When you think about life, what makes time stand still for you? Where time slows down and you’re fully present to what’s going on around you. You don’t want that moment to end. You’re present and aware of everything that’s happening and you don’t want to miss a single moment of it. Think about what moments make you feel happy, joy, and fully alive in the present.
Often, you get so caught up in the day to day routines of life that it’s hard to be fully present. It’s like driving your car and realizing that you got to your destination but not remembering anything about the trip to get there. Scary! You often drift off, thinking about your to do list, or things to come in the future. You’re so focused on getting it all done, running as fast as you can to achieve everything and maintain your success that you easily forget what truly makes you happy in life.
Along the way, you accumulate possessions that replace the important moments in your life. For instance, instead of focusing on enjoying your summer bbq, you point out the shiny new grill or fun new fangled object that has your attention at the moment. The toys, the cars, the house, all the possessions add up and feel tied to your identity of who you are. It speaks volumes that you’re successful, well off, and worthy of such things. In fact, you’ve worked hard for these things and the possessions are the proof. It’s a visual representation of all your hard work, time, and energy paying off. But, do these possessions really mean something?
The accumulation of physical items may appear like a status symbol but you can’t take those with you when you leave this planet. Possessions aren’t what you will cherish the most at the end of your life. However, consumer culture has feed you the belief that you need to buy things in order to make you happy and to feel successful. But, that only lasts for a short while. New things are exciting to you at first, but then the appeal wears off and you get bored with it. Soon you have to buy something else to get that renewed hit of dopamine. If you’re tired of running on this constant hamster wheel, then it’s time to stop focusing on the possessions you can obtain in life and look for the experiences.
Every single experience will leave you with a new lesson or new found fire burning inside you. For example, taking up a new sport. You may try tennis or golf and discover this new passion that you never knew existed. The desire to go from a novice to an expert propels you forward and takes your excitement to a whole new level. You’re learning something new and that’s something that you can take with you where you go.
Your experiences are bigger part of you than your material possessions. You may really like your material stuff. The nice clothes, car, house, etc. But, those things remain separate from you. You can lose them all and it won’t change who you are inside. However, your experiences truly are a part of you. Your experiences allow you to learn, grow, and become better. Your experiences can’t be taken away from you. You are in essence the sum total of your experiences.
You will remember your experiences. Even those with dementia are trigged by certain memories of the past. The memories of joy, fun, and laughter with those you love. Ask yourself what really matters to you. Think about where you find joy and what lights you up. Is it the possessions you think about or the people, places, and experiences you’ve enjoyed? When you truly find what’s most important to you, the fog you’ve been living in of your day to day routine will slowly lift. You’ll get your time, energy, and space back. Make memories and focus on the experiences you can have in your lifetime rather than all the possessions that you can accumulate. It’s not about the stuff, it’s about