What are the things that you value most? One way to find out is by looking at how you spend your money. You’ve worked hard for your income, and you want to make the most of it. So, what’s really important to you? What are the things that you will cherish, that will always make you smile and will stay with you forever? It is the experiences that will last a lifetime, that you will look back on with joy and appreciation. A tangible purchase may give you a thrill, but consider investing in some memories, instead. Not convinced? Here are some reasons you might want to flip through that entertainment brochure, instead of browsing that product catalog.
Natural Disasters Happen
Life happens. Floods happen. Fires happen. Tornadoes happen. You get the picture. Your life can change in an instant, and a lifetime of accumulation can be lost forever. But your experiences are a permanent part of you. You may lose your photo albums, but the way you felt when you first saw the mountains, the activities you enjoyed on your first cruise, and that sunset you saw over the water in Hawaii — those memories will be with you forever.
Things Go Out of Style, Degrade, Fade, and Disappear
Do you still have bell-bottoms in your closet? Are your old computers, printers, and CD players still stored in the basement? It seems impossible to keep up with technology or fashion trends — they’re always changing! But your experiences are right here, right now. In fact, you may want to take advantage before you miss something! The rising waters of Venice are not going to recede for you. Old Beijing didn’t wait for you, and neither will the Amazonian rainforests in Brazil. That fantastic new tea shop will close if no one visits, and your favorite drive-in still needs movie-viewers.
Items Change Value
Though some items do increase in value, there’s no guarantee. Vases can chip, paintings can rip, rugs unravel, and cars lose thousands of dollars in value once you drive them off the lot. But your experiences are priceless. What kind of value can you put on biking your first century ride? What about that time those two dolphins raced alongside your boat, or that proposal you received at Moraine Lake? Do you also suck in your breath when you first see the ocean? After I got my first big job, I immediately treated myself to a Rick Steve’s Tour to Europe — one of the best decisions of my life. Money can’t buy you love, and it can’t buy you that perfect memory either.
I don’t think anyone intends to become a hoarder — it starts a little at a time! I want a lifestyle in which I can pack up at a moment’s notice and take an RV across the country! If you’ve ever had to move, you know how cumbersome all of those little knicknacks, holiday decorations, and assorted this-and-thats can become. Forget the stuff — pack up your necessities and head for the coast! And forget those mementos, just take lots of pictures! Digital photos take up space in your computer, not in your house!
Your stuff is just yours. Your computer, your car, your clothes, your coffee, your e-mails, your life. Isn’t it better when we share? How about that Cork & Canvas night with your friends? What about a fancy New Year’s Celebration in the city? Will you ever forget that first concert? Or your first time to the theater or the ballet?
Do you like to be alone on your birthday? How about a group trip to Las Vegas? Or what about a cross-country road trip to see the Corn Palace and the world’s biggest rocking chair? You may not live in a palace, but you and your friends can take a tour of Hearst Castle! Or you can frequent that hole-in-the-wall that you and your friends have been meaning to try. Are you tired of watching your favorite team lose on TV? It’s always a good time at the ball park/court/stadium/rink! And I’d trade gifts for a dinner and game night any day. Create shared memories. They bring you and your loved ones closer together, and they are a great substitution for day-to-day small talk!
Change Your Life
Have you ever heard anyone on their death bed say, “I wish I’d bought that yacht.” Or “If I could have done it all over again, I would have bought that big screen/those diamond earrings?” Life is not about the tangibles. They stay behind when we go, and may be fought over by our descendants! We always want to have loved more, learned more, lived more. The love and memories we leave behind will last. Those unforgettable special experiences — and the hijinks — may be passed on from generation to generation. With every big or little adventure, you create a whole new you. Change your life, change a life! Visit that daughter in another state. Try that sushi restaurant; take your spouse salsa dancing! Take that mission trip and leave with a bigger heart. Live abroad and learn a new language; change your perspective of the world. Or just take a helicopter or balloon ride to overcome your fear of heights and get a whole new view!
If all the world is a stage, don’t get stuck on the props! Don’t create a mountain of stuff — go out and experience life!
Featured photo credit: FidlerJan via morguefile.com