Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

For those of you who live in the United States, or Canada, or Earth, you may be aware that there was this lottery brouhaha going on during the last few weeks, where the Power Ball jackpot grew to eclipse the GNP of small nations (at least Greece, anyway). People were lining up to win what ended up being over a billion dollars. BILLION. I got in on the fun after my sister who ALWAYS wins asked me to go halfers with her since she’s in Canada and thought she couldn’t buy tickets on her own (but maybe she could). Figuring her luck might rub off on me, I joined the frenzy.

It is very interesting to contemplate winning a gazillion dollars. The last year and a half have been interesting for us financially as we embarked on two start-up businesses WHILE parenting the twins and Bisky. For the most part, we chose this exact situation, but every once in a while I freak out and apply for jobs I don’t want because it seems more responsible and then get really sad about being gone all day and end up sabotaging the interview or praying I don’t get called back. I realized BEFORE the whole Power Ball stuff that OTHER than a steady stream of capital and dental benefits I am living the life I’ve always wanted, and maybe the sabotage is in trying to jump back into mainstream instead of just enjoying the view from the shore.

Yes, balance is tough and sometimes the problems of abundance feel overwhelming and it can be a mind bender to NOT travel the beaten path if you tend to over analyze and beat yourself up for not being like everyone else but overall getting lots of time with the littles, and working with amazing clients, and helping people get jobs and coaching people to achieve their dreams is about as close to heaven as I’m likely to get this side of the ground. And Dreamy’s life is pretty good too, so he says.

And yet I still spent some Christmas money on a Power Ball ticket!

I actually felt embarrassed buying the things…I would blame my sister (sorry, Amy) and make excuses about how I didn’t really BELIEVE I’d win (again, sorry Amy…my losing mojo is better than your winning mojo) but at the same time I developed several plans about how to spend the money. My favorites are:

  • Design and build a new house with enough rooms for everyone, including au pairs (cuz maybe we’d have TWO) and guests  and a gym, and a secret passage and a slide in a beautiful area.
  • Design and build a house in California and live there several months of the year.
  • Build the best treehouse in the world in our backyard, with a slide and maybe a secret passage.
  • Grace’s contribution was to build a full-size gingerbread house with vanilla frosting on all the walls and graham cracker floors.
  • Establish a charitable foundation to fund entrepreneurs to learn how to plan and run their businesses so they can be self-sustaining
  • Believe it or not, we also planned to tithe our full 10% plus generous contributions to other non-profits who have helped or inspired us (yes I know Mark Cuban says not to and he’s way smarter than me about money, but that’s what we were going to do) but how awesome for our church and former church to get a multi-million dollar check.
  • Figure out how to help family and friends without ruining their lives

And so naturally, I started worrying about how having all this money might affect me and my circle. Here are some things that would suck about being a billionaire, in case you thought it was all strawberries and rainbows.

  • Hello…kidnapping? You ever notice the really nice cars in the parking lot parked a hundred miles from the doors so nobody scratches or steals them? This would be YOUR LIFE and your kids’ lives. Armed body guards all the time. You would be hounded by the media and the whole world no matter what. As an introvert, this alone almost makes it not worth it.
  • Your kids would almost certainly grow up completely oblivious to the concept of working or saving for something they wanted. Now, maybe this wouldn’t matter…it’s not like they’d EVER have to work but I just have a feeling this might not be good for them. Ditto for all the people who were going to get a million dollars just because you have a billion. It might actually really screw them up and set them up for massive personal trauma.
  • Most of your current relationships would get weird and all your new ones would be. I don’t think everyone in my life would ask me for money, but it would still be a weird thing. And how much is enough. When I think about people really close to me winning a BILLION dollars, I realized that it would be weird. Just weird.

I pretty much came to the conclusion that I’m not emotionally mature or spiritually fit enough to win a billion dollars when I realized that as I fantasized about winning that I was become resentful at the thought of sharing the jackpot with more than 1 or 2 other lottery winners who weren’t related to me. See, if I had a BILLION dollars I could give millions away without stressing out but if I ONLY had a few million I’d have to be a lot more discerning about how I was spending. So, the ugly truth is my generosity is somewhat dictated by my circumstances…yuck. Better get on that one, God.

And really, what I’d really want is the financial security to work at my calling, spend time with my most loved ones and maybe do some traveling. So basically, the life I have now with a guarantee that I’d always have ‘enough’…only sometimes I have a teensy eensy problem with ‘enough’.  So, as I continually tell Bisky, maybe instead of getting upset about not getting what I want, I should work on wanting what I have. So overall, I think I shall survive the not winning.

However, I am mourning the treehouse and gingerbread house, ‘cause those would have ROCKED.

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