Buying Experience with Time

I spent the last weekend idling around; I did not do anything that I have always considered “productive”. No reading novels. Or catching up on my read later lists. Or writing. Or working on the short story in progress. Nothing. I spent the whole two days lying on my sofa, enjoying a movie marathon with my family. I did all that without judging myself, as I had recently decided.

It’s so easy to idle the whole days away. As James Clear has said, “our real motivation is to be lazy and to do what is convenient”. It’s only understandable then that it takes too much effort to break this built-up inertia of not doing anything. Time, then, is spent generously lazying around, scoring easy joys.

The thought also reminds of this exchange between Dan Buettner and James Hamblin during one of their interviews.

Buettner: In the long-term view, you’re better off buying experiences than some new gadget. Buying things does produce some spike in joy or appreciation, but that wears off over time. A good experience actually gains luster.

Hamblin: Despite knowing that, when I actually go to spend money on traveling or even just tickets to something, I think about how soon that will be over and gone. And if I buy a couch, I have it for years.

Buettner: But the joy from the couch wears out. You’ll still flop down on it, but it won’t provide that bump of joy.

With time as the most valuable currency, what is, then, the parallel in real life to the “gadget”, the thing that time can buy? Is it the worthless, hollow hours that one spends on streaming the same, old movies or TV shows? Or is that an experience?

What Buettner refers to as joy when talking about the product vs experience discourse, is satisfaction when moved over to real life. We should judge if the activity is an experience by the longevity of the satisfaction it brings.

There’s no doubt that a whole day of movie marathon can lend momentary joy. But does it do that without being a burden on your mind? If so, then it is an experience. Else you have just carelessly wasted the most valuable currency for owning a thing and it will soon stop giving you joy.

What are other examples of such experiences that time can buy?


odd says:

@amit There is my dilemma. I have to have a chat with myself about this. 🤔

amit says:

@odd Absolutely, that exchange on gadget vs experience gave me a similar pause. Didn’t help that I’d just idled away my weekend.

odd says:

@amit I got a good starting point from @DiplomaticDiva and I’m going to invite a person to a “virtual coffee” on Sunday. I think that is a start.

About idling away, that has been, (more or less), me in a nutshell for the last seven(!) years, since I stopped working because of a disability due to mental issues. I have since tried on my own to get back into coding, but failed. Now I’m taking a new, slower strategy, not to beat myself up over the fact that I’ve got to this place, but rather be a friend of myself and build myself up very slowly.

amit says:

@odd Yeah, virtual coffee is a good start. I myself have made it a routine now to call one of my friends every week. I guess I can make that a scheduled video call.

On slowing down, that mirrors exactly what I’m current doing. It is important in this time of global lockdown to love and pamper oneself more, I guess.

odd says:

@amit I recognize much of myself in what you wrote in your article. I have always strived to be efficient, so, have I reckoned, I will have more time to do other things, or to relax. Always lived as this is only a test run; never relaxed while I’m doing things. The quote was very good.

PS: Your page looks great 👍

amit says:

@odd Yeah, exactly what I felt when you shared your thoughts on slowing down 🙂

PS: Thanks! 🙂👍

@odd Hello! How are you? Did you have your virtual coffee?

odd says:

@DiplomaticDiva Hello, thanks for asking! 😊 I’m finally relaxed, after having an extended daytime nap, but now is it’s almost 2 in the AM, and I’m wide awake! As for my Sunday coffee, I didn’t get a response from my friend, but he’s a busy man, so… I’m trying next Sunday! 😊

odd says:

@DiplomaticDiva Hope you’re doing A-OK too. 😊👍

@odd Excellent! But also, oops (nap time..!) Enjoy your virtual coffee when it happens.

@odd I’m doing OK, thanks for asking.

Leave a Reply