“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
By Dawn Onley
Today, I’m thankful for my experiences. I’m thankful for my ability to try out a new city, to experience a new food, to develop a new hobby, to travel to a foreign land, to meet new people. I’m grateful that my experiences have stretched me in the process.
I’m a big fan of experiences. I like to engage, as often as possible, in stuff that involves family and friends and a good time. I will save for lavish vacations and splurge on concert tickets, a new class, or a Broadway play – all for the thrill of the moment and to feel engaged and alive.
I do this because I love connecting with people and I love creating memories that will far outlast the actual experience. I love to delight my senses. It thrills me to create and to discover. There is no question that my dominant brain is right.
Don’t get me wrong, I love nice things. I’m a girly girl. If you see my closet, you would realize that I may just have a purse and shoe addiction, and I possess more than enough other “stuff” – from clothes to accessories and from perfumes to jewelry — to start my own consignment shop.
Still, there is nothing that tops the experience of travel or the invigoration of learning something new. There is nothing like a brisk hike up a new trail or dining at a new restaurant. I will choose taking a walk on the shore and the smell of the ocean over the chance to buy more stuff. In fact, the choice isn’t even close.
Stuff doesn’t last.
Stuff is not fulfilling.
Sure, you might be saying, but experiences don’t last either. That is true for the actual experience, but for me, it’s so much more than that. That new gadget is outdated before you can blink your eyes. That car loses its value before you even drive it off the lot. But the memory of that experience — the concert, the play, the sports outing, the dinner date with friends, the party, the vacation, even those trips to the library with your kids — will last forever, growing more valuable over time. When you are sad, you can draw from those memories. Bonds with friends and family are strengthened through our experiences. Kids perform better in school when they have family time. This is life-changing stuff here!
Increasingly, as I watch that show on tiny homes on HGTV, it appears some people are downsizing their lives to make more room for experiences. While I don’t desire to live in a tiny house at this stage in my life, I love the idea and think these people are onto something.
After all, it’s not the size of the house that makes life so beautiful. It’s the memories created with the people inside and outside of it.
Stuff will fade away. I’m finding that it’s the memory of my experiences that I will cherish.