Try New Things
“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”
~ William Cowper
Have you ever noticed that intangible things, important things like kind words or laughter that we can’t touch, often bring us more happiness than tangible things? Earlier chapters have reported on the power of volunteering, treating others with kindness, and singing to increase our happiness quotient. Now what about the way we spend money? We have recognized that many of us have become disillusioned with acquiring stuff and getting buried under the weight of “things.”
Now science is telling us that people who choose to spend their disposable income on experiences instead of possessions end up happier. Necessities are necessities, of course, and no one would question the wisdom of spending money on adequate shelter, clothing, and food. But when it comes to entertainment, shiny new toys only make us happy for a while. Trying new things has a power to enrich us in ways that don’t wear out, break, or get lost. New experiences actually create new connections in our brains. And when we share those experiences with our friends and families, they strengthen our bonds with those loved ones. It is hard to put a price on the joy of introducing a child to their first baseball game, musical, or carousel ride.
I have noticed a trend among parents and grandparents to prefer experiential birthday and holiday gifts such as skating classes, a zoo membership, or tickets to The Nutcracker ballet replacing the mountains of toys that sometimes have overwhelmed small children. It might be a good idea to give those little ones some wrapping paper and boxes to play with. They sometimes prefer those to the toys that came inside the box.
Do you have a bucket list—a list of all the things you want to do before you depart this earth? If not, it is time to write one. Put everything on it, even the things that seem impossible. Studies show that we are 45% more likely to reach a goal we write down rather than just think about. If we tell someone else about that goal, we are 65% more likely to reach it.