The wiser we become, the more we realize that experiences bring us long-term happiness, not gadgets, items, or things.
We can experience with the help of things, but “a thing” in and of itself won’t bring long-term happiness, only short-term.
Now that we are home a lot, we can find happiness and enjoy our aloneness when we buy a Playstation 5, an Amazon Prime subscription, or Everdell the board game for example.
However, the pandemic has forced us to stay indoors for a pretty long time, which makes us long for physical connection.
We use social media a lot more now because of the pandemic, so we can experience some form of connection.
Hopefully, we realize at the same time that connections are just as important as experiences for long-term happiness.
Unfortunately, while we may be liked by “friends”, we may find it hard to find just one person to confide in.
We may appear to be connecting a lot online, but whether you feel comfortable revealing your authentic self is another question.
Loneliness comes from a lack of true connection.
Not just physical connection, but mainly the lack of connection with someone who knows you.
I always say that I prefer to be alone than to be surrounded by people with who I can’t relate.
By that, I mean people who don’t share my values or people who communicate superficially and talk only about themselves.
So when we feel we are not being understood and can’t be ourselves while engaging with other people (online) who don’t really care about us, the feeling of loneliness worsens.
We want to matter. We want to belong. We want to be acknowledged for who we are.
That feeling is an experience. Being in someone’s presence who truly knows us is an experience.
Sharing activities, novelty, emotions, and feelings with others is an experience.
Therefore, another reason we feel alone is the lack of purpose, meaning, and excitement.
We want to contribute to this world, in one way or another.
If we are doing activities that we can’t stand, we feel useless.
We feel as we don’t matter at all in this world.
Ultimately we want to find out what we are good at, so we can do a lot of that.
By contributing to the world in a way that puts a smile on your face, you will feel a sense of purpose and meaning.
You feel acknowledged by your peers, community, and society.
As you can guess, seeing and witnessing the results of your contribution is an experience as well.
Seeing your work come to fruition is an experience that brings you joy, happiness, and fulfillment.
Combine such feelings with feelings of true connection with people who care for you and vice versa, and you have a recipe for long-term happiness and fulfillment.
The pandemic is challenging in many ways.
One thing is for sure, when the pandemic is over, we should all embrace the outdoors and appreciate all the opportunities we can then all enjoy again.