I haven’t harped on it much, but I truly believe it: experiences make you happier than stuff.
This is one of the reasons I want to take my wife to wine country in 2017 rather than buying a new TV or iPad or whatever. It’s the reason I want to buy a used Jeep later in 2017. It’s not a love of Jeeps, but rather the experiences a Jeep will allow us to access, whether that’s simply top-down cruising or off-road trips for camping and hiking.
The year I was in Afghanistan, I came to the realization that buying things wouldn’t ever make me happy. No one in their deathbed is going to be glad they bought that 101″ 4K TV back in 2017, but they will fondly remember hockey games with their kids, a visit to the Vatican, watching a Red Sox game from the Green Monster, or that fishing trip to Montana.
My wife comes from a family that heavily emphasizes material consumption, from consumer electronics to high-end kitchens to expensive cars and SUVs. She’s freed herself from that, and I’d like to think I had some small part in it. Even early in our dating life, I always put the emphasis on experiential living, though on a fairly small scale: weekend getaways to Flagstaff, walking tours of Boston, concerts, dancing, lazy afternoons in the lawn at a spring baseball game, etc.
We take nothing from these things but our memories, and that’s the goal. We don’t need all the stuff that our consumerist society tells us we need to fill up our houses, and by implication, our lives.
I am a deplorable consumer.