Thoughts in line buying Powerball tickets

So I bought some lottery tickets. I normally don’t. Growing up, my parents never played the lottery or gambled at all. I remember my dad saying Why should I spend money on that? I could just give that money to you and you’d actually do something with it.”

My dad didn’t give me money then, but at other times he did when I needed it. I’ve been exposed to the lottery with my previous job, producing a live lottery show. I bought a few tickets here and there, but only as a way to connect with what I was covering. I never really thought I would do it again.

But this jackpot was so big. Last week, it climbed to $900 million. I read posts and stories in different feeds and started thinking about what that number actually meant. What could I do with that money? What would it mean to my parents, my sister, close friends, the community? I wouldn’t quit my job, I thought, I should stay grounded. I would give money so my parents can retire, help my friends pursue career dreams, give back to my community (and college Latin department). And I would most probably buy a nice house, a new car and every single new Apple device.

Several minutes passed with these delirious dreams. For some reason, I thought if I bought a ticket, I’ll win! Why not?

I didn’t buy a ticket and no one won that jackpot. The money grew. The thoughts came back. All the good things for everyone…

The line was long at the Meijer gas station. I was going to buy five tickets for $10, but ended up with 10 tickets for $20.The thing about the lottery is you have to use cash to buy the tickets. I mostly use my cards, so handing actual money” felt strange unique. As I paid for the tickets, I began thinking about the things I would do with the $20. I could take a friend out to lunch, save for a new car, make a donation to a local nonprofit.

Was it possible that I could I do all the things I wanted without the lottery money? Could I still help my family and friends achieve their goals? It wouldn’t be a one-time benevolent fix, but it’s still within my grasp with my current income and time.

So maybe I’m out some money, but it’s clear now that it shouldn’t be an obstacle or a the one solution, even if, for a minute, it seems like it could be.

January 13, 2016