Kodwo Baidoo writes: Monday Epistles, Season 3, Episode 2. Experiential Gifts-A Light Through The Tunnel.
Last weekend was a packed one for me. I had a lot of errands to undertake as well as some planning to do for this week’s activities. But one event that got me all worked up and immersed in was a gig I got to MC a birthday party at the Midwifery center inside Korle Bu. The little challenge I had with that surprise birthday party for the octagenarian had to do with the fact that it was very short noticed. It was dubbed J.K @ 80.
It was an all white 80th birthday party. The interior decor, invited guests and all the celebrant were claded in white. Looking round the place made me instantly feel 30years younger as majority of the people present were on their way to hitting 80years and even beyond. As the event unfolded and the family and friends of J.K. Afankwah celebrated 80 well-lived, well-loved years of energy, achievement, commitment, adventure, fulfillment in marriage and family life and happiness, it was how speakers after speakers recounted their knowledge and admiration of the celebrant that arrested my attention and got me writing.
Conspicuously missing was the famous ‘gift table’. This was not because the celebrant didn’t have any use for material gifts, it was because he had not been a materialistic person and all around him knew that it would cause him profound joy to spray him with some of those nostalgic experiential gifts. Again, not that he had life all rosy. He too had seen sadness and tough times too, but found the inner strength to rise above them.
None of the speakers said a word about what he gave them or did for them but all delightfully went on about how he had been a light in their tunnel of lives. Speakers in turns repeated narrations with striking examples of instances to buttress his honest, hard working and approachable persona.
Allow me to make the case for why experience gifts are better than material things. Studies have revealed that people enjoy greater well-being from life experiences and consider them to be a better use of money as opposed to material acquisitions. Additionally, Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University found that overall happiness with material and experiential purchases is approximately equal at the time of receipt, but the overall satisfaction with material things bought goes down over time, whereas satisfaction with the experiences they had actually increased.
Beloved, let’s put value on creating meaningful experiences and our friendships clasped together firmly with chains of strong and blessed ties binding kindred hearts together.! Before I conclude, allow me share one of my favourite quotes with you!…..”And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”