A Dollar and A Dream
Driving to work the other day I noticed a sign in a store window that said the New York State Lottery was up to 90 million dollars! The Mega Millions jackpot was now 190 million dollars! My mind reeled.
What would someone do with all of that money?
Now, I understand that the government takes at least half of it. And, if you take it in annual payouts instead of a lump sum, you get even less… or maybe it’s that you get less if you take a lump sum. I have never paid that much attention to the details because the odds of winning such a thing are so unlikely that I couldn’t be bothered to commit it them to memory.
But what if…
I will admit, I am one of those people who would still have to work at something. Of course, I think I would allow myself a nice long vacation first to figure it all out. 🙂 I would not be able to just manage all that money and call it my work, though I know that someone would have to manage all that money. I have no talent for that, and no desire to learn.
What would I do? I would write, of course. 🙂 I would spend time reading and quilting. I would volunteer to work with shelter animals, or help kids with their reading. I would learn to draw, paint, knit, use that beautiful DSL camera we got a few years back. I would learn more about astronomy and art. I would learn to bake artisan bread and make pasta from scratch. I would finally learn to do that violin and cello justice. I would do all the things that I feel like I don’t have time for now because I have to work.
But let’s think about that for a moment…
Writing, if done in place of a 9-5 day job, still takes many hours. So would I truly have all the extra time to learn all these things? Probably not.
So let’s take some of those millions and hire some folks to do the chores that take up so much of my free time – the laundry, house cleaning, yard work, mowing, snowblowing, grocery shopping, litter box cleaning, etc that fill up our weekends and weeknights. This will free up my husband and I to pursue more interesting things.
But will it be enough time?
Winning the lottery will give us the means to free ourselves from having to report to a job 40+ hours a week. It will give us the means to hire people to do the chores that fill our free time. So yes, we will have some more time to do some of the things we dream of doing. But I don’t know that it would be enough time to do all of them.
Don’t get me wrong. I would not turn down a winning ticket. 🙂 But breaking it down like this makes me realize that we are only given 24 hours each day regardless of whether or not we are multimillionaires. It is up to us to spend the time pursuing activities that make us whole, that fill our well, that make our life a life. No one can do it for us.
If we are forced to actually work for a living – 🙂 – we owe it to ourselves and those around us to get as much enjoyment and satisfaction out of those hours we spend at our job. To approach each day with dread and whining would only make it worse for everyone around us. And then, when the five o’clock whistle blows, it is up to us to fill our personal time with the things we love instead of filling it with complaints about traffic, weather, the day job, etc.
If I had a million dollars, I would still work. My job title might change from full-time practice manager/part-time writer to full-time writer/part-time life enthusiast. But I would still work. It would still be up to me to fill the remaining down time with things that feed my soul.
And if I am not lucky enough to win the lottery?
I will continue with my 40 hours each week as a full-time practice manager and try to bring as much light to the job as I can. I will relish the challenges, and I will continue to educate myself in the field. And in my down time, I will continue to fill it with words and books and music and cats. I will continue to fill the well, but will try to fill it deeper and more often.
It’s important to fill our days now, instead of waiting for that lottery ticket to come in. Money, while nice I am sure, isn’t everything. It isn’t even most things.
What would you do if you won the lottery?