Sunday, March 14, 2010

Buying A Little Happiness

With all the depressing news of late, it's good to know that you can buy some happiness. According to an article titled, "Buying Happiness Is Possible," according to studies, it is possible to buy happiness, but you have to buy life experiences and not material objects. The findings are based on eight separate studies which agree with previous research suggesting that, "People's satisfaction with their life experience purchases-anything from seeing a movie to going on a vacation tends to start out high and go up over time. On the other hand, although they might be initially happy with that shiny new iPhone or the latest in fashion, their satisfaction with these items wanes over time..........The people who thought of a material purchase were significantly more likely to report feeling concerned about the buy and less satisfied with their choice at present than those who had recalled an experiential purchase." I definitely understand that since whenever you buy something, you can later question the purchase. Did I really need that? Did I pay too much? Will it wear well? I frequently ask myself when shopping: "Where am I going to put another pair of shoes?" (But honestly, I buy them anyway!)
I've always valued experience which is why I love to travel, visit new places, go to museums, parks, landmarks and walk around NYC. So I totally agree that money spent on positive life experiences can not only buy happiness but can be stimulating, fun, entertaining and a learning experience as well. As a matter of fact, as I've mentioned before, New York City (or living near the city), is such a stimulating place to live that you don't even have to spend a lot of money to have interesting experiences. You can take a walking tour of any NYC neighborhood or even a small town in a suburb, have a cup of coffee or an ice cream, visit a few shops, a new Church, (I managed to slip some religion in), and have an enjoyable day, just experiencing a new environment. One of my favorite pastimes-people watching-is a great New York phenomena. 
And the Spring is coming.....which is the best in the Northeast.
Next weekend, I will go with my family and members of my extended family to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. My two young cousins are very excited to visit the museum and I'm excited to spend the day with them. We've done this before, "a family adventure," and it's always a great day. Last year we toured the Empire State Building, I had never been on the observation deck, it was great. So yes, I fully agree, spending money on interesting and enjoyable life experiences, especially with family or friends, is much better than buying material things, which wear over time, lose their luster and have to be cared for. And as my friend and and I always laugh about, we've heard that when you die, no one wants anything you have anyway (except for the jewelry). Young people today like what's modern, for the most part, they are not interested in our collectibles, trinkets or fine china.