Today I went whitewater rafting with my family, so I thought it would be a good time to bring up how buying experiences like vacations or family trips can do a lot more for you happiness and life satisfaction than buying material things.
Of course, you should buy all the material necessities, and if you don’t have the time to treat yourself to a nice vacation, go ahead and buy that expensive pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. But if you do have the choice, most research agrees that you’re almost always better off in the long run if you buy yourself a nice cruise ship over a really expensive handbag or something.
It was such a nice day today. Kind of hot and muggy, but not too sunny, so rafting down the river and getting splashed by water was very refreshing. One of the nice things about going with a guide company for things like rafting is that you literally just book and then show up and they take care of everything like helmets and stuff. The river we went on was just a short section, which took a little bit over an hour to raft down. Luckily, I didn’t fall out of the boat, but I did get a face full of water several times. Overall, the trip was just the right amount of excitement, which for me is rapids but not too scary rapids. I really enjoyed myself, and it was nice to just let loose and have fun after being anxious all week about my future.
And that’s just what vacations and experiences do. Experiences also tend to linger longer in your memory because they are unique to you. Everyone experiences things differently, so you end up with a good story to tell other people. Plus, you tend to engage in less social comparison after buying experiences because everyone’s experience is different. If people buy the same material stuff (Rolex watches, Chanel bags…) it’s every easy to compare your stuff to other people’s stuff. For example, someone could try to one-up me by saying that they went on a longer, more exciting rafting trip, but I don’t want a longer or more exciting rafting trip. I wanted a lower-level trip because I was a beginner, and my trip today was just that. Plus, going rafting also enabled me to spend a long time surrounded by nature, so there’s another plus point.
Basically, I’m just trying to say that rafting is fun, and I highly recommend it. Also, vacations and other experiences are better for your happiness than buying material things.