When I was younger I remember clearly thinking that people who spent a lot on vacations were wasting their money. The reason for my thinking was that after a vacation, you had nothing to ‘show’ for the money spent. You may have the memories—and likely photos—but nothing else to show for the vast amounts of money spent. It seemed better to spend that money on physical items that would be around long after the vacation.
But I’ve noticed a shift in my thinking in this area over the years. Now I’m far less interested in physical items and far more interested in making memories and creating moments with the people in my life. I think part of this is the result of getting older and raising kids (even though some people seem to have never struggled with this type of thinking no matter their age). I think in different terms now: I have six more summers until my oldest is an adult. This causes me to view the time I have with them with a sense of focus.
The Psychologist Tim Kasser has argued that the enrichment of time will lead directly to happiness. Conversely, he suggests that the enrichment of material objects will not.
I don’t have any physical items from my childhood that I still cherish today (obviously I’ve still kept my He-Man Power Sword around even though it doesn’t quite work as it used to). But I can still remember key moments with my family that likely cost my parents a significant amount of money.
These days I find myself trying my best to enrich the moments I have with my wife and kids. We’ve recently bought a rental home in Oregon wine country (we’re currently spending the kids’ fall break here). And I can see in their faces that these are memories and moments that are not only shaping them now but will also be lasting memories for them as adults.
You may think it requires a lot of money to enrich either your time or material objects, but I’d suggest that we have far more options when it comes to enriching our time than we do enriching items. Sure, money adds options for both. But each of us can be present in the moment and decide to make the most of the time we are given.
So… what’s today look like for you? How can you enrich this day and who would you want to spend the time with?
The enrichment of time can lead directly to happiness. The enrichment of material objects will not.The enrichment of time can lead directly to happiness. The enrichment of material objects will not. Click To Tweet