This past week I had dinner with some of my co-workers. Among our many conversations, we talked about the lottery. Who played it. Who didn’t. When we played it. What it meant for society. And most importantly, what it meant for our own hopes and dreams.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m one of the first people in line when the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot reaches more than $150 million. When Mega Millions tipped the $600 million mark about a month ago, I finally had some friends to join in the lotto fun. People went nuts. I did a work pool and also bought $20 worth of tickets for the fam. The guy in front of me bought $100 worth of tickets (probably another work pool). Then there were all of those athletes spending thousands of dollars (in some cases, $10,000 or more) at a chance at winning millions. Hey, what’s one game’s pay for a chance at a complete change of lifestyle? Wait, never mind… But hey, if you saw ‘Broke’ at the Tribeca Film Festival like I did (if not, it will be on ESPN in October!), one could see why they would want to rack up millions as a security fund for the future!
I did all of the necessary preparations before the drawing: talked with my mom about how we’d split the money (word on the street is that a lot of money changes people–and I love my family, don’t want any changes there!); asked for my uncle’s (he is a lawyer) cell number; and found the home I would buy when I won. The lovely Tribeca property’s price was just raised to $49,500,000 from $45,000,000 putting it slightly out of my price range should I win $600 million another time. I’ve watched HGTV enough, though, to get my negotiating skills down. I’ll get it for $45 mill, no prob. I wish I could say that I won, but sadly I did not. Real estate dreams crushed. Dreams crushed in general. Was it worth it?
In this case, yes my dreams were ‘crushed’ but it was a temporary pain. A temporary pain that I put myself through a few times a year. I’m willing to take the risk, willing to go through the pain, because I still believe that I can make my dreams come true (cheesy line alert!) without the help of the lottery. The lottery would just speed up my timeline. Life is short, so I have to try, right?
For some, there is true pain in not winning. It’s not just $5, $20, $100+ down the drain. It’s a missed opportunity to travel. A missed opportunity to be able to send their kids to college. A missed opportunity to start a business. The positive of deciding to participate in the lottery, though, as one co-worker pointed out, is that it can be inspirational for some in thinking about what their dreams truly are. If money were no object, what would their life look like? What would their job be? Who would they be?
The key here is that the lottery is simply a tool to identify hopes and dreams, but it should by no means be a deterrent from living the life you want to live. Sure, it may not be as easy to get where you want to be, but you can still get there!
There’s something to be said, also, for not getting everything you want at once. When you go through life planning/working/fighting for your dreams, there’s a sense of gratitude and appreciation when a milestone is reached. Sure, a golden ticket would be nice, Willy Wonka, but in reality, I think I’d much rather travel the yellow brick road.