The thrill of a new car wears off quite quickly. A new house becomes routine after a while. The charm of material acquisitions, big and small, fades into the background after a bit. Remember that new screwdriver or box grater you bought a year ago? Of course not! It’s not only expensive to create oxytocin rushes by buying stuff, especially big stuff, we also don’t always need more stuff.
So what else makes your life enjoyable? What sparks a spontaneous smile? What makes you feel good?
Experiences are what creates enjoyment and meaning, and I think here too there are two kinds. Epic experiences, such as our vacations a few years ago to Italy or Alaska. Remember when? Those live in me forever. However, those big ones are few and far in between, and involved and costly. But then there are the little experiences, the ones that come and go many times a day and simply make your life a bit more pleasant. Perhaps it’s the smile across your child’s face, the burst of intense taste from a ripe piece of fruit, the sun peeking out from behind a cloud, the beautiful white and pink spring blooms that are popping up everywhere right now, or the gentle word of encouragement from your partner. The heart on a latte makes me happy every time, as do my cats’ wet nose snuggles, or feeling the soft and warm grass under my bare feet on a beautiful summer day.
I try to train myself to notice these micro enjoyments and not take them for granted or rush past them. We only exist in the moment, and if that moment is a pleasure to experience, it makes it all worthwhile.