Simple things. That’s where you find your happy.
We’re constantly programmed to think we need to pay for enrichment and entertainment. Movie theaters, theme parks, and curated experiences are what we’re sold. But what if that bill of sale is a lie? More and more I’m finding we don’t need to pay for value. That’s a “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality we need to move beyond. Sometimes the best memories come from simple – and often free – experiences.
The day we took this picture is a perfect example. A trip to the Cuyahoga Valley, our local National Park, provided fun and memories that we’ll cherish for years. The cost to visit, creek stomp downstream to a farm stand, and then hike a trail back? Next to nothing. Nothing more than the cost of gasoline to get our car there that day.
Sure, there were minor expenses. We visited the Countryside Conservancy Farmer’s Market beforehand. There we enjoyed fresh peaches from a local farmer while the kiddos participated in a drum circle sponsored by the public library. Later we ate fresh local sweet corn at Szalay’s – an outstanding local farm market – for a midday snack along our hike. But we also packed along our own trail lunch. All told we spent maybe $30 for a full day’s entertainment.
But when I ask my kids what the best part of their weekend was, it is these simple experiences they recall. These are the experiences they’ll remember. How do I know? Look at those smiles! And I know because these are the types of childhood experiences I remember so fondly today.