So this is somewhat of a follow up to my post on LIFE BALANCE. I came across this great article from Fast Company, Stop Accumulating Stuff And Start Accumulating Experiences. There’s a lot of extraneous information in the article (rambling IMHO) but the core message cannot be missed: by working so hard for stuff, we’re missing out on life’s experiences. Case in point: My father worked for the U.S. Government starting at the age of 21. He worked long hours. He flew around the world, frequently. His plan was to retire at 55 and take my mother back to all of those beautiful places he had seen. At age 54, one year short of retirement, he was diagnosed with cancer. He died 18 months later. Those experiences never happened. But his family certainly had plenty of stuff. I’m quite sure my mother would rather have those experiences than all that stuff. So back to the Fast Company article, two quotes stood out to me in particular, with “it” being experiences:
“It will make us happier, healthier, richer, in every sense: less clutter, less regret, less anxiety, more meaning, more status, better conversations, more connections, a stronger sense of belonging.”
“It will generate advances in wellbeing and quality of life that might sound, today at least, like they are the wishful thinking of an idealistic mind: shorter working hours, more time with family and friends, spending our time doing things we really enjoy.”
What would you rather have? A shiny car that gets you to and from or the memories of a family vacation in Hawaii? Our stuff seems to be badge we wear to show off our hard work. I would submit that at the end of your life, you’ll treasure that family trip more than that car. So how does this story fit into LIFE BALANCE? Stop working so hard for the stuff and take time off for the experiences. These experiences don’t have to be exotic destinations. They’re simply experiences – making memories, trying something new. Don’t find yourself in my father’s situation. Don’t wait to enjoy the experiences – enjoy them NOW.