Recently, the Powerball lottery jackpot reached an almost unimaginable half a billion dollars. And, as tends to happen when there’s a big jackpot, everyone had big plans about what they would do with all that money.
Now, many of us know that winning the lottery is often not the magical cure to all of life’s woes; in fact, winning the lottery often proves to be the worst thing that can happen to a person. But the conversations about what we would do with a sudden influx of more money than most of us could imagine have always interested me.
I had a lot of these conversations in the days leading up to the Powerball drawing (spoilers: I didn’t win). And what I found was that while there’s often a lot of wistful wish fulfillment in people’s post-lottery plans, you also tend to prioritize your passions. Aside from paying off personal debt and the debt of loved ones (which was a sadly all-too-common answer), I found that people would use their massive winnings to fund their dreams. For example, one of my friends would start a foundation to empower girls to learn skills and gain opportunities to make a larger difference in their communities. Another would fund abortions for women in areas where they are inaccessible or difficult to obtain. My lottery dream includes a giant, state-of-the-art facility to double as an animal shelter and a training facility for service animals.
I feel like we can learn something from our lottery dreams. Sure, without millions of dollars, many of our wishes will have to remain “maybe someday”s, but perhaps there’s something within them that we, with our overextended lives and very limited resources, can still achieve. Maybe I can’t open up Tiny Stampedes stray chihuahua ranch, but I can give, either of my time or my money, to local rescue organizations. Maybe my friend can’t singlehandedly empower girls to run the world, but she could get involved in a local mentoring program.
We all use “if I only had the money” as an excuse for a lot of things, but I really believe that within our pipe dreams live our passions, and no matter what our financial situations, we can always find a way to work what we’re passionate about into our everyday lives.
What would you do if you won the lottery, and how do you think you could translate some part of that into your current, non-kajillionaire life?