Experience is always more precious than stuff. Never forget that. So give yourself the gift of a new experience—or revive an old favorite experience—every day.
You will never look back with satisfaction at owning that Mustang convertible or those Manolo Blahnik spiked heels the way you will remembering the Scottish highlands glimpsed from the train, or the taste of pistachio gelato enjoyed at the Piazza Navona. The sound of the waves will bring you infinitely greater pleasure than a vintage leather jacket or a new Cuisinart espresso machine.
You know what I mean. Here are six ways to dig deeper into your everyday life.
• Read a new book. How exciting it is to dive into unknown fictional territory through a provocative bit of literature. Or mystery novel. Or the work of a new author.
• Take a new way to work. For example instead of the freeway leave a few minutes early and take some old back road that leads through a new neighborhood. Let your eyes have fun soaking up new buildings, trees, views.
• Get in touch with your favorite collections. I use dusting as an excuse to handle and admire items I’ve brought home and placed where I can see them often. Dusting is a way of telling your special memorabilia that they are precious, and in turn reminding yourself of the day, the occasion, the event that opened up that portal in your life. Where did this unique object come from? Who were you with? Why did you love it? All of this is a mutual dance of cherishing. You love it, and it reminds you of why you did. Simpatico!
• Cook a favorite dish and share it with friends. I always bake cookies at Christmas time and deliver them to my neighbors. It’s a great excuse to rekindle acquaintances, to say hello to the couple with the new baby, or the elderly woman who always power walks past my house every morning. No one refuses the gift of cookies, and later there’s plenty of fuel for follow-up conversations about which ones were the favorites.
[Or eat something you’ve never tasted before—maybe at a restaurant, or maybe in your own kitchen. Dare to sample a new flavor!]
• Take your favorite walk—at least once a week. In all weather, and in all seasons. Let your senses savor the changing cycles of the year, the power of nature in all of its many guises and disguises. The changing cycles of the land, sky, and temperature.
• Keep a field guide to wild birds by your dining room window or patio door. Look up the names and habitats of frequent wildlife visitors.
In the award-winning documentary Rivers and Tides, environmental artist and land sculptor Andy Goldsworthy describes how he approaches each new outdoor artwork. As he begins picking up rocks, feeling their weight, starting to experiment with placing them together to see what will work and what won’t, he says he always begins by “shaking hands with the land.” I love that phrase!
Shake hands with the land in which your life is lived. Reach out to it and see how much larger your world grows. You will too!