Make Experiences Into Valuable Assets

I was recently sitting at my favorite hang out in town, Coffee Bar, with my lovely wife and some very dear friends of mine. In the midst of a very chaotic month, and even year, it was a nice relief. It’s so freaking hard to find quiet time these days. Swim here, run there, bike this way, go to work, pack this, move that, eeesh! It’s exhausting. But in the hour and 40 minutes that the four of us had together, it was refreshing to be able to quiet my mind and focus on the things that matter the most in this world – relationships.

It wasn’t about our busy jobs or oppressive deadlines or even the political elections coming up. Instead, it was all about spending quality time together, getting to share fun experiences, chatting about hopes and dreams, and enjoy a good cup of coffee (tea for me). Quiet and relaxing time is rare these days – one could almost say it’s going the way of the dinosaur – but on this particularly chilly night, I found great appreciation in spending time with quality human beings.

I don’t really care for moving. Actually, I pretty much loathe it. Boxes, boxes, boxes. Boxes everywhere. And tape. And all the knick-knacks you didn’t even know you owned. I moved last April for the first time in five years. I also helped my wife (fianceé at the time) move two weeks later, and one year later, here we go again, this time for the long(ish) haul though. April shall be officially renamed THE MONTH THAT WE SHALL NEVER MOVE IN AGAIN. In addition, during my stint at the university, April was always the month of CRAZY OVERWHELMING STRESS between wrapping up grad school coursework, student events, etc. Ironically, May is my second favorite month, so it seems appropriate that April would be insanity in a bottle in order to prime May for the explosive deliciousness of sunshine, warmth, and triathlon happiness.

Thinking back on the years (I’ve known one of these friends since ’98), you can’t help but remember how critical a role certain people played. Some you still talk to, others maybe fell off the map, but so many of the memories are centered around people and those relationships. How you spent your time and who you spent it with is a very powerful and encouraging thing to dwell on. Yes, you can’t recreate those times or those events (I wouldn’t mind being on swim team again but I will never EVER take calculus again), but you can hold onto the memories of the people and experiences.

As I rapidly approach a new decade, I hear those older and wiser and I that all they really want out of life is experiences. I was never overly materialistic in the buying things just because sense, and I love a good experience as much as the next person, but it’s slowly starting to sink in, especially as I now have a wife, an eight year old Captain-American-wanna-be, a dog, and a soon-to-be mortgage.

I don’t know what experiences await, but I know that the people in my life are the ones I want to share them with. A journey to the top of a mountain or the coasts of Greece is so much more fulfilling with someone than as a solo effort. And trust me, I’ve been to a lot of places by myself, but somehow they just aren’t the same. You can’t quite as easily chat with your airplane seat about how cool Machu Picchu was or show off your photographs to your traveling backpack. The core of any great experience is who is there experiencing it with you. Just yesterday I got to see some killer wildflowers, and had I not been out there biking with my buddy, I would never have even known they existed. It was a win for us both.

bike

As a country that often over-emphasizes the acquisition of material things, I encourage everyone to focus on building experiences and cherishing how great they can be, and maybe they don’t go according to plan or even head south in a hurry, but they will still be remembered. Something as simple as catch or video games with a one of your homies can drastically change the course of your day… the power of something so simple should not be overlooked.

Happy experiencing!

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