The experiences are worth more than the stuff

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 11:35 PM | comments: 0

Monday we once again joined our friends from Upstate New York to do a VIP tour at Walt Disney World. We did this with them about two years ago, concentrating just on Magic Kingdom then. This time it was a combination of Hollywood Studios and Epcot. That means we got to do all of our favorites without waiting, in the company of people we really enjoy. It's totally worth it.

There have been some recent articles with economists talking about the "experience economy," a term that has recently been co-opted by people post-pandemic who want to describe the act of buying stuff that you do instead of stuff that you have. You know, experiences, not stuff. I've talked about that a ton over the last decade or so, and now I believe more than ever that it's a meaningful way to approach life.

Given my middle age, it's clear that time moves very quickly when it becomes routine. That's not a great feeling when you're on the back nine. (Not sure why I used that cliche. I hate golf.) So the value of doing things and going places is hard to put a price on. I have three travel itineraries between now and June, and I'm trying to figure out what to line up after that (it's hard with a kid in school). Some people are critical of others who would spend ridiculous money on a VIP tour like I did, at a theme park that I live next to, no less, but I still treasure the memory of the last time two years ago. Why wouldn't I want to try and replicate that? I'm lucky enough that I have friends like this who show up every year or so and want to do things with us. It's hard to put a price on that. If I can afford to do the thing, I'm going to do that.

I bought so much crap in my 20's, and I thought at the time that it made me happy. And certainly it did, for a little while. In-person retail shopping, you know, where you went to a store and walked around and then bought stuff, was what people did before they micro-dosed dopamine by getting likes on their phone. I couldn't tell you what most of that stuff was. And the worst part is that I bought most of it on credit. If I could tell 28-year-old me that I was being stupid, I would, because the things that I do remember are the road trips, the after-work meet-ups, the little gatherings at my apartment, that sort of thing.

If I'm going to burn through cash for non-essentials, it's going to be to travel and create the experiences. That's what I find satisfying, whatever the cost.


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