Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buy an experience ...

Read a nice article by David Brooks on NY Times today.

The article is about the presence of an invisible "Haimish" line that is omnipresent in our lives. Haimish is a Yiddish word "that suggests warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality." His comparisons range from eating breakfast at a jovial diner where people share stories across the table and chat at the waffle iron, and then crossing the Haimish line, eating breakfast at a hotel where the atmosphere is quiet and the people around are busy checking email on their phones.

Another poignant point Brooks makes: "Often, as we spend more on something, what we gain in privacy and elegance we lose in spontaneous sociability."

He ends the article citing a finding that reiterates and reinforces my (changed) perspective on "things".

"... We also live in a highly individualistic culture. When we’re shopping for a vacation we’re primarily thinking about Where. The travel companies offer brochures showing private beaches and phenomenal sights. But when you come back from vacation, you primarily treasure the memories of Who — the people you met from faraway places, and the lives you came in contact with.

I can’t resist concluding this column with some kernels of consumption advice accumulated by the prominent scholars Elizabeth W. Dunn, Daniel T. Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson. Surveying the vast literature of happiness research, they suggest:
Buy experiences instead of things; buy many small pleasures instead of a few big ones; pay now for things you can look forward to and enjoy later.

Happy to report that my gift to Gini's birthday this year was a series of Beginner's Rock Climbing classes at Planet Granite. We both took the classes and loved it! Needless to say it was a great "experience" =)

Do you like the idea of gifting experiences? What experiences would you like to get as gifts?

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