My wife keeps a pretty simple journal. In it, she simply notes the best moment of her day (and occasionally a few other things).
Usually, these notes are simple ones. She’ll talk about opening up the first day of the Advent calendar with our kids, or a nice conversation we had while the kids were napping, or a breakthrough moment she had with a student (she’s a teacher).
Taken together, though, they establish a clear pattern. The moments that are continually important to her revolve around our marriage, our children, and teaching. Those things bring about the joys in her life over and over again.
Lately, I’ve been doing the same thing – just noting the high point of each day. Most of these seem to revolve around my family, especially my children, and a few revolve around writing.
What’s perhaps most interesting of all is that after almost two months of writing down the best part of my day, none of them seem to involve a material purchase. Not a single one.
Most of the moments involve conversations, actually – a moment shared with someone else. Some of them involve teaching moments – helping my daughter to take her first steps or teaching my son how to put a diaper on his teddy bear. One involved reading a book I had checked out from the library and making a connection between a passage in it and a deceased relative that I miss dearly – it made me feel deeply connected to him, even though he’s been gone for years.
These are the moments that make up my life. It doesn’t matter what kind of house I live in or what kind of car I own or how many video games I have or anything else.
The only things that matter are time and love.
When you go to bed tonight – and for the next few nights – spend a few moments reflecting on what the best moment of your day was. You might even want to jot them down for a few days.
Then, after you’ve accumulated some of these “best moments,” look at what they have in common. Given enough time, they’ll point you directly towards what the most important parts of your life really are – and you’ll likely find that spending money and material goods don’t have much of a role at all.
After that, you might just find that the next time you go in for an impulse buy, that impulse might not seem quite as strong. After all, is it helping you to create the moments of your day – and of your life – that you want to cherish? That really matter to you?