Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Dollar and So Many Dreams!

Like so many others, I woke this morning to find that I did NOT win the Mega-millions lottery.  At least one lucky winner in Maryland has that life-changing joy today.  Just buying the ticket and imagining the good we'd all do with the money is a very positive thing.  In my office, a number of us went in together on a ticket.  Then we all started talking about what we'd do with the money once we'd won.  It is very interesting to hear peoples' dreams out loud, to hear from their hearts the good they'd do before they even enjoy any of that money for themselves.  My friend Katie said she'd set up college funds for all her friends' children.  I said I'd take care of my children and grandchildren, and my six siblings so that they'd be all set.  Others expanded that idea to include their close friends.  At first we each said we'd like at least a million dollars, but with plans to help others realized we'd need at least two million, and maybe a third million as a cushion!  At least.

This particular lottery story, because of the record size of the jackpot, has the news media buzzing, setting up camp this morning outside the Seven Eleven store in Maryland where the one known winning ticket was sold.  News outlets are interviewing people on the street, asking "What would you do with the money if you won?" and the responses have a fairly universal thread, including quitting the nine-to-five, paying off bills, helping family -- all the things that, in my mind, would need to be done to clear the way to actually realizing the freedom of this new-found wealth.  It's fun to think about.

Here are my dreams, and what I would do, should half a billion dollars ever fall in my lap:

  • Keep it a secret for a while
  • Hire a trusted financial consultant who's dealt with managing big winnings before, and establish a plan for the money I'll keep and money for specific philanthropy (Smile Train, cancer research, adoption programs, education for disadvantaged women, etc.)
  • Take a leave of absence from my job, but not quit right away
  • Fly to Long Beach to visit Meghan and Mark in their new bigger apartment by the beach!
  • Go to Canyon Ranch for one month (to start!)  to prepare myself physically and nutritionally for the new life ahead.
  • Pay off all my bills
  • Set up trust accounts for my children and grandchildren 
  • Set up college funds for Henry and Peter, and any future grandchildren
  • Set up accounts for each of my six siblings 
  • Set up accounts for my closest friends and relatives - specific people, designated ahead of time to avoid the "out of the woodwork" situation.  If you're not on the list, I'm sorry, but you know I wouldn't be on your list, either (!)

And then, when that's all taken care of...

  • Build my own little house, close to Katie's and Bill's, with at least three bedrooms for company, a commercial stove, a pool, and a big garden.
  • Hire an expert to expand my blog to a wider audience, and publish that first cookbook.
  • Establish an annual travel fund for my family and friends (because memories are priceless).
  • Purchase that beach house with a third floor loft/art/writing studio that overlooks the ocean (New England, I'm thinking, so friends and relatives can drive to visit), and paint again.  A lot.
  • Buy fresh flowers whenever.
  • Travel all the time, sometimes by myself, and write about it.


Enjoy time with the people in my life.

Pretty simple.  At least I have a plan now, for when it could happen!  Like my mother used to say, "You have to be in it to win it!"

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