Things Versus Experiences
We also work so that we may acquire things: baubles, gadgets, appliances, games, art, and more clothes, food, and shelter just in case we run out. Sometimes a good life is measured by how many things we’ve managed to hoard. Our “lifestyle” magazines and our television advertisements encourage this way of thinking, and many of us work even harder knowing that in the eyes of our rapacious society having things, lots of things, is a sign of success and happiness, if not grace and dignity.
Might we all be a bit more fulfilled, a wee nip more contented, if our work bought us experiences? Who doesn’t daydream about a thousand different activities, wondering what would it be like to do? What would it be like to drive a racing car? What would it be like to sing with a piano player in a hotel lounge? What would it be like to travel with the circus, write for a poetry journal, direct a play, swim with a dolphin, dig for dinosaur bones, make pottery, grow orchids, walk the Appalachian Trail, speak Latin, fly a plane, visit Warsaw, cook a soufflé, hit a home run at Fenway Park, meet Nelson Mandela, adopt a child, teach math in Haiti, discover an element, watch an eagle soar.
The truly rich life is the one that’s filled with experiences, grand and simple. That’s something worth working for.