel. But, the memories of that experience trigger all the laughs we had and strengthen the bonds of our friendship.
For birthdays, another friend and I go to lunch and the movies; it is a fun filled day where we spend one-on-one quality time together and cherish our friendship. Many friends and I now just celebrate life events by getting together and connecting. To me time spent with friends is the best gift of life. I am blessed to have so many friends and I am grateful for all of the experiences that I have from our times together. I treasure the time we spend together doing simple and amazing things.
Do you prefer experiences or stuff when celebrating life events like birthdays?
Think of some of your favorite memories in life – are they about experiences or things you purchased or were given to you?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
My goal is to build a community with like-minded individuals who want to grow, share and learn from one another. Please post comments to enrich the experience for all.