As college students, there are few and far moments where we decide to splurge. But when we do decide that it’s high time to treat ourselves, it’s easy to simply click on over to your Amazon wish list and have on your doorstep in two days. It’s a normal thing, we constantly want objects as a means to feel happy and satisfied.
But our pursuit of happiness and satisfaction shouldn’t be achieved just through the purchase of objects. If you’re going to go out on a splurge and spend a lot of money, spend it on something unforgettable. Spend your money on experiences.
Many people believe it’s better to spend money on objects because they last longer. An experience is a fleeting thing that only lasts so long, whereas something like the new iPhone or a new article of clothing will stay with us longer. In fact, it’s actually scientifically proven that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions do. Part of that longer enduring happiness is a result of the anticipation you feel in the build-up to the experience, be it a trip, a concert, or even a movie.
Additionally, according to Cornell University psychology professor, Dr. Thomas Gilovich, the happiness brought by buying possessions is temporary. Eventually the novelty of it wears off and we no longer desire it as much as we used to. By contrast, part of the novelty and happiness produced by experiences is the fact that it’s a fleeting.
The knowledge that it’s something that doesn’t last forever makes us appreciate and treasure each moment even more. We, as humans, innately enjoy memories made and good stories that can be produced from an experience as they become sort of ingrained in our own identities. Even if the experience itself is bad, it becomes a positive thing after the fact because those negative memories oftentime still make for good stories.
We are the sum of our total experiences, not objects. And, as young individuals, we should take advantage of the chances in front of us to experience the world. It can be anything. You can keep your experiences local within Athens; maybe go to AthFest if you like music or go to see the Iron Horse with your friends. Or you can make your experiences bigger, like going on one of UGA’s many study abroad opportunities. Either way experience the world around you to the best of your abilities and live in the moment.