Lottery Loser Takes All

Stephanie Hunt

I am out 10 bucks. 


That was what I and my office mates each pooled together in a collegial attempt to improve our odds at winning last week's lottery megaprize. We spent Friday scheming, dreaming, and drooling over what we'd do with our respective $59 million slice of the Powerball pie. For starters, I'd give that easy million, maybe more, to Bill Stanfield at Metanoia as I promised in last week's post-TEDx post. Job resignation letters were already typed up. We left for the weekend with fingers crossed and optimism oozing, and with Terrie, who held our tickets, under solemn oath and severe threat not to take the money and run after we won.  


We didn't. 


Terrie is not in Bora Bora sipping Mai-tais. Everyone else is still at their desk dilligently earning a living. It's a typical Wedsnesday—work, lunch, schlep the daughter to swim practice, pay a few bills, run a few errands. Mega-lottery millions remain a hazy mirage.


And yet I realized this morning as I walked my elegant greyhound through beautifully landscaped neighborhoods in Mount Pleasant, that, in fact, I won the lottery 50 years ago, when I was born to college-educated parents, in the United States of America, in New York City, no less—one of the world's primo cities. I may not have an extra $590 million floating around, but I have an education, three healthy children, satisfying work that (mostly) pays the bills. I have health insurance, a stocked kitchen pantry, a debit card that I can swipe for groceries without worry. I got to vote a few weeks ago, I can read and write, I have been immunized, I had access to birth control so could plan my family and be a working mother. My home and community was not terrorized and demolished by a tornado on Monday. My kid got to go to Disney World with her middle school band over the weekend. Fiifteen days from now, my second child will graduate from high school— in the top decile of a school ranked 10th best public high school in the nation. Forty-one days from today, I will celebrate 25 years of marriage. Last night I got to paddleboarding down Shem Creek alongside some sneaky peek-a-boo loons and a silver dolphin. This is my mega-wealth. 


So the question is, what will I do with it? How will I spend this incredible lottery stash that I've been lucky enough to have won, daily, for decades now. Sure it's fun to fantasize over what I'd do with a sudden outrageous windfall. It's easy to dream of what could be. It's much more challenging to spend lavish gratitude for what I already have. To acknowledge that by sheer fate of birth, geography, history, and some cosmic Powerball jackpot, my good fortune is right here, right now. Ten bucks says I'm a lucky winner; now to invest and spend it generously.