Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Winning the lottery


If you won the lottery, what would you do with your life?

It's a great question to ask to help yourself figure out your passions in life.

If you had all of the time, money, and energy in the world, what would you do with your life? I mean, after you'd bought the giant beach house and the Ferrari and stocked your closet with Armani and Versace. Once your material desires were fulfilled and you had boundless free time, what would you in life that would make you truly happy?

Decluttering my home is about reclaiming my life. Reclaiming my life is about being able to do the things that I really want to do without material things standing in my way. 

So, if I had all of the time, money, and resources in the world, here's what I would do. 
  1. Move to Spain and perfect my Spanish. Maybe I can't perfect my Spanish without moving to Spain, but I can take some more classes or use the Rosetta stone software my mom got me for Christmas. 
  2. Travel the world. See more of the places I love: Spain, Germany, Hawaii, the Southwest USA, London--and the places I'd love to see-- the Canary Islands, Pompeii, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico. I can read about these places, or save money for trips. I can enjoy these places without needing to stay in five-star suites.
  3. Read all of the books on my Goodreads list. Well, if I focus on this now, I could accomplish this. I don't need to win the lottery to do this. 
  4. Learn to play guitar really well. I haven't done this because lessons are expensive. But if this is a priority in my life, I need to set the money aside to do this.
  5. Go to nursing school. Not to be a nurse. Just for the knowledge. I'd be a lousy nurse. Maybe I could study my old anatomy and physiology textbooks more, or take a couple evening classes.
  6. Play the piano more. Maybe I need to set aside some time each night to play.
  7. Learn to figure skate. Again, this is something I'm not doing because it's expensive. But if it's that important to me, I need to set aside the money.
  8. Swim, bike, and run more. Methinks I need to sign up for a sprint triathalon. 
  9. Get a full-time psychologist and dietician and beat my eating disorder for good. Telling myself that I need full-time treatment is just a lie that ED tells me to keep me sick. I can beat this without full-time treatment. I just need to focus a little more than I have been lately. But I've made so much progress and I have to trust that I can continue to make progress with outpatient support.
  10. Get a personal trainer and get in good (not perfect) shape. Since I've had body image issues, I feel that it's important for me to treat my body as well as possible. Being in good, healthy shape is something I obviously need help with. So in the next 365 days I will save the money and take the time to do this for 3 months.
  11. Finish the embroidery Gram left me when she died. I spend a lot of time watching old TV shows. I can do this while doing those. 
  12. Watch everything in my Netflix queue. This will be easy to accomplish if I set my mind to it. I get bored during Winter and could easily do this towards the end of the year, if I make it a priority.
  13. Put together my family genealogy back to the Jacob Werner, the first of our family members to come to the states in the 1600s. I have everything I need to do this. I just have to take the time. I don't need to make the time -- I'm realizing I already have it.
  14. Learn enough German to read the letters from my mom's father and grandparents. It's easy to find language classes in DC. I just have to make it a priority.
  15. Get all of my photos in order. I could never pay someone to put these things in order because no one else has lived my life. So why don't I start doing this now?
  16. Finish my memory book of Gram. Gathering the pictures and writing down my memories of her is not something I need to win the lottery to do. But I do need to find the time to do it.
  17. Get really good at making wedding cakes. There's a bakery around the corner that offers private lessons. Again, if it's a priority for me, then I should find the money to do it. This means more to me than eating out. Though eating cake shouldn't be an issue.
  18. Spend more time just relaxing (preferably on a warm, sunny beach). I need to make time for myself each day. I can relax without being on Waikiki beach. I can, though, make a point of going to a beach each year, even if it's nearby.
  19. Eat fresh raspberries every day. At $3 a day this could get expensive. But maybe I can make a point of picking up a package every Sunday, or something.
  20. Wear perfectly-tailored, beautiful clothes. With starched, pressed creases. I'm apparently obsessed with creases. I know I need to buy better-fitting, better-quality clothes than I own right now in order to feel good about myself. But I also need to take the time to take care of those clothes. I can make a point to press everything for the week on Sunday night.
  21. Get a massage every day. That's way too expensive to maintain at my current income level, but I can make a point to get one of these on a regular basis. A couple times a year, at least. I could ask for these as presents when people say, "what do you want for [insert holiday here]?"
  22. Live off the grid and have an estate where I can hire local farmers to grow my own food on my land. I want to live big with less impact. I can start now by growing more of my own food and putting more of what I've learned about sustainable living into practice. 
On your list, how many of the things could you really accomplish now if you just focused yourself and your resources on them? Please share the things you'd do that would make you happy if you had unlimited resources. Win the lottery today. At least in your mind. 





21 comments:

  1. Hmmm... you know, about 5 or 6 years ago (I fear I've lost count) I reached the point where I no longer had to work for a living. I still need to bring in some money, but not a whole lot, and I've found ways to do it that don't involve having a job.

    The thing is, when I first quit being employed, I thought that life would be one giant expanse of empty time, and I was even a little bit afraid of how I'd fill it all up. So out of either fear or habit (still not quite sure which) I threw myself into my new money making endeavors and wound up making twice as much money as when I was working.

    In a funny way I sort of felt like I HAD won the lottery. I didn't have to work, and yet I had more money than I'd ever had in my entire life.

    I spent some of the money foolishly, and also felt a great need to be busy "bettering myself" with all the things I'd "always wanted to do." But I guess somewhere along the way I started to figure out that all of my desire to "accomplish" things was really just my way of trying to outrun my inner demons.

    I'm not exactly sure what my point is, but reading your list sort of made my head spin. I still haven't made peace with all of my demons... not by a long shot, but the more tame they become, the less desire I find I have to get "good" at anything.

    Anyhow, I guess I'm currently working on numbers 12 and 16. I don't hold out much hope of completing either, but they are worthy goals nonetheless! :)

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    1. #12 seems to be like a lot of things in our lives: no matter how much we chip away at them, we seem to always be able to add more :o) It sounds like you're making good use of all of the free time you've had though!

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  2. Reading this made my head spin too, LOL! I am at a point in my life where I don't have many desires or goals. I take care of my daughter and try to enjoy every day. I don't have to work, and my husband has lots of free time too. We are comfortable and do not want the ferrari and armani... travel is fun occasionally, but we are not constantly dreaming of getting away, I guess our life is relaxed enough and we don't want to travel so much for ecological reasons either. We do things that we like, but do not feel pressure to "succeed" or whatever. Since we had to leave our home because of serious mold issues, our current number one dream is to just find a nice and healthy place to settle in! A safe home somewhere we like living in.

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    1. Funny thing is that I think I did this list because I'm afraid that I'm not going to have any free time once we have kids! lol At that point I think just the time with my family will be enough, and a few things from my list will just evaporate as our kids become our passions in life. I enjoy hearing from moms who've been able to balance their own needs and desires with the responsibility of taking care of their kids. It sounds like you've figured out a good balance!

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  3. I no longer work. In this country nobody has to work unless they actually want to. I live quite comfortably on my superannuation because of my age. You know what I have learned? Start doing the things on your list right now, this very minute. When you get older you look silly in fancy clothes. When you get older learning new things is more difficult. When you get older you no longer have the eyesight, flexibility, or the general health to do some of the things you would like. Do the good stuff NOW. No matter what!!!

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    1. Wow Louise, this is a good and powerful reminder, thank you!

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    2. Oh yes. I wish I had appreciated my body when I was thinner at the start of college, but it was never enough, and I got an eating disorder. And now my natural weight is quite a bit above that. I hated myself the entire time and wish I had enjoyed being the size I was. You're absolutely right. NOW is all that matters.

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    3. Amen! NOW is really all there is.

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  4. Like you, I have so many things I'd like to do if I won a lottery. The main reason I'd like to win it, is to be free from work. Because now even if I do as you say, set my priorities and put money aside, I could never follow all of my passions with just a few hours a day + the weekends. I have a full-time job (and it's not one of my passions) but I soooo dream of a part-time one. I hope in a couple of years I can realize that dream.
    In the meantime, I spend most of my free time either travelling (in a cheap way) or getting my photos in order & putting them online. And I go to a French language class twice a week in the evening. And I see my friends. And I try to declutter my apartment. And I try to spend as much time as possible with my husband and keep our relationship as healthy as it is now. And... and... and... so as you can see I have too many things I want to do (there's more of course!!) and not enough time...
    Sabrina from Italy

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    1. Nice to meet you and thanks for reading! The feeling of there never being enough time is always a tough one. I feel like even if I didn't have to work there would never be enough time because I could always come up with something new to do. But hey, you know what your priorities are!

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  5. I love this game. I would like to putter around the house, my new beachside cottage, natch, garden, write, travel a bit. Maybe take college classes purely for the fun of it. Yeah, that sounds pretty good.

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    1. Isn't it funny how so many of us thought school was agonizing while we were there, but the minute we have free time/money we want to go back?

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  6. Usually this kind of open-ended question gets a bland, general answer from me "Oh, you know. Buy all the things," etc. However, now that I've graduated college, and my priorities are shifting, I see myself with more narrowly focused goals, and I can honestly say I have a bright future. Like OP, I would love to travel the world, learn more languages, have great clothes, get a massage every day, but I would also like to use said hypothetical money to set my parents up. They don't have insurance that covers mental health, and they need professional help in their home and lives in general. Even though I haven't won the lottery, after having all these positive thoughts, I feel better about working all the time for the past seven years, and doing everything it took to get through school.

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    1. That's a really great insight, one that's missing in the minimalist blogosphere -- that life sometimes give meaning to the work, instead of our work needing to be meaningful. Some minimalists quit their jobs to get a meaningful life. The rest of us work in order to have a meaningful life. It sounds like even if you haven't won the lottery, your parents have a great, caring daughter :o)

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  7. This is a fun list... I'm much too lazy at the moment to create one of my own, but know that I appreciate yours.

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    1. It only takes two things to make a list! Short lists actually may be better than long ones. It's easier to do two things than twenty. Thanks for reading!

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  8. I love your list! If resources were unlimited, I'd take a year off from work and school and travel with my husband and kids around the world and write about our adventures. I would LOVE it. I'd find ways to exercise all over the world, mainly by walking everywhere or doing yoga or learning to ski or swim in the ocean. It would be amazing. Yep, that's what I'd do.

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    1. I love how traveling is in almost everyone's wish list. But the exercising all over the world is a new twist! What a great way to connect yourself to the place you're visiting. Especially with yoga. I should try that next time I travel. Hm, yoga on a beach... (sounds like a cocktail!)

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  9. Thanks for sharing your ambitious list--it made me reflect. The first things that came to mind to answer the question re if I won the lottery:I would hire a computer coach, gardener, housecleaner,cook, interior designer. I don't know what it means that I would like a team of experts to help me with my daily life. Perhaps I should think about it!

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    1. Well, I may be able to help with the interior designer part. Jessica at http://mnmizestudio.com/ is doing some free designs for a little while to build her portfolio as she starts her career in interior design. She did one for us and it was awesome!

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