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An essay entitled: What I’ll do when I win the lottery. By: Me.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Haven’t we all had this thought on numerous occasions? Not only do I have this thought constantly, but I am sometimes legitimately shocked when I see my numbers don’t match. Shocked! I re-check the ticket over and over and (I’m embarrassed to say), refuse to throw this small pink slip of paper away until it’s checked by a trusty lottery specialist (19-year-old girl with an attitude giving me the stink-eye because I interrupted her smoke break) to make sure I didn’t ‘accidentally’ read the numbers wrong. Planning what I’m going to do with my massive winnings (because in my fantasies, I don’t win the $40 million jackpot, but rather the $360 million jackpot) is one of my favorite hobbies.

Here’s a glimpse into some of my plans:

-First, I’d have to fly somewhere immediately after my win to let the local buzz die down. God forbid I have media and unknown relatives pounding down the door of my 700 foot condo! As an aside, I often wonder where I’d do interviews after my win. I doubt I’d have time to buy decent furniture, so would I be sitting on the lawn chairs I only pull out for company? (I don’t have decent seating in my condo. My priority was the couch and not where I was going to seat the other 2 people who visit me regularly). So yes, a few days of relaxation before the buzz begins is on the agenda.

-Next I’d start giving the money away. That’s right. Before I even start spending I’d begin to give it away. I’d pay off every bill my parents and in-laws may have and then let them choose the house of their dreams. I’d set up trusts for my nephew, niece and a few others (even though I have no idea what a ‘trust’ really is. Is this the suitable alternative to just mailing them a box of cash? Is there some way I’m saving on taxes here? I have $360 million. I don’t mind floating the government some). I’d also start setting up some charitable foundations. I’m probably going to need a lawyer at this point because even though I’m super stoked knowing I want to help children, animals, cure diseases and feed starving people, I also know that again, my first instinct in to send a box of money. And even I know that starving children in Africa aren’t going to know what to do with my newly minted $100 bills. Also, I’d like to tour the places I’m giving my money to, but I would rather not do it alone. So, I’d take a few friends along on my charitable African trip. I’d also take Ryan Gosling. He seems charitable. And I’m pretty sure we’d get along well.

I won’t fully go into the other gifts I would give to family and friends, the home I would buy and other things I would do for the world because I actually have a point to all of my rambling. Here it is: Whenever I imagine winning the lottery I get very excited about all the things I could do for both myself and for the world. And although I’m shocked when I don’t win, I’m not always disappointed. Partly because it feels really good to set out all of these well-made plans. It’s fun to dream and imagine all the fun things I would do. But also because every time I do this, I have this crazy realization that I don’t need $360 million to help others or myself. Yes, the money would pay off bills, set up trusts and buy Ryan Gosling, but I don’t need money to do something in this world. I only need me and a drive to make the world a better place for my friends, family and for myself.

Ultimately, what do I really want? It’s not the things money can buy (although it would buy a lot of beautiful Louboutins). It’s the feeling I think I’ll get if I have all this money. It’s the feeling of security knowing I don’t have to worry. It’s the feeling of purpose knowing I’ve helped the world. And beyond what money can buy, I think what we’re all hoping for is love and a sense of peace and happiness. Understanding that, I know I don’t actually have to win the lottery. Looking around, I kind of already have. I have a husband who adores me even when I’ve a raving lunatic, a warm and loving home I can feel comfortable walking around unshowered and in sweats in, a family who loves and supports me and every crazy idea I have and I have the ability to help the world right now. So I encourage you to do this: Look at the lottery of your life right now. Aside from all the material things you’d buy, what would you do if you won the lottery that you can do right now? Instead of waiting for that fateful day, start living your life now. Be immensely grateful for what you already have (because, in fact, you’ve already won a lottery of sorts to be blessed in the way you have) and start to think how you can make this world a better place today. Because we’ve all heard money doesn’t buy happiness. Happiness comes only from ourselves.

Although money does buy cupcakes and that’s kinda the same thing as happiness, right? Kidding. 🙂

What’s making me smile right now:

Did I tell you I got a tattoo? I did! Some of my best girlfriends and I got them together and thank goodness I had company! I managed to pass out 90 seconds into this tiny 3 minute tattoo. Ridiculous.

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