We used to call wasting exorbitant amounts of energy, “conspicuous consumption.” Now they sometimes call it “collecting experiences.” Either way, it’s traveling to faraway places, doing exotic activities, eco-tourism; weddings in the Caribbean, spending a week in every capital in Europe, or each U.S. national park. Great photo ops to put on Facebook and to brag to all your friends about. Everybody has a “bucket list of 50 things to do before I die,” but almost nobody has saved enough to retire in reasonable comfort.
There are more ways to “collect experiences” than to travel thousands of miles. How about reading a book? How about, “50 books I want to read before I go senile?” Here’s a list of the current bestsellers. Download an image of the book cover and plug that into your Facebook page. How about browsing popular hobbies to see if something interests you. Or popular hobby books. Learning a new skill is an experience that will enrich your life forever, not just for a couple of fleeting days.
The local high school where I live has a nature trail along a stream bordering the school grounds. If you look closely at the stands of bamboo, you’ll see many little birdhouses – several occupied! – that kids have built. How’s that for a legacy?