If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we'd all be millionaires. - Abigail Van Buren

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.

Abigail Van Buren

Our experiences are our greatest wealth. They are more important than our physical possessions and assets in that they have no possibility of getting lost or depleted – if anything, they only accumulate over time. Moreover, while experiences can be narrated by one person to another, they seldom have the same effect until one experiences them first-hand. In this aspect, they are more like a non-exhaustible resource, a non-transferable asset.

Experiences are non-discriminatory by nature. While they might vary from person to person, everyone – without exception – has their fair share of experiences, both good and bad. That said, it is not the lessons our experiences teach us, but rather the willingness to learn those lessons that sets one person apart from another. Even so, every experience is unique, and they contribute to our lives in some way or the other. They are unique and ‘personalized’ in that no two people perceive the same experience in the same manner.

Whether or not we learn from our experiences and use them as a launchpad to become better versions of ourselves, nobody can take our experiences away from us. They are probably the only belonging one actually takes to their grave; they stay with us throughout our lives and often come flooding over us during our last moments, often as regret of missed opportunities or the joy of a life lived to the fullest.

Whether it is the grief of what could have been or the satisfaction over what was, our experiences go a long way in defining who we are. So much so that they arguably constitute our greatest wealth – one that may also translate into material wealth if one is both willing and able to read the underlying signs. Pauline Phillips, also known as Abigail Van Buren, once remarked: “If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”