I think we all know the truth of it, but somehow keeping up with the neighbors or co-workers in our accumulation of “stuff” still tends to win out when it comes down to where we spend our money. Some may argue that you make memories with the “stuff” and while that may be true some of the time depending on what the “stuff” happens to be, in my experience and what I’ve learned from the people I’ve talked to, it isn’t often the case, even if it was the intent.
Take a moment to think back to your own childhood or early adulthood- what do you look back fondly on? Where do your stories come from? More often than not, you are remembering significant events such as holidays or birthdays and TIME you spent with your loved ones experiencing something new new together. That might include sporting events or concerts, something out of the ordinary that you splurged on, that’s fantastic! I would venture to guess that if you traveled at all in your past, these memories are included in the “I’m so glad we did that” column of life, those things you look back fondly on.
Personally I grew up without a lot of stuff. My family jokes about my husband being a “rich” kid growing up because he had a microwave, cable, a television in several rooms, a camcorder and a VCR, while I was playing in the “crick” (that’s a creek in North Michiganese), chasing barn cats and building forts. It’s just a joke because we didn’t have a lot but I appreciate that my family put aside money for vacations and I am so glad they did. My love of road trips was born.
Most of my favorite stories come from those trips. I have stored away an amazing amount of fond memories from my childhood taken out of those adventures. The things I got to see- huge caves and caverns, canyons, waterfalls, mountains with snow in July; things I got to experience- a huge lighted map of the battles of Gettysburg, walking through the cabin of Laura Ingalls Wilder, petting a wild burro, trying to catch prairie dogs or actually catching an armadillo; stories that became family legend- the wild wildebeest I saw in New Mexico, learning to whistle AND learning to use a mouth turkey call in the car, practicing my driving skills all around the battlefields of Gettysburg. I am so thankful for all of these. There are so many more where those came from and those are just some memories from my childhood, I didn’t touch those from my adult life.
In my own family, myself, my husband and our three amazing children, we’ve never had much “stuff” or much extra money, so we needed to decide what was important to us. We started small with saving up for little day trips when the kids were small and that’s all we could handle. We eventually began taking short getaways and then bigger vacations that fit our children’s ages. I asked my kids as they got older if they were disappointed about our lack of “stuff” and they responded that they didn’t care and, in fact, they felt privileged that we’ve been able to have so many experiences together, the making of all of the memories we cherish. We take time to remember together fairly often. We tell the stories, call to mind the amazing experiences and often throw out a memorable quote from our adventures. It has brought us ever closer as a family in a way that possessions could never do. The “stuff” we collect eventually wears out, breaks down or otherwise becomes useless; it becomes the junk we get rid of. Our memories are with us for life.
I challenge you to consider where you want to put your money, what do you want to come from it?