19 August 2013

Shopping for experience

It hit me today and it hit me hard. I registered that I was 30 turning 31 (for all of you older than me, yes, yes, I know, that's still young, but I'm sure it was a milestone for you too when it happened:))

I spent some time recalling the person I was 10 years ago and realized I was in university at that time, where my biggest worry was whether I'd be able to get out of class without get caught. Life was simple not because I had fewer responsibilities or more energy, it was simpler because everything was still a new experience to me. Then I realized, as things started to fall into place, time flew faster because I got used to things the way they were.

Waking up no longer was as exciting because I almost knew what to expect (there were still surprises, but I would wake up expecting surprises which would kill the surprise). However, nowadays, what excites me is seeing where I was and where I am. I mean, looking back at journal entries, it excites me when I read my entries from a month or a year ago. I constantly get that "woah? That was only 1 year ago!?" response and it makes me laugh when I see entries about my worries for the future ahead (which has been revealed to me already). I used to listen to a lot of Howard Stern while I was in university and even was inspired to be part of the University's web radio where I would blabber on and on about nothing with my co-host. Little did I know one day I'd be on other radio channels as a guest, as a co-host and even as a host! That is nuts! The best part is most of the things I remember about University life aren't related to anything tangible, it was all the experiences. Sitting in the sound booth doing take after take for our radio program because we would always freeze the moment we knew we were being recorded, sneaking food into classrooms only to get caught because everyone could smell it and even raising my hand up to tell one of my instructors the method he was teaching us was outdated....experiences.

As I age, I'm finding I want fewer things (I enjoy a minimalism interior design style) and all my objects should serve a purpose to improve my experience. I no longer buy things for their visual effect for others, it's more about how it makes me feel when I look at it (I'm totally turning into an old grumpy man). At the same time, something can't just look good, it must serve another purpose. For example, my expensive Bowers & Wilkens speakers look great but also must serve its purpose of providing me high quality audio so as to improve my experience of being at my desk.

Basically, I've finally realized that at the end of the day, it's not about the object itself, it's about the experience it provides you.

Next week, I'm flying down to Singapore to watch Metallica live. Yes, I'm literally flying there just for the show. Why? Because that was on my life-long to-do list. Especially with the death of Slayer's Jeff Hanneman, now I've realized experiences aren't something you can achieve anytime, you have to get it when you get the chance. I mean, sure Metallica could always come back for another show, but let's just say, this time I'm not missing my chance. Heck, for all you know we might not even make it to the show. Why so pessimistic you ask?
Well, Metallica was playing in Shanghai and sadly many of the HK fans who were going there couldn't attend the show. Why? A lovely typhoon stranded their plane at the airport. Man, I would have been heartbroken if not super upset if I was one of the victims of that. I mean, typhoons have always had a perfect track record for me and have been my absolutely favorite holidays (because they're so sudden and unexpected), it would suck to ruin everything with this one incident.

And on that note, I encourage you to think about your life and ask yourself, the next thing you buy or consume, what is it doing for you on an experience level? It's very fascinating when you think about it, it might justify the price tag (or discourage you from buying it altogether).