Are "experiences" really better than "things"?

I recently read an article that suggested that people are happier when spending money on expriences, as opposed to material things.  When I read the statement, I was taken aback at first.  I thought about all of the cool stuff I’d like to buy:  a new Tesla Model S, a house with a view of Denver and the Front Range, a new laptop that was lightning-fast, and the list goes on.  Then I thought about the word experiences, and what that meant.  Skydiving?  Scuba diving?  Those things don’t really appeal to me.  I was struggling with making this a true statement.

Then I thought about it at a different angle:  What if I only had six months to live and $100,000 to spend?  Heck, might as well make it a million dollars if I’m being killed off, right?  Surely, I wouldn’t run out and buy a car in this scenario!  I’d take my family on trips; see the world!  Of course, the practical part of me would probably put some money aside for a new house for the family, but we’d surely have some fun, too!  Would I be able to take those experiences with me?  Who knows, but I know that creating memories would be more of a legacy for my loved ones in twenty years than some rusted-out car.

Then reality hit me that I don’t have a million dollars to spend, but what I realized is that experiences are better than material things, and many experiences are free!  In fact, my kids and I went on an awesome hike this weekend just ten miles from our house.  We spent an hour climbing rocks, navigating trails, seeing buffalo, having a blast!  All for free!  The kids loved it so much that I told them we’d start hiking “14ers” when they got old enough.  For those non-Coloradans reading this, a 14er is a mountain whose peak is over 14,000 feet in elevation.  Colorado has 53 of these, and many folks I know hike them virtually every weekend.  I have never done this, but look forward to trying a few once the kids get old enough.

Wherever you live, there are plenty of cool places near you to make great memories.  And I would guess that many would cost you little more than the gas to get there.  What could be better than a nice picnic lunch by a local lake, or a tour of that museum you’ve driven by 100 times but never stopped at?

There are plenty of ways to make great memories with the people we love, and at least for me, reading that statement opened my eyes to the possibilities.

Here's to enjoying every little experience life has to offer!