What would you do on a perfect day?

Researchers have been studying happiness rather seriously over the past few decades, and one of the truisms of this field is that experiences make us happier than things. Stuff can be fun to acquire, but few objects truly change our lives. The few objects that might change our lives (for instance, computers) give us happiness because they give us the experience of connecting to other people, learning new things, etc. A new shirt? Not so much.

Anyway, in light of this, I’ve been pondering a question lately: if experiences are a major source of happiness, what would I include in my perfect day? (or, perhaps, two days?) And, given that I’m writing a book about money, how much would that perfect day(s) cost?

Here are a few things I’d probably include: a massage (love them), a run (but not too long of one), a lunch somewhere casual and hearty with friends, some awesome museum experience with the kids (the Monterey Bay Aquarium had that element the first day we were there), a beautiful scenic drive, some solid writing time on a book I like, getting some great professional news (like an article being accepted), interviewing someone (or a few folks) from my most-fascinating people list, a lovely dinner out with my husband, and then some serendipitous wonderful thing. Like the Good Housekeeping 125th Anniversary celebration I attended this April. I would not have thought to include hearing Aretha Franklin perform R-E-S-P-E-C-T on my “perfect day” list, but it certainly elevated that day close to the top!

Looking over this now, I think that list might be overwhelming for one day. But maybe 3 days. That would keep a nice high buzzing along, with some moments to decompress in the middle. It would not be a cheap few days (I’m thinking a nice dinner, museum passes for four people add up fast, and massages are a treat). But it also wouldn’t require winning the lottery, either.

What would you include in your perfect day, or weekend? And what are the barriers to achieving that perfect day? Are they logistical or financial?


One thought on “What would you do on a perfect day?

  1. If you are creative and frugal it is not that much a financial challenge — museum passes can be gotten at our public library, I can barter for a massage. The folks who struggle financially either are honestly out of work or substitute shopping and things for experiences….
    What I find is the challenge is getting all or a piece of all of those kind of experiences into one day, when showering and sleeping 7 or 8 hours are on my list! That is it is easy to have a perfect day with your kids and a massage — if you have a backup babysitter that is — not so easy to do that, sleep 8 hours, workout, get into a work project which for most human beings requires some get into it time some mental breaks and a very tight list and ability to turn off the computer and other distractions — have lunch with a friend, dinner and good sex with the hubby… all those things are possible but very very difficult in one day or even too, so the question is how to incorporate maybe them into a week or into a life?
    I really try for some great work time everyday, some great kid time everyday even if it is two or three hours, showering every other day, and working out every day.
    The rest might be weekly or biweekly happenings… and sometimes just watching a movie feels like a challenge!

    But it is the right idea. Right now I’m trying to play a work trip to NYC — and lunch with a friend who wishes it were dinner but has no kids and less job flexibility. Money wise I’m thinking of spending more money on flights to California next week so I can have more time with my kid but maybe two or three or four days away from a child is not the end of the world and that money would be better spent on her or on other things …. a massage for mommy maybe?

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