In a previous post, I wrote about what matters in life and what doesn’t. What I proposed was that these things don’t matter at all:
- Material possessions
What matters instead is:
- New experiences
What if you have to choose between an experience or a relationship?
Such situations are always extremely hard. Imagine you need to go travel the world for a year but that means giving up (not fully investing) in a relationship (with friends, colleagues, spouse or parents). What would you do? Of course, there are many variables there but if you are really stuck at a decision, my recommendation is to pick a new experience over a relationship.
This may sound controversial to many but my reason for choosing a new experience over relationship is that experience is something which is entirely under your control. With relationship, there’s a second person involved whose behavior is something you cannot (and shouldn’t) predict and control. I’m playing Devil’s advocate here, and I understand that in many cases relationships indeed create richer lives. However, many relationships also go sour with or without any reason at all and there is little you can do about it. With new experiences, improving your life is completely up to you. You can choose to have new experiences on a regular basis and nobody would object to it. Level of control you have on new experiences is much more than that you have on relationships.
Ideal situation, of course, is to have both meaningful relationships and new, interesting experiences. However, in dire circumstances, if you have to pick just one, pick an experience since it is a more predictable (and easier) way to have a meaningful life.