In a complicated world, simplification of one’s life can be difficult but it’s always good to remember that doing is better than having. More stuff complicates life and introduces stress to relationships once the new has worn off (and sometimes even before!). Owning more things increases one’s responsibility in time, attention and money. More belongings can create an upward spiral of consumption as more stuff leads to the need for newer, better, bigger and “one more” along with the creation of ever increasing expectations from everyone involved. In a way, the things we have actually own our time and attention as much as we own them.
Experiences, however, tend to have a different, liberating and often rejuvenating effect on those involved. Experiences are unique and resist comparative or superlative metrics since every place and every set of circumstances is different. Though just about everything in this world takes money to some degree, the quality of the experience trumps financial considerations and thus the feeling one gets and the memories one makes are the true value of any excursion. In this way, a day spent skipping stones with the kids at a local stream can hold the same value as a “dream vacation”. Cherished memories grow better with age and do not require upgrading with newer or better versions!
I’m certainly not advocating a Spartan lifestyle here – I like nice things as much as anyone! In writing this I am hoping to remind myself and others as to the value of doing over having. What does that mean to you, exactly? You’ll have to determine that for yourself!