But if less is more, how you keeping score?
Technically, they are worth the same. But do both really deliver the same satisfaction?
Let’s say this world were split into two camps, the Stuff Junkies and the Experience Junkies, and you were forced to choose only one camp with which to align yourself. In which camp are you currently? In which camp would you prefer to be?
Stuff and the Stuff Junkie
Stuff — you know, objects. The things that take up space. Some stuff helps us accomplish tasks, making life easier, faster, and in some cases, more comfortable. Stuff is easy to quantify, easy to express its value in concrete terms like price. Everyone seems to understand stuff: physical objects are easily seen and touched. Stuff is an easy way to demonstrate accomplishment, and our stuff can be an expression of who we are — or who we want to be. In this way, stuff has the advantage physical longevity (unless, of course, we’re talking electronics).
The Stuff Junkie wants: more stuff and more space to hold the stuff.
Experience and the Experience Junkie
Experience – all the rest that is intangible. You can’t touch or hold experiences no matter how hard you try. Not all experiences require an outlay of cash, but some do. In the wake of the experience itself, one is left with memories and their corresponding emotions and lessons. In this way, experience has emotional longevity.
The Experience Junkie wants: more experiences — new, deeper, unknown, and unusual experiences.
Fortunately, the world is not black and white. It is possible to be a hybrid junkie, planting one foot in each camp.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always cooperate this way. Most of us are faced with limited resources (e.g., money and time) that can force us to make a choice. It follows that junkies make exchanges to keep their habit going. And once you’ve chosen, it’s hard to switch.
For much of our lives together, we have chosen to eschew stuff. For example, here’s a choice we faced years ago, repeatedly: invest in a new car or save the money to travel.
So why did we choose travel over purchasing a new car? The cars we owned got us from point A to point B just fine. More importantly, our needs and wants began to evolve. We wished our lives to be filled with more experiences rather than more stuff. More recently, we’ve noted subtle reminders that, regardless of our calculations, life can run unexpectedly short. Stories of friends falling ill and dying young underscore this.
We also acknowledge that stuff has its place. For example, we couldn’t do what we are doing without our laptops and camera. We also admit to deriving great satisfaction from moments in well-stocked kitchens and in the comfort of something that feels like a home. And there are those times when I wish my clothes — they’ve taken a beating recently — were just a bit spiffier.
But if I were to die tomorrow and take stock of my life in those final moments, I would recognize this: I have few physical assets to my name, but I am rich in experiences. I am aware of and thankful for the choices we have both made to reach this place in our lives.
So I admit it: I’m an Experience Junkie.
What about you?