Collect Moments, Not Things

As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life.  Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new.  This post provides the thirteenth and an explanation.  The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month.  It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!

a picture of Danny and Julie at Paint Nite Richmond in July 2014

Baby Step # 13
Collect Moments, Not Things

Things can be luxurious, beautiful, and often useful, but today's baby step suggests you start thinking about how you spend your money in a different way.  Instead of acquiring as many (or the most expensive/ rare/ biggest) things as possible, consider collecting precious moments and memories. 

This is something many of my family members began with my grandmother years ago.  Grandma has most everything she could want, so for holidays and her birthday, many of her grandchildren make an effort to hang out, play games, and share meals with Gram, instead of buying her things she doesn't need.  For a friend's bridal shower a few years ago, the same sentiment came out in the gifts she had been given by her girlfriends.  These weren't knickknacks or even books, they were experiences. 

This article, though a little aggressive, has some excellent points regarding stepping back from a materialistic lifestyle.  Take a look at this one called "How Gratitude Beats Materialism."  Or this one, by Doing Good Together, articulates a number of options for you and your family to do together to bond, spend quality time, give back, and get out, without spending money on stuff.  And lastly, this TED radio clip discusses the link between happiness and memories.

Some ways to put this baby step advice to use:

- give memories for gifts, instead of items--
you can do this for:
     - birthdays
     - holidays
     - "just because"
     - even for weddings, like honeymoon adventures (ex: snorkeling, ropes course, horseback rides...)

- for yourself--it doesn't simply have to be for someone else that you decide to embrace this philosophy, consider getting yourself an exciting, new memory next time you contemplate a new outfit/ car/ toy you don't really need... 
some ideas include:
     - hot air balloon ride
     - concert
     - a special event
     - wine/ beer tasting
     - a trip
     - a picnic
     - a date

- it doesn't have to be exotic or expensive to be a worthwhile memory!
remember, what matters is the time you spend, how you spend it, and with whom--as long as you feel good, you're happy, and you and those around you are safe, it's a worthwhile memory in the works!

- remember to forget about comparing yourself to others--this one can be hard, but it truly does not matter what other people have or what you do/ do not have.  Concentrate on what you're grateful for and you will feel much more contentment about your life.

What is your favorite way to give memories instead of things?

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