Experience the ride

Experience life, don’t buy it

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University.

Science has shown doing is more valuable than owning.  Dr. Thomas D. Gilovich of Cornell University has spent a career studying human judgement.  He’s found that our experiences, not the things we buy, increase gratitude and bring us more happiness in the long run.  This makes sense when you think about it.  When we buy something, the serotonin hit we experience eventually wears off leaving us on a never-ending hedonic treadmill.  We end up looking for the next hit and then the next eventually finding ourselves unsatisfied, unhappy, and with maxed-out credit cards.

In contrast, when we spend our time and money on experiences, that euphoric-hit lasts us a lifetime.

Who likes treadmills anyways?  Crazy people, that’s who.

Time for us to jump off ‘Lost in Translation‘-style.

With the consumerism-ripe holidays right around the corner, it’s an important message to remember.  I recommend you get outside, try something new, and spend more time doing said things with friends and family.  In the photo, I was tackling the second-hardest trail I had ever ridden right after having tackled the hardest trail I’d ever ridden.  The latter was not a success by any stretch but it made the former seem like a cakewalk.  Maybe more like a cupcake walk.  I was on the edge of going over the handlebars several times.  I knew I couldn’t afford a nose job which was motivation enough to keep my mountain biking act together.

The full story was not long before this photo was taken, I had a panic attack on the side of the trail.  Afraid of embarrassment and of having my ego and cerebral cortex bruised, I was overcome by fear.

Then, I got back on my bike.

Thank god there was someone there to take a photo of me in all my post-panic glory.  I wouldn’t want someone to think I was anything less than phenomenal on the bike. Did I mention I was passed by a grade-schooler?  Punk.

When we experience instead of buying we develop as people. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always worth it.  I’m lucky not to have scars to prove my growth this time.  I will never forget the experience, though, nor would I trade it for all the biking equipment in the world.

x KM

Photo credit: @rorytucker

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