A while back friends and I sat at a restaurant enjoying breakfast and discussing the Powerball which had risen to over $750,000,000. “Oh, how I’d love to win,” one friend said, clasping her hands.
“I’ve never bought a ticket,” I admitted. Curious about my friend’s animated eyes, I asked, “What would you buy?”
“A new faucet,” she replied.
“Ha!” my other friend said, grinning wide. “For my mansion.”
After our chuckles subsided, my friends and I rattled off our wish lists which included unlimited Christmas gifts and exotic travel destinations. “I’d love to see Australia,” I said, imagining snorkeling the coral reef and touring to see koalas, kangaroos, and exotic birds in their natural habitats. “Okay,” I said, feeling excited. “I’ll buy my first ticket.”
Two dollars later, I slipped a Powerball ticket into my jeans pocket. It seemed to buzz. Such a small thing with so much potential. And so much responsibility. By 10:00 tonight, I could be a multi-millionaire.
I stand at the sink peeling potatoes. If I won, people would find out. I’d lose all privacy and be scrutinized every time I left the house. I pick up a second potato. On the plus side, I could hire a cook to make gourmet meals while I played. I could squander my days playing tennis, cross country skiing or taking my grandchildren on adventures and nature walks.
A walk in the woods? My shoulders tensed. Would I dare go in the deep woods? Probably not. I’d be too nervous a kidnapper would spring out from behind a tree and grab my grandkids. No, I wouldn’t dare hike without a squadron of body guards.
I hear my husband using the blower to clear the sidewalk of snow. If I won the Powerball, we wouldn’t have to do menial tasks like gardening or lawn care. But projects like that help us stay fit. I suppose we could build a gym or a tennis court or join a health club. It might be fun to work out with new friends.
New friends . . . I peer out the window at my friendly neighborhood. If I became rich, would I suspect new friends were only interested in me because of my wealth? Yes, it would make me wary.
My husband and I might decide to build our dream house. I’d need to give my input on location (along a trout stream) and spend long days deciding on design and decorating. I’d be so busy, I couldn’t spend as much time on my favorite pursuits or passions, such as writing. Once our new home was built, we’d have to pack up and say goodbye to our neighbors. I frown. I like my neighbors. Maybe this becoming wealthy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Still, I think of being able to help the grandkids with college tuition or a vehicle. I tilt my head and pause. A student who doesn’t invest any of his own money might think he or she doesn’t need to take college seriously. I certainly wouldn’t want to contribute to that attitude or change the values their parents have instilled in them. And what about purchasing a vehicle for teenage grandchildren. What if they wanted a sports car and, while showing off to friends, drove too fast and had an accident resulting in serious injuries?
750,000,000 dollars . . . Such a responsibility. I’d have to carefully consider what to do with all that money. I’d need to spend long days studying investments and the stock market or investigating who to hire to do it for me. Not my idea of fun.
Still, this money could do a lot of good. I think of the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation which helps improve people’s health and wellbeing including sufferers of AIDS. What cause would I choose to support? World hunger? Education including job training? The environment? Hurricane or natural disaster relief? I sigh heavily suddenly feeling exhausted.
I stay up later than usual that night enjoying what could be the last moments of my simple life.
In the morning I’m anxious to move on and end the “what ifs.” I drive to the gas station where I purchased the Powerball. As I hand it over to the clerk to scan, I’m still torn. Do I really want to win?
The clerk shakes her head. “Sorry.” She hands me back the ticket.
Part of me rejoices, another part grumbles. I close my fist over the ticket. Worthless, I think, a waste of money. I’m about to throw it in the trash, but then stop.
Two dollars for taking stock of my life and what’s important isn’t such a bad deal. In fact, I’d say it’s a bargain. It showed me just how wealthy I already am.