When was the last time you spent a day with people you love and didn’t have to spend a dime? Or spent so little that it didn’t involve any stress about money or the financial pit you’ve dug for yourself? Our culture puts so much emphasis on material things; we seem to define success by the amount of clothes in our closets or the kind of car we drive.
How much do these things really matter in the long run? It of course feels great to spend a day or two (or more) collecting brand new items courtesy of our lines of credit in the moment. Once we get home and see the bill, however, those happy feelings dissipate and we’re stuck with that sinking sensation of financial doom.
It’s time for you to rethink what wealth means to you. Yes, having lots of stuff to look at may feel great. Unfortunately, the downside of it is that all of those things weigh you down. And not just physical space wise. Clutter in your home and overexceeding your space means that there is less room for growth mentally and emotionally. When was the last time you were able to really focus with a house filled to the rim of things that you just flat-out didn’t want or need?
I know it’s the season of spending so you’d be hard pressed to stay away from the holiday sales. What I do what you to do, however, is try to focus on accumulating experiences instead of things. Go ahead and buy those Christmas gifts, but also try to spend time with the people you are getting them for. Instead of wrapping up a scarf or a video game, gift the person a meal at their favorite lunch place for the two of you. Or get a Groupon for something they’d love – like skiing or wine and painting – and go with them.
The big problem with our culture is that we put the emphasis on what we have physically. The big house. The expensive car. The designer clothes. The dinners at the trendiest restaurants. But we lack substantial life experiences because we focus on accumulating material things. And that’s what I want you to focus on; spend these next few weeks accumulating as many substantial experiences as possible. Take a few extra moments to talk to the barista you see every morning. Take the intern to lunch to see how they’re doing. Bake a pie for your neighbor and invite them over to share it with them.
Take this season of giving a step further by giving yourself instead of your money. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel knowing you both brighten someone’s day and even yours just by caring. Being an accumulator of experiences – and not things – will bring you more joy and peace than anything you can purchase in a store.