Why I Choose Experiences Over Things

I used to be an avid shopper in my early 20s.

I loved buying new clothes, high heels, accessories and cosmetics for every season and trend.

The joy of buying brand-new things never lasted long though.

At one point, I got over it, sold 90% of my possessions and became a minimalist.

Ever since then, I’ve been focusing more on experiences and am much happier.

Why I Choose Experiences Over Things

What’s an experience?

What’s an experience?
Left: Coffee at my favorite cafe in Da Nang | Right: View from gym in Kuala Lumpur

An experience can be any activity.

It can be something simple like a workout, yoga or having a sip of coffee; or more elaborate like staying in a Bedouin camp in the Sahara or hiking up Machu Picchu.

Experiences can also be cultural, educational, recreational or social.

What are things?

What are things?
My travel buddy

Things can be any item or object in your possession.

They can be the latest iPhone, laptop or Gucci belt.

Shopping gives you a quick burst of pleasure from increased dopamine.

What is Sohwakhaeng?

What is Sohwakhaeng
My Sohwakhaeng – Left: Ice cream in Reykjavik | Right: Macarons in Paris

I love the term, Sohwakhaeng (소확행 or 小確幸), which means “small but certain happiness“.

This concept was originally introduced by Haruki Murakami.

Having a sip of nice hot coffee, a refreshing jogging session in the morning, listening to your favorite song, and so on.

Experiences can bring “small but certain happiness” in your daily life.

Why choose experiences over things?

Why choose experiences over things?

Experiences are intangible, but the joy from them lasts much longer than that of things.

A pleasant memory from experiences can especially put a smile on your face during tough times.

Shopping is addictive, because the effect is intense, but doesn’t last.

It instead creates a competition of who owns more.

Gift experiences for others

Gift experiences for others
Citroen tour experience in Paris

Everyone loves buying gifts for each other.

I used to buy many things during holidays and Birthdays. Then, I shared a tour experience of riding in a 1950’s Citroen car through the curvy streets of Paris while listening to Édith Piaf with my friend.

We still talk about the music and ambiance of Paris together and share that happiness, more than the MAC lipstick I bought for her birthday.

Now, I try to buy experiences I can share with others whenever possible. It has brought me closer to them and created lifelong memories.

In Closing

Shopping can be fun sometimes, but sharing experiences can last a lifetime.

At the end of the day, we can look back on experiences and either learn or get happiness from them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

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