Really great advice from Ben Casnocha:
By the time the pizza boxes were emptied out, the pool party earlier in the afternoon seemed positively epic. I felt closer to the people with whom I had shared the experience. And those feelings persist today.
Happiness research is clear: buy experiences, not things. Experiences make us happy in part because experiences often generate vivid memories, and memories we can recall over and over with pleasure, whereas we quickly adapt to purchased goods like a new car or house.
At the birthday party I was reminded that buying experiences is a start, but we want those experiences to be meaningful. Humans crave meaning. And we will do what it takes — which includes deluding ourselves slightly — to assign meaning to the events in our lives.
One way to do this is through a social process of collective remembering. You can backdate meaning to experienced events by doing postmortems, debriefings, retellings, memory sharing.
Reliving, and backdating, your experiences is a great way to get more out of them. The only thing to watch out for here is to not upgrade your mediocre memories so much that you end up repeating them. It’s no fun going back to a 2-star restaurant that you remember being a 5-star restaurant. Not only do you have to eat 2-star food, you get the disappointment of thinking you were going to be eating 5-star food.