Most of us remember that bright sunny day when we went soaring down the street feeling like a lion on a mission the very first time we rode a bicycle, and to this day the excitement caused by that simple memory is enough to produce a smile on countless faces. The bicycle might be but an old dust mobile in someone’s garage today, but the memory of that experience and who it was shared with will never grow old.
In a season heavily influenced by gift giving, and receiving, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that gifts come in one shape, a box, and while these gifts can be much appreciated, the gift that keeps giving is always in the shape of an experience wrapped up in a memory.
In a recent study funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted by Cornell University’s professor of psychology Thomas Gilovich and Travis J. Carter, Ph. D. ’10, they found that happiness is much more permanent when it comes in the form of an experience, rather than a possession. They wrote that visual comparisons causes dissatisfaction, for instance, the first generation ipod was a great little gadget, which worked fine and was completely satisfying until the release of the new touch screens. Today’s culture is fueled by innovation and new ideas, and if the source of happiness is focused on tangible objects, happiness will be dependent upon its inevitable change, and thus almost impossible to maintain.
For all of the parents, grandparents, friends and families out there who are stressing over last minute Christmas, birthday, or Hanukkah shopping, relax and know that sometimes your time, and a good old-fashioned walk in the park, game of charades, trip to the beach or whatever exciting new or old adventures within reason and budget, will instill invaluable wrapped up memories in the minds of those you care for and who care for you.
Happy Holidays =)