Tuesday, April 10, 2012

If you won a lottery, would you quit your job?

That was a newspaper headline this morning, a variation on the other lottery-themed headlines I've been watching for the past couple of weeks. I don't gamble. The lottery is gambling. Therefore, no lottery for me. But I really love the If I Won the Lottery game and I'm not sure my principles are up for the challenge.

I already don't "work." But there's lots of other stuff I'd do if I won the lottery . . .
  1. Pay off everything. Loans, house, that pesky credit card, everything.
  2. Go see our finance guy and set up everything we need to set up (including revised budgets).
  3. Church (organ fund, mission fund, new parking lot, etc.).
  4. Donations to our college, NPR, PBS, and local places we love like The Magic House, St. Louis Science Center, etc.

    Here's where the list really gets fun. This is where I usually start fantasizing:
  5. Pay off this sibling's outstanding debts.
  6. Pay off this other sibling's mortgages/student loans
  7. Buy a new house for yet another sibling.
  8. Buy my mother-in-law a red Mustang convertible.
  9. Remodel my parents' house.
  10. Encourage Paul to go back to school.
  11. When the kids are all in school all day, go back to school, myself.

    And then there's the stuff for us that's fun to imagine:
  12. Remodel this house.
  13. Buy or build our dream house in our dream neighborhood (only about 3 miles from here).
  14. Dress my children in the sorts of clothing I imagined they'd wear, before I had children and experienced the allure of inexpensive sweat-shop produced cheap clothes. And additional pairs of good shoes.
  15. When I'm feeling decadent, I imagine all sorts of things for myself, too. A personal trainer. Babysitter. Hair cuts. Pedicures. Nice clothes. (I am very cheap when it comes to spending money on myself for anything other than food.)
  16. Thinking of food - a personal chef to make nutritious, delicious meals a few nights a week would be awesome! Or even just someone to do the grocery shopping from time to time. But all this other stuff is second tier. At this point, I usually reload the fantasy and start again with imagining making my siblings' lives easier or just saying "yes" the next time a worthy cause calls to ask for money.

This pastime is one of my guilty pleasures. I don't find the game particularly constructive. It's fun. It helps me identify my priorities. But eventually I just end up wanting. And I'm not sure that's such a good thing.


Rob Monroe said...

It's funny, when Anny and I had this conversation about six months ago I listed off church, big trips to family et cetera and left off pay our bills or buy a house. I would never want to quit working, which I know is not what folks are supposed to say but it's true!

Kristi Lonheim said...

When the jackpot gets really big I buy a ticket and play the same game - well worth the $1.

Orange said...

Buy a grand house and hire a housekeeper, landscaper, and personal chef to maintain the property (and us!). There are million-dollar old houses (some Prairie style) a few blocks away from me in Chicago, so I wouldn't even have to leave my neighborhood.

Sarahlynn said...

Orange, yes, ditto to all that. I've even had imaginary conversations with the staff.

Kristi, good luck!!

Rob, no, I think it's probably a bad idea to stop working altogether. Maybe that's part of why so many lottery winners end up in trouble. Work gives our lives structure, if not purpose.

Of course I find that in caring for my children. But if one has children in school all day (or grown children or no children) and two adults at home (plus, possibly housekeepers, chefs, or landscapers) what does one do with all the time?

If I had a job that was not fulfilling and household management didn't fill my days, I'd find a job that fit with my passions (e.g. writing) rather than one that provides the necessary salary and benefits. Volunteer work is also work.

But I would be unfulfilled if I spent all my days shopping, eating, watching TV, and dinking around on the internet. My husband would go stir crazy. He'd *definitely* keep working (after getting his PhD, of course).

I'd love to be a professional student. Bliss!