If you had to choose, would you rather take a two day sailboat trip to an uninhabited island where you might see whales and dolphins (maybe even get to swim with them!), snorkel, scuba dive, surf, and enjoy sunset cocktails with some of your favorite people, or buy that new dress you saw hanging in the window last week? If you are jumping up and down saying “Sailboat! Whales! Playing in the ocean!” then we’re on the same page.
Happy lives are those built on amazing memories. When you meet someone who seems genuinely stoked on life, it is rarely because they finally saved up for a new purse they’d been eyeing for months, or decided to buy a fancy car. Hands down, they all seem to be grinning ear to ear because they enjoyed a great dinner with friends the night before, or just got back from an epic adventure and are already planning the next one. Choosing experience over things creates a life connected to people, nature, and cultures. We have all heard the saying “you can’t take it with you,” referring to our inevitable exit from this beautiful planet. If you lost all of your possessions what would you miss? I can’t say I wouldn't miss the things that help me experience the best things in life, like gliding through fresh powder, hiking to secluded waterfall, or getting to see what life is like for creatures living 100 ft below the surface of the ocean. I would definitely miss my skis and my paddle board, my running shoes and snow boots. While these are technically things, they help enrich my life in ways that jewelry or plasma screens cannot.
This year I made a very conscious effort to prioritize experience over things. I decided to not buy a single “thing” but rather spend my hard earned cash on getting out and enjoying life with whatever I already have. I own or can borrow enough gear to do the things I love, so this included ALL things, even if they fall into the “help you adventure” category. In this year, choosing experience over things has allowed me to take a river trips, have quarterly visits to the Channel Islands, hike the Sierra, jump in a freezing cold lake in the Austrian Alps, and so much more.
These experiences have allowed me to:
- Connect with friends, nature, and myself.
- Be more compassionate towards others, creatures included.
- Prioritize my time and energy so it is spent enriching my life, the lives of others, and staying true to my mission.
Two simple rules I live by, and remind myself of often, are to choose experience over things and prioritize time over money. These choices are bound to lead to greater relationships and a lot more adventure. While it may sound crazy to some, taking a year hiatus from buying things was pretty easy. I made a mistake or two in the beginning (how I forgot my goal when I saw that purple Mammoth coozie, I still don't know...) but, for the most part, it became second nature after a couple months.
What is the last big purchase you made? An item or an experience? I challenge you to make sure the next one (or ten) leave you with memories instead of less space on your shelves.