Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Friday, January 23, 2015

Suffocation and Becoming an Experientialist

an early winter morning walk on the Wallington Estate owned by National Trust

I touched on this in my last blog post about living more with less, I'm currently reading a brilliant book by James Wallman called Suffocation, Living More With Less, it's about our constant need for stuff and how in reality it's making our lives much worse, more stressful and less memorable.  Now I took the quiz in the book to see if I was even near to becoming an Experientialist and before I took the quiz I did think that I already held some of the values required to become an active experientialist, you see all through my life as a parent I've always believed in giving the kids as many new and unique experiences as I possibly could, all of the time during our marriage one of the things Paul and I did with the kids was take them to places, museums, walks they would complain about, National Trust properties, English Heritage momuments, even in the days when we had next to no money we would clamber into our tiny Fiat Panda and go out for picnics and away days.  I've always held true to my own values that memories are the most important thing we take forwards in our life.

I also believe that being a grown up can sometimes be, well a bit rubbish really so it's up to you as parents to make sure that childhood is as fun and carefree as it can possibly be and filled with memories instead of stuff.

Now obviously because I mainly try to overcompensate for all of my failings I never go away anywhere without bringing home the kids presents (or the dog for that matter) but I've always spent much more on holidays and mini breaks than I have on brand new furniture or the latest in expensive wallpaper, let me just say I have no wall paper and pretty much everything I own is vintage and second hand because I hate new plastic furniture.



Holly at Wallington, a definite experience, she got wet and muddy and had a great time!


So it could be that I am already near to the point of being someone who only cares about experiences rather than things although I did disagree with one of the fundamental points about not needing to take photos because we hold the memories in our minds, well that's just a lot of rubbish in my opinion as I think photographs last far longer than memories or they can prod memories throughout our life, they're a kind of memory trigger to relive those amazing picnics and away days, oh and yes I mean actual proper photos, not digital images which clog up computers and rarely get printed (something I am as guilty of doing as the next person).

You know I've mentioned in the past about our family to-do board which has new suggestions on it every week, well I go that long before I heard of James Wallmans book, I wanted to have fun things every week we could make new happy memories with and mostly Looby is the one who writes the suggestions on and checks them off as we do them, it's been the biggest success of anything I've tried to introduce over the last year and it's definitely here to stay.

My suggestion for all of you who are working towards a life of experience instead of a life of stuff is to go and buy a chalk board this weekend and then write some suggestions or even better get your kids to do it, they have the best minds for this kind of thing.  Amazing things will happen because of this board, even if you get to Friday and you haven't done any of the suggestions you will try to find ways of making them happen over the weekends, we might actually fail a bit this week as we wrote a snowy to-do list and I only managed 2 of them due to the lack of snow, I think the building a snowman and snow beagle might have to wait for the arrival of more white and flaky stuff (and I'm not talking about the curse of an itchy scalp here).

So, this weekend go do stuff, make memories, take photographs and above all, make sure you spend time with the people that you love because all of the stuff in all of the world hasn't the same value as quality time.
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