I recently received an email from my daughter that said, “Thanks for helping create memories. Love, Dane.” There was an article attached to the email written by Chris Riotta, a writer for Elite Daily, explaining how people who invest in making memories are happier than those who focus on buying material possessions. Thankfully, my siblings and I learned this decades ago when our parents, who did not have a lot of material wealth, took us on family outings. We took at least one summer vacation each year, and we went to picture shows regularly. This quality time spent together making memories strengthened our relationships with one another.
In today’s world where instant gratification is promoted by advertising and social media, it is easy to be lured into believing acquiring things will make us and those we care about happiest, but this is untrue. Research has proven time and again that investing our money toward travel, sharing life experiences and making memories pays off. Research conducted by San Francisco State University found people do in fact understand life is about the memories we create.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has looked at the connection between money and success, said, “New things may make us happy, but only for a while. We are excited at first, but then we lose this excitement and search for something new.” One important thing I have learned over the years is even when we invest in something material for ourselves, a loved one, a co-worker or friend, it seems to be much more appreciated when it is connected to a milestone or a memorable event such as an anniversary or birthday.
Dr. Gilovich told Fast Company Magazine, “Our experiences are a bigger part of our lives than material things.” Possessions come and go, but experiences are parts of us that last for- ever. In fact, I believe we are the sum total of our experiences. There are 79 million millennials in the United States, which is about 3 million more than there are baby boomers. Most baby boomers have already learned the priceless advantage of investing hard-earned money into travel, education, memorable events and helping others.
It can be easy for families to get caught up in the many distractions faced each day, especially while trying to keep up with the Joneses. We can quickly lose touch with each other and often take for granted spending the kind of time together that creates meaningful experiences and lasting memories. Jesus warned us about this struggle in Luke 12:15 when He said, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. People do not get life from the many things they own.” Our challenge is to find the balance between the two, both enjoying the material things we’ve been blessed with, and using those things, no matter how big or small, to make our time count with those we care about most!