I like to think that I'm in touch with the zeitgeist, if not the actual current events of the day (since, you may recall, I turned off the news last year in an effort to retain my tenuous grip on sanity). One byproduct of this willful ignorance is that I have become the human version of the "water cooler," which is to say that if it's big enough news that people talk about it around me it's probably Very Big News Indeed. Big like, say, a $540 million jackpot.
I'm not much of a lottery player since I never have cash and also am not lucky in that random-drawing kind of way. But a co-worker put together a lottery pool in the office yesterday and I figured whatthehell? It's not like I want to be the lone employee left at the office if all my colleagues are suddenly raptured by the Mega Millions.
Like untold thousands of Americans yesterday, I then embarked on daydreaming about what I would do with my share of the office loot. The first thing I noticed was that I don't want to change much. My life is already filled with so much beauty that I wonder how I could possibly deserve it all. Sure, I would probably trade in my 8-year-old car on something with fewer random rattles. I would be happy to know that Ezra's college savings fund would be more, er, robust than it currently is. I would definitely pursue my long-time dream of designing and building a custom home, but still in the neighborhood where I now live. While I would likely quit my job, I certainly can't imagine a life that doesn't include work. I love to work, I get satisfaction and meaning from my labor. I guess I would just be more selective about the projects I undertake.
I would buy that new Nikon D800 I've been salivating over.
And the 24-70mm 2.8 lens.
I would push this dream of becoming an artist.
I would act like someone who could not fail.
These thoughts crossed my mind and then I realized, I don't have to win half-a-billion dollars to do those things. I am already cultivating my artist life. I am already saving for the D800. I could choose, today, to act like someone who can not fail. If I could manage that, imagine the authentic meaning it would bring to my life.
I know I'm probably underestimating the psychic impact that being suddenly catapulted into the 1% would bring. I might suddenly be turned into Gollum, corrupted and covetous of things that now barely ping my radar. And on the infinitesimal chance that our numbers come up tonight, I'll be happy to take the opportunity to prove myself under those circumstances.
But noticing that my dreams don't require that kind of luck is its own kind of win. Talent, work, and chutzpah? Yeah, I'm going to need a whole lot of those. But at least those are the things I don't have to leave to random chance.