Sunday, February 15, 2009

Buying experiences, not things, may increase happiness

That was an interesting segment of February 13Th NPR Science Friday show.

Here are some of my thoughts related to the concept of experience versus material consumption.

It takes time to have experiences, but time is often lacking.

Experiences can take money, but many experiences don't take money. What they do take is time.

It takes time to have an experience whether it's a walk in the neighborhood for free or an expensive retreat to some fancy resort.

Time is something that's in short supply during prosperous times when Americans seem too busy with long work hours and commutes.

Now that the economy is slowing down, there's more time, but people wonder where their next rent or mortgage check is coming from.

Some people are glad to be unemployed if they are getting unemployment.

Unemployment gives folks time for experiences.

Being without a job means time for taking classes, travel, catching up with family and friends. Walking, bicycling, exercise or just sleeping in.

People shouldn't have to be unemployed to have the time for experiencing life.

We need balance.

Maybe a shorter work week is in order. How about the three day weekend?


Can't be legislated, but more people could opt for a shorter workweek.

Problem is, rents and mortgages are too high.

Folks have to work too much just to maintain these ridiculous property values.

What value are people getting from living in homes that are worth 1/2 million which were only worth $50,000 some 30 years ago?

Deflation might be a good thing if it makes living more affordable again.

With all this prosperity, maybe we could go to a 32 hour work week. Increase the amount of time for quality of life. Just let the property values fall.

I know it's easier said than done.

Why should we become slaves to all this foreign capital that has flooded into USA over the past few decades? This flood of capital has pushed everything up and made living in USA almost unaffordable?

Just default on it all and relax.

Even the material things we buy, these days, take time to use. Electronics keeps getting more sophisticated for little cost.

The digital camera, I just bought, costs a fraction of what one month's rent for a studio apartment is. At the same time, this cheap digital camera has so many bells and whistles that one must go on vacation just to have the time to learn it's many features.

To keep up the economy, we have to start buying, but we don't really have time to effectively consume what we buy.

Then all this consuming adds to global warming. We need more "time off" the economic tread mill.

I feel lucky that my rent is still affordable and my modest job is still healthy.

It's time to go out and take a walk.

1 comment:

Gadget Jim said...

Interesting thoughts you have to share ... Yes, in this world of materialism, our senses are never satisfied! We want more, bigger, better, faster, higher tech.

Living car free has helped me to learn and understand that I can live a simpler life. Maybe not everyone can live car free, but millions more could. And many more millions could live car light.

Some people need a tv in every room. I can live just fine without any tv! We know people who have tv's and computers in every room!

If things get really bad, maybe I can give my landlord my 30-day notice, and just set all my stuff out on the sidewalk, pack up whatever I can load onto my biycle, and hit the road ....