Experiences are worth more than Stuff

Whenever I meet someone who has done a lot of interesting things I am fascinated and I want to hear more about and their experiences; I admire these people. These people have stories that they can share and will always be relevant and interesting. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about all the stuff that we acquire; yes its cool but it doesn’t last very long. Right now iPads are all the rage and people I know are snapping them up and very excited about them; I’ve even heard stories about people going to the US just to buy them  (they didn’t come out in Canada at the same time as in the US). In 5 years do you think that all these people that went and got their stuff will still be using it? Do you think they’ll care that they had this short lived affaire with a toy?

Now to put this into context imagine skydiving out of a plane at 3,000 feet or learning to sail. The  emotions that come with these activities are very real and you will always remember them deeply. The scary thing is that experiences like these of these are probably about the same in cost if not less than that little gadget. Five years after doing either one of these things do you think these people will remember them? Of course they will even if these experiences were terrifying or something they didn’t enjoy. Why? Because they did something and experienced it.

When I was younger I was fascinated by stuff and I got a great deal of items and gadgets just because that’s where my whims were taking me. Unfortunately I don’t remember these very much anymore and quite frankly all the money that I spent on them is totally lost. To really illustrate this around the year 2000 I really wanted a laptop and bought one for $1,800 on a payment plan – at the same time I took a trip to the Dominican Republic with some friends and took windsurfing lessons trips. I paid for both of these with credit (I know not the best idea) but in the end while I used the laptop I don’t recall specific moments of joy or wonder as I do from that trip – the moment where I was able to pull the sail on the windsurfer up and actually start moving forward in the ocean I don’t think I will ever forget. The laptop unfortunately I will remember for a different reason (and it’s the only reason I’ll continue to remember this item); and that reason is I kept the stupid thing for almost 10 years because of how much I paid for it and the extreme difficulty I had in parting with something that was outdated and never used.

The ironic thing is the reason I will remember that laptop is because of another experience, reading Leo Barbuta’s The Power of Less The Power of Less and starting to purge unwanted and unneeded things in my life. A simple excursion or activity is more valuable to me than any gadget and the gadgets in my life now are meant to help me experience life because when my grandkids ask me about my life I want to be able to say what I did not what I owned.

6 thoughts on “Experiences are worth more than Stuff”

  1. This is exactly why I’m going to Italy on Saturday. My friends and I stopped buying Starbucks daily after our morning walks, and decided to open a joint account. We put in $20/week for the last 18 months, and boom, wer’re off to the Amalfi Coast, renting a villa, and planning some amazing experiences. This trip will be a whole lot more enjoyable than a daily latte that I had begun to take for granted and not enjoy much anymore. There is actual psychological research that confirms this point too, which is how I convinced my BFF to take a trip rather than buy new furniture (that she didn’t need-just a want). She has been talking about the experiences she had on that trip for the last 5 years-way better than the new furniture that would have lost its glow within a few months!

  2. hi, i couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. my family including my parents went to live in Australia for a year due to work commitment 3 years ago but until today we are still talking about the experience we had with fondness.

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