How often do you hear people say something to the effect of:
If I just had the winning lottery numbers…
This statement seems to be a punctuation on one’s life situation. The ellipsis of the statement implies a finality of sorts, that all will be well and wrapped up in a tidy and neat package not unlike your standard situation comedy. We hold up the giant novelty check boasting its array of zeros then the credits roll acknowledging the best boy, gaffer, and key grip that helped create the drama of our life that has finally ended.
If we are so bold as to remind these winnings wishers that money cannot, does not, and will not solve all our problems, we will be met with a wizened nod, a furrowed brow and a statement of acknowledgement. Yet this fantasy seems to be the trump of all fantasies, the solution to the daily grind of the deal we’ve made with society, that we will use our efforts and energy to contribute to its continued functioning and in exchange it will provide us with a paycheck. We seemed to have attributed the drudgery of life to this evil obligation to which we have become subjected.
It goes without saying how much power we’ve given to the idea of wealth. We have come to believe that the power of wealth offers us the ability to obtain joy beyond that which we could experience within our current means. Now I’m not one to be so dismissive of the wonderful things we can bring into our life with a little extra cash. But the best way I’ve found to determine the true value of anything reaches beyond arranging things by price. It’s simple, really. I take a very generous winning amount, say $100,000,000.00, then inventory every single thing I currently have in my life that matters to any degree, and one by one ask myself if I would give it up for that magical amount.
I like to review the value of what I have in my life in this way as it reminds me of the wealth I currently have. It could be said that I could have 100 million handed to me and not have to give up those things that could not be bought by that hefty price tag. However, if our lives are in such a state that it can go from merely tolerable to glorious with the endorsing of a leviathan check, then aren’t we actually selling the non-negotiables? Perhaps we have already sold them if we do not recognize the fulfillment and completion they give us, if they do not bring peace into our lives with their own value and reward.
It is okay to cast a penny in a well and wish for grand winnings. But the payoff comes when at the same time we place a penny in our pocket and give thanks for the wealth we already have in our life.