I recently returned from Italy, traveling with my mom, her first time outside of the US, Canada or the Carribean. Needless to say, it was an amazing vacation. I love to travel, always have. It is truly my passion. Thankfully, my mom had a blast as well. And it got me to thinking about what truly matters in life.

It seems we are always working towards the next great thing…a new car, a bigger house. We are a material focused culture. Just look at the number of people who stand in line for hours just to obtain the latest IPhone. Yet as it turns out, we may be striving for the wrong thing. Research has shown that happiness is more directly linked to life experiences than material possessions. Let’s take a look at some reasons that may be:

1. Material items are always changing. Buy an IPad and six months later, a new one is released and yours is out of date. So what do you strive for…making sure you upgrade to the new one. Life experiences never need upgrading, they are as good months and even years later as they were from day one.

2. How do you feel when your coworker walks in with that new IPad? Do you want one? Life experiences are different. If your coworker just went on a vacation to the same place as you did and stayed at a nicer hotel, it doesn’t diminish your vacation memories.

3. You may regret purchasing that expensive blender but you’ll never regret that amazing vacation, dinner or concert that you experienced last week.

4. It’s that old saying that you can’t take things with you. So, when you’re in old age, sitting in your rocker, what will you be thinking of…I’m guessing it’s some amazing life experience.

I’m glad I’m able to share these experiences with my mom. No matter what happens, no one and nothing can take away our memories. So, go out and make your own memories. Take a vacation, attend an awesome concert, go to that restaurant you have been dying to try. Focus on making memories, not on buying things, and you might just find a little more happiness.