What is an experience? It is an encounter that leaves an impression. And what makes an experience so great? It’s the memories of the experience. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a very questionable memory – and science (and psychology) says, that we change a memory every time we recall it – so are experiences still a greater treasure?
While I’m not exactly like Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic, hoarding unopen things (I repeat, not exactly), but I do tend to fall in love with things.
For a really long time, every time I looked longingly at a beautiful leather bag in bright green with a big price tag, I felt bad for feeling materialistic, but does pining for a pretty green thing, make me materialistic?
Things can make you happy too, for myriad reasons, that have nothing to do with being materialistic. Perhaps it’s the thrill of saving up for a special item that I have wanted to own – which also reminds me of my achievements. I could have gone to a fine dining restaurant and easily spent the amount there, but unlike that quick delectable experience who’s flavour I would have altered by the next morning, the thing would have stayed for much longer.
Things and experiences, go hand in hand. Sometimes you need the things to help jolt your memory and make you remember good times. They don’t need to be expensive things either – a seashell from a beach can be just as precious as a Givenchy lipstick. Look at things like sources of experiences, a single object you look at our own that alters your life. Whether its souvenirs from travel, your childhood home or just the little bouquet of fresh flowers you bought yourself.
My mom collects a lot of things and a lot of experiences. But, if you ask her, her most treasured memory or item, it will have to be my grandma’s old earrings, these beautiful blue jhumki from when my grandma was a little girl. Every time she wears them, she has an extra skip in her step, maybe because it makes her feel closer to her mum and definitely because she is looking good in them. Ultimately, whether it’s the memories of her mother or the beauty of the jewellery, it makes her happy.
“If I buy a book, for example, I buy it to go on some intellectual experience. Take me away with a good story or some new ideas! That’s an experience, right? Or is it stuff, because you wind up with that physical book at the end? Does the distinction really matter? — The Simple Dollar
It is up to you to decide what makes you happy – whether its experience of the things or the things from the experience.
Originally written for Wknd in Khaleej Times