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?