Memories

[We haven’t done a song shout out for awhile so here’s one: Memories – Elvis Presley]

I admit it: I got a little confused about exactly how much I was spending in Iceland. I got particularly concerned when I got home and discovered a message from a tradesman I had written a large check to before we left. OMG. Did I spend so much on vacation that the check bounced?

Fortunately, the check had not bounced. I had made a typical (for me) low vision error and written the check for the wrong amount. I still have money, praise be.

It got me thinking, though. I have been feeling a bit entitled these days. Part of the reason we did Iceland this year and not next was my vision. I feel entitled to go and see places. I may be on a countdown! I would like to have these experiences now while I can still see things.

Intellectually I know I have five other senses with which to explore the world, but emotionally? Vision is the one that matters to me now. Will this feeling I NEED to have some of these experiences immediately lead me to some sort of ruin?

On the positive side, awareness is the first step towards solving any problem and I am aware. I am not going to go on a wild spending spree and not be aware of what is happening. Awareness would lead to monitoring and regulating what I am doing. My executive functioning skills are decent.

Even if I do spend it is a positive in that I want to blow my money on the ‘right’ things to increase my long-term happiness. I want to buy experiences.

Researchers at San Francisco University discovered people who spend money on experiences rather than things were happier and more often feet the money was well spent. Part of the reason for this is you get used to possessions and the thrill is gone. But, other reasons have to do with characteristics of experiences themselves.

For one thing, we are the sum of our experiences. Experiences become part of you and help to shape how you see yourself and how others see you.

Also, many experiences are shared. Common experiences and memories help to keep people together and relationships healthy.

Another reason for investing in experiences is even negative experiences can become positive memories. I would tell my nephews the disasters make the best stories and I still believe it. Take it from the woman who was almost electrocuted by her garden hose!

While I have been talking about expensive trips, experiences can be pretty modest and still have a lasting effect on your level of happiness. A collection of three or  four, modest experiences may provide just as much pleasure as one, big experience.

It may also be prudent to rent or borrow the means to have your experiences. Financially my husband and I are OK. However, I have been fortunate enough to know people who are financially comfortable and willing to share. For example, a friend sent me a photo of a group of us at a 2006 Earth, Wind and Fire concert in Atlantic City. Our good time was made possible because we were invited to stay in friends’ beach house.

So, yeah. Right now the checking account has taken a pretty good hit. ($7 slice of carrot cake ?!?!? OMG). Glad we did the trip, though. Iceland is amazing and my husband and I have some good memories of experiencing it together.

I absolutely want to have more ‘adventures’ both before and hopefully after my vision really goes to sh**. For the next few months they just need to be more modest.

That does not mean I cannot dream and plan, however. I forgot to mention experiences also create happiness through anticipation of the experience. My husband already has started thinking about next summer. Something a little more economical like a Central American cruise. No $7 cake slices involved!

What memories do you want to create?

Next: In the Groove

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