My late husband’s financial plan always relied on winning the lottery, and he faithfully bought a ticket when the numbers got high enough. If he ever won more, I never knew about it! I very rarely bought a ticket, but now that the possible payout is over $1 Billion (yes, billion with a “b”), I bought 4 tickets the other day. I only had $8 on me after I bought gas, so 4 was it. Besides, you only need 1 to win, right?
Last night I sat down and decided to come up with my list of how I’m going to spend my winnings when I get the money in hand. I had barely finished when my brother called, and we talked about how we would spend the money if either of us won. No surprise, we had vastly different plans. After the taxes were paid, and I gave 10% to charity (I do remember he said he wouldn’t do this – he’d prefer to give it directly to people rather than to let someone else decide who it goes to), I struggled to figure out what to do with all the remainder. I could only come up with another $6 million or so in expenditures. I would set up education trust funds for each of my grandchildren, pay off my kids’ student loans (and otherwise equalize this distribution since at least one no longer has student loans), and then I would buy a hobby farm and open a pet rescue (probably for beagles) operation. After that, I would make sure each of my kids had a nice enough house (no mini-mansions necessary) and reliable vehicles. And then I’d take my kids, grandkids, siblings, in-laws and outlaws, nieces and nephews (and their kids), on an around-the-world trip, which is the best education of all. And a girlfriend trip is in the mix, too. In a nutshell, this reflects my pre-lottery priorities: education, humanity, and travel. (It’s good to know the money won’t change me that much.)
My sister Theresa has a grand idea. She said the first thing she would do if she wins (note: she said “if” she wins, and I think in terms of “when” I win) is to take a long vacation and then call her kids to tell them where she is! I think that’s what I will do also; maybe I’ll invite her to come along…sounds like she could use a break.
But then I remembered another conversation I had yesterday with a girlfriend who lamented that she “didn’t have a Kevin,” and I knew what she meant. I had already won the lottery back in the summer of 2001 when I met Kevin. He was exactly the right guy for me, at the right time. My idea of marriage was a partnership between friends who fell in love, who worked every day at being in a relationship, practicing acceptance and honesty, sharing and giving, and caring. He treated me so very, very well, with generosity and laughter, and openness. What more could a girl ask for? The fact that he’s passed away now doesn’t mean I’m at a dead-end (NO pun intended). Because of the great experience I had of loving him and being loved by him, I am a better person, with happy memories and improved interpersonal skills that enhance all my relationships – whether with my children and grandkids or Toastmaster friends or co-workers or neighbors or new people I have yet to meet or anyone else I come into contact with. I lived that love for 13 years, and it will continue to pay residual dividends for the rest of my life. That’s winning!!
I read somewhere recently that if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. I can relate to that, and I do have those. It would be nice to have my Kevin to share those with me, but as that other saying goes, better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all. It’s comforting to know that I don’t need a billion dollars to make me happy. I can’t even spend it in my mind. I told my brother that $100,000 would give me financial serenity, given my sabbatical and limited funds right now. But I’m doing well anyway, so if the winning ticket isn’t hanging on my refrigerator, I won’t miss the money much. I’ve already won more than many people.