Why Experiences are Better than Things

I have a hard time riding in glass elevators at the mall, and when I was 6 years old I broke into hysterics in the crown of the Statue of Liberty at the thought of looking out. I have a serious fear of heights, but last year in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle my sister encouraged me to jump off of a swinging bridge like Tarzan and bungee hundreds of feet to safety. The entire day zip-lining was a huge accomplishment for me but the Tarzan Swing was going too far. But something about being abroad took me out of myself and when Olivia asked me if I would regret not trying it I thought I just might and so I went for it and still feel proud to this day that I did it. I'm not saying you need to jump off of bridges in foreign lands (I mean I would probably never do it again as I screamed and held my eyes tight for the whole 10 seconds in the air!) but I do believe leaving your comfort zone allows you to learn things about yourself that you might not at home. I learned that day I am more courageous than I thought, and that I trust my sister wayyy more than I thought, an invaluable lesson learned for me.

Facing Fears and Walking to the End of the Swinging Bridge
Facing Fears and Walking to the End of the Swinging Bridge

I choose experiences over things because no pair of shoes or gadget has exposed more of myself to me. And by no means have I given up all material items, but when it comes down toit I choose the promise of a moment and memory over the new addition to my wealth of things.

Another reason I stand by the motto “seek moments not things” is because I find that “things” have this funny way of holding me back from the moments. If its not the direct financial investment, it manifests indirectly. Whether it is the car payment from the nicer new car, or the burden of credit cards, or even significantly overpacking because I couldn’t choose what to take (true story, it sucked lugging a 50lb suitcase and carry-on across 3 countries for a month), the stuff in my life tended to creep into my consciousness leaving little room for experiences. I lusted after items outside of myself instead of enriching my life with things I could carry with me forever. Yet when I would make it away for my stuff filled apartment I wasn’t thinking about the new Vitamix I wanted nor did I miss the 10 blazers left at home in my closet. When I realized this my perspective had finally shifted and I found stashing away money wasn’t as difficult as before. I saw it as an investment in adventure, because unlike Carrie Bradshaw I don’t want to be the old lady who lived in her shoes, I want to be the woman who travelled the world.

For me, life is about finding your happy balance. I find my balance requires more memories, more learning, and more experiences than things. Value-creating moments with myself and people I care about.