Million Dollar Maybe

Today is Powerball Lottery Day, which I think of as Million Dollar Maybe Day. I have a ticket and the jackpot is $125MM. That would net out to a $30 million payout, no small amount of money. Winning it would certainly change my future plans.

Or would it?

Several years ago on my old and defunct blog, I pondered the idea of winning a mere $10 million jackpot. What follows is the substance of that post:

I’ve read stories about lottery winners who were penniless a few years down the road. How does that happen? How can you have $20 million dollars one year and be broke the next? Poor planning, to say the least. That’s why I have it all laid out. Here’s what I’ll do if I win:

1. Give $2.5 million to charity right off the top. No, I’m not just saying that to get in the good graces of the Higher Powers. It just seems like the right thing to do. I even have the charities all picked out already.
2. Quit my job. Isn’t that what everyone says? I’d still work, but I might look for something part time. It’s not that I hate my current job; I’d just like to try different things. Plus, wouldn’t it be great to apply for a job and not have to even ask about the salary? Or care whether or not it offers health insurance?
3. Pay off my mortgage. Ahhhh.
4. Finish the remodeling projects lined up for my house. All at once, not staggered out over a period of time.
5. Do some nice things for friends and family. Pay off my sister’s mortgage. Buy my parents new cars.
6. Create a college fund for the children of all my friends and family.
7. Hire a personal trainer.
8. Try to build a ‘professional’ writing career.
9. Hire a housekeeper.
10. And a landscaper.
11. Go on extended road trips.

So I’m down to about $2.5 million now, and I have everything I want. I can conservatively invest the remainder and live a nice, comfortable little life. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

I have to wonder, though, what’s next? What would I be moving toward? How would I define accomplishment and achievement? Who would my friends be while my real friends were at work? And would I lose the ability to tell the difference between real friends and pretenders?

Another thing I wonder is why I’m not doing most of the things on my list today. Okay, I don’t exactly have $2.5 million on me right now, so I’d have to cut way back on the charitable donation. But I’ll bet if I looked things over, I could find more to contribute than I do now.

And, no, I can’t quit my job, because I need those benefits, but I’ll bet I could keep an eye open for new and different things to do at work.

I can work harder to pay off my mortgage, and if I try, I’ll bet I can organize those remodeling projects so that they’re completed before the next millennium. I can’t do the same things for my friends and family that I could do if I had $10 million, but I can do some nice things for them.

Everything else on the list? I could do it today, if I wanted. So why am I making a list and hinging the possibility of having ‘everything I want’ on a million dollar maybe? I’ve got the sure thing right in front of me.

That was in 2005. Fast forward to today, and I have to laugh at the difference a few years makes:
– I didn’t quit my job; it’s quitting me. And I’m okay with that.(#2)
– Yes, these are the same remodeling projects that are still open for today. Most of them anyway. I did get a few things done.(#4)
– I hired a trainer, lost 100 pounds, and changed my life.( #7)
– With the approach of #2, I’m definitely going to be writing more. (#8)
– I have at least THREE road trips planned for this year. I’m currently planning for one of them to be 4-6 weeks.

This entirely-too-long post could have been summed up in a single quote from Dr Cherie Carter-Scott, author of If Life is a Game, These Are the Rules:

“There” is no better than “here.” Very often people will get stuck in the here/there syndrome: “When I lose 10 pounds…when I find my soul mate… when I win the lottery…when I retire… when I something”. It’s the when I, then I syndrome.

I seem to need to be reminded of this rule every few years (which is direct confirmation of one of her other rules: “Lessons are repeated until they are learned.”)

Sometimes it’s not possible to get 100% of my dreams, but I as I said in my original post, why hinge everything on a million dollar maybe when I have some sure things right in front of me?

All of this pondering has me wondering about YOUR dreams and what YOU can do to find the “sure things” that may be sitting right in front of you? (Y’all know how nosy I am!) I’ll bet you can find something, if you try.