Time has a fantastic article about happiness, money, experiences, and possession. If you have the time I’d suggest reading the article. Otherwise I’ll give a quick commentary below. Here’s a great excerpt from the article:
There’s been a lot of recent research on this subject, much of it conducted at Tom’s home institution, Cornell University (a lot of it by Tom). And the answer is clear. If you’re conflicted about whether to spend money on a material good (say, a computer) or personal experience (say, a vacation), the research says you’ll get much more satisfaction — and for longer — if you choose the experience.
I can’t agree with this more. Sometimes I worry that I have too many possessions – two surfboards, a snowmobile, two snowboards, three bikes, two computers, one car, the list goes on. However, all of these possessions enable me to have experiences with my friends. The most happy moments of my life have been on my bike, snowboard, or snowmobile with my friends or family. I’ve found myself uncontrollably yelling with joy during my experiences. And I recall those experiences countlessly with those same friends and family. I get as much if not more joy recalling these experiences as I do actually participating in them.
An experience, whether it’s athletic, food- or drink-related, travel, or anything else, has brought me far more happiness than my possessions. I justify new or better possessions based on the quality and quantity of the experiences I’ll have with said possessions.