Today I want to talk to you about prioritizing experiences in life.
I’m constantly grateful for the fact that I’ve done some pretty cool things so far. I’ve bungee jumped, sky dived, snorkeled with manta rays, cage dived with great white sharks, climbed mountains and traveled to some pretty amazing places to do those things.
I’m certainly not rich and I’m not simply lucky… being able to enjoy those experiences took commitment, hard work and belt tightening. I decided doing those things was important to me, I prioritized making them happen and so my life style choices centered around those goals.
What was the main lifestyle change necessary? STOP SPENDING MONEY ON STUFF!
I have never regretted a dollar spent on an experience and I’ve never longed for some item that I passed up in favor of saving for a trip or adventure. I’ve always received more value from the experience (and the memory) of doing something awesome than I could have ever gotten by spending that money on material things.
My partner and I both rank travel and adventure as very important and our household budget reflects that. Our furniture has seen better days, and so have our vehicles. Our budget for new clothing is virtually nil and I even stopped buying books (hard!) and use the public library instead. Ditto for DVD’s.
Sacrifices? Not really. Because we stick to our priorities we’ve managed to travel to Mexico, Banff & Jasper, Las Vegas (with day trips to LA and the Grand Canyon) and St. Maarten within the last year and a half. It took hard work to make it happen, but we leveraged our opportunities and it was absolutely worth it.
Full stop. Period. Worth it. No regrets.
Clothes, shoes, trinkets, electronics, DVD’s… there’s no shortage of stuff we bring into our lives. We emphasize quantity over quality, and have a constant turnover of cheaply made, disposable goods.
Do we have any real memories or feelings of attachment to the majority of the stuff in our houses?
What’s the reward of all this stuff? Are piles of things adding enough value to your life to justify the amount spent on them? Do they provide fulfillment? Or is spending on stuff hindering your ability to do the kinds of things you really want?
Minimalism and mindful consumerism are the answers to this consumption treadmill, and they’re becoming more mainstream. But many people still associate the term ‘minimalism’ with some sort of forced, uncomfortable deprivation. We don’t see it that way.
Minimalism is about prioritizing what’s important in your life. It’s about making room in your life for those important things and letting go of the rest.
Why Prioritize Experiences?
What is it about prioritizing experiences that is so good for the soul?
They Can Be Empowering and Confidence Building
// There’s a huge range of “experiences”… they can be leisurely and safe or adrenaline pumping and risky. But the practice itself of seeking a new experience is fundamentally rewarding. Successfully taking on a new challenge instills a sense of confidence and empowerment.
// We are pushed out of our day to day bubble. By trying something new we get to learn a new skill set and sometimes even find an unexpected passion or talent. The point is getting out of your comfort zone.
They Can Help You Face Fears and Anxieties
// Adventures can be downright scary! I’ve been scared while doing a lot of the things I’ve done… it’s not about being fearless it’s about learning to DO IT ANYWAY, in spite of the fear. There’s a natural high that comes with overcoming that little voice telling you “No, don’t!”
// Once you start pushing back your comfort zone you’ll probably find yourself inspired to push it back a bit further, and then a bit further still. You don’t have to conquer your fear of heights by going skydiving, maybe a low zip line is a better first challenge for you. Zip lining was the first scary thing involving heights I did. Then I went on to bungee jump and finally did a tandem sky dive. Just keep pushing back that comfort zone step by step.
You Develop Closer Relationships With People You Share Them With
// Nothing bonds like a shared experience and having something to reminisce about for years to come.
// It doesn’t have to be an adrenaline pumper, maybe try an over nighter at a rented cabin with a couple friends. Try something new together for extra credit! My favourite New Year’s was one spent with a small group of friends at a cottage in Mont Tremblant where I tried snowboarding for the first time. It was 6 or 7 years ago but we still laugh when we talk about that weekend.
Opportunities For Learning and Self Development
// Your unique road map of experiences is what makes you who you are. What you do and see, who you meet… these are the things that develop and shape you. The memories of what you’ve done, the stories you get to share and the things you’ve learned stay with you for life.
Is there anything you can buy in a store that give you that?
Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.
So dear readers, what could you do if you made some changes? What if you cut your clothing or home decor budgets and put off buying that new TV? What if you kept your car for a few years after paying it off instead of trading it in right away (or worse, trading it in when you still owe money on it)? Do you think having an adventure or two would be worth the sacrifice?