I’m taking a Coursera/Yale class on happiness called The Science of Well-Being. It covers the lies our brains tell us about what will make us happy and how to get around it. It’s loaded with good information. The major focus of the first video in week four is spending money on experiences will make you (and everyone around you) happier than purchasing material goods. I think there’s overlap between buying experiences and material goods in sense that some of the things you can purchase enable experiences.
The course discusses buying material goods such as cars, homes, fancy new tech toys, and the like. These are goods which are exciting to purchase but quickly become a regular part of everyday life. Experiences are things like vacations, concerts, etc, which last for a limited period of time. They’re too short for novelty to wear into boredom. We can’t just grow accustomed to the latter. They’re also more fun to talk about with friends, so they provide more happiness for longer.
However, some things enable new experiences by being owned. I’m gonna look at two examples here: needlework supplies and games.
In the process of working my way up in difficulty to the needlepoint projects I daydream about, I am making a tissue box cover. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s ever done plastic canvas needlepoint has done at least one of these, and by the time I finish this project I will be no exception. Mine is a simple display of characters from the original Final Fantasy for the NES. The order in which they appear on the box is semi-inspired by 8-bit Theater. I’ve got the fighter and black mage on one long side of the cover, with the white mage and monk on the other long side. The thief and the red mage each have a panel of their own. The final product will have physical and magical damage dealers alternating all the way around the box.
For the most part, the coolest things I’ve seen don’t seem truly inspired. I don’t mean to dis them here… they’re really quite nifty. And a small percentage are downright fantastic.
But here we sit on all the possibilities of three-dimensional stitch work, and people make plain boxes. Some of the boxes are very nice. Some incorporate a little bit of extra three-dimensional-ness in the form of sewing one or more flat, decorational panels to the outside. The bulk of them are just plain ol’ squares.
I’ve been interested in plastic canvas needlepoint for some years now. I never got into it because I never had sufficient motivation for doing so. Now I find myself with a fantastic idea for a halloween costume, with plastic canvas contruction being the most accessible and cheapest option for creating a necessary prop for my costume.