You may have heard that I love Oprah. I am a shameless Oprah show devotee and the last few months without it in my life have been a little bit difficult.
You guys are in luck today, though, because although you might have really been missing Oprah’s 4PM daily life lessons I’ve got one to recap for you. One of my very favorite take-aways from the show that comes from Dan Buettner’s appearance on the show. Buettner is an expert on happiness and the one thing he said that really resonated with me is: “The newness effect of a new thing wears off in nine months to a year. . . The luster of an experience can actually go up with time.” I quickly realized that he was absolutely right. When I buy new clothes, for example, I’m super excited to wear them the next day but how long does the joy that comes from the purchase last? Not long at all.
I suddenly realized that experiences are an incredible investment and when I say no to buying things that aren’t exactly necessities, even if they seem really awesome, I have more money to invest in experiences and that is spending that I won’t regret.
So, in the year or so since I saw this episode of Oprah I have been much more discerning about the stuff I buy and spend money much more freely on experiences:
I bought season tickets to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I’ll admit, I initially bought the tickets so that I could buy presale Book of Mormon tickets but the tickets to all 11 shows I’ll be seeing this year are so far my favorite part of 2012. Bring it on the Musical was hilarious, and I never would have seen it without these season tickets. Plus, every play is a special night out with some of my favorite friends.
I went to see a tiny, awesome Ingrid Michaelson concert and an equally tiny, equally awesome concert wherein Rob Drabkin played Paul Simon’s Graceland Album to celebrate his own birthday. Rob’s mom even served us birthday cake.
I sat in the front of the orchestra to see Brett Dennen and Amos Lee at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
I had a super fancy dinner on New Year’s Eve (ok, I’ll admit, Jay paid for this one but if I was to decide whether or not to do it again if I was paying I absolutely would).
I also used my addiction to groupons to buy several excellent experiences, including admission to the Colorado Cheese festival and a lovely Christmas lights display where my toes got so cold that I actually almost cried from the pain of heating them up again (weak, I know).
I absolutely don’t think experiences have to cost money. On the contrary, the best experiences of my life (maybe barring travelling) have cost me nothing but my time. But if you have a little bit extra, put down the expensive jeans and treat yourself to a concert or play instead. (Also, shopping at Goodwill can be a great experience in and of itself. If you do happen to need some new jeans sometimes they have all denim on sale for 99 cents, hit it up!)
The value that I place on experiences is probably the biggest reason I love photography. When the luster of your experience is increasing over the years of fondly remembering it, there is nothing better than having beautiful pictures that help you relive it all the more. Not just because it’s our line of work, but just because I know the joy of looking through albums of pictures that have really truly captured emotion and memory, I think one of the best experiential investments that families can make is being frequently photographed. How better to remind yourself of what the people you love were like than pictures that really express their emotions, personality, and relationships? My favorite images we’ve taken are the ones that really show the way our clients love each other. Because really, what better experience is there than that?