Enrich Your Life: Experiences versus Possessions

ExperienceCompare these two words, side-by-side:

Experiences                      Possessions

Wow. Aren’t they different?

The word “experiences” implies action and the use of the senses. It implies, to me, a whole body experience! It comes form the Latin word experiri which means to try.

Possessions? I go immediately to jealousy. Or a demon spirit occupying someone’s body:) But truly, the word posses comes from the Latin word possess which means to hold or occupy.

One seems to imply a sort of letting go and openness, while the other lends towards more rigidity.

Now, let’s add the word happiness into the mix of these two. Compare side-by-side:

Experiences              Happiness              Possessions

Using your gut instinct, which of the two brings you the most lasting happiness?

There is no right or wrong answer here. But let me tell you something interesting that I’ve discovered, both personally, and from reading scientific research….

Experiences tend to bring people more LASTING happiness.

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Why? Science says that “things” bring us a temporary happiness or high, but that we soon get used to our new possessions. We begin to take them for granted and we long for something more/better/bigger. Experiences, on the other hand, are more akin to protein when it comes to lasting fuel. They provide more energy, longer. Even bad experiences; they become the stories we tell. They weave into the very fabric of our being and often have a true chance at making some kind of significant change inside of us. And no matter how much we love our home and our things, there is no replacement for the desire of most humans to learn, grow, and truly experience the world and the people around us.

Unknowingly, this was one of the reasons why I created Retreat to Ireland. As a teenager I began to consciously realize that direct experience could never be replaced with textbook knowledge or the coolest new shoes. I began to crave REAL experience. I was tired of sitting in a classroom, listening and reading, and only getting a sense of what really lay out there in the world; there had to be more. So I went in search of experience beyond school and home and what I knew.

As far as I can tell (or the truth as I know it now) definitely rules in favor of experience. While some of my possessions I do love and continually appreciate, I’d take experience everyday. Living here in Ireland I’ve had some incredible times. I know that one day, when I lie close to death, it won’t be the cool multi-colored sweatshirt that I had in my wardrobe for a few years that I’ll be thinking of. It will be:

*The time my friend and I worked together on my neighbor’s land. He cut down trees and I dragged branches and we laughed and talked. We sweated. And found some sweet silence. The end of that day brought me so much contentment.

*Or the time I hiked out from the top of the Caha Pass with my 75-year old friend to attempt a walk back into Glengarriff with no real idea of how to do it. We used the incredible view and our own ideas and intuition to find a route. And while we didn’t make it, we had a grand adventure.

These will be the things I remember when I lie close to death.

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So, what are you doing this summer? It’s not too late to sign up for the experience of Retreat to Ireland. We’ve got 6 spots left and a whole beautiful Irish world to feed your senses and your mind. People from all over West Cork are coming together to help provide you with an adventure of unrepeatable magic. All you have to do is the make the decision and show up. Me and Ireland will do the rest!

Think about it like this…the cost of the retreat and a plane ticket is akin to:

a new couch

a little more than THIS Gucci dress

830 Starbucks grande lattes

What do you truly want?

Leave a comment below. Do you agree? Have you had experiences that far outweigh possessions? Tell me your stories!

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