With all the talk of lotteries and debt lately, there have been many fantasies going through my head. I’m sure you have them, too.
“If I had a million dollars, I would pay off all my student loans and go on a cruise.”
“I would donate most of it to my favorite charity.”
“All I want is a new car”
Another seemingly unconnected topic that floats in and out of my brain is the idea of downsizing my life.
Honestly, if I won the lottery, I don’t see myself living the glamorous life by any means. Between James and me, we would use the money to pay off all of our debts, finally build and move into a place of our own, and just live comfortably. After all is said in done, depending on our fictional lottery winnings, we would probably have to pick up jobs afterwards to sustain our lifestyle.
The beauty part of working after your debts are paid off: You can work how you want to work! And working less hours means you would have more time to focus on what’s more important.
I have created a list of 5 things in my life I would devote more time to if a job or money wouldn’t get in my way. In order for you to get a better idea, let me paint you a picture of this glorious event if it were to happen.
James and Lyssa purchased the winning lottery ticket. After taxes, they will be receiving $1,000,000.00! After a few celebratory drinks, they sit down and begin to devise a plan for the money. They divvied it up between their new home, two new gas-efficient vehicles, their debt, emergency fund, retirement, a huge donation to our families, a massive donation to Lyssa’s sister’s daycare, miscellaneous donations to our favorite charities, and college fund for any future children they may have. Oh yes, and a nice basset hound named Quincy and a Persian kitty named Duke.
With less debt on their minds, and their future comfortably funded, they are able to work less hours and still be able to cover their basic living expenses. This, in turn, frees up time they would have otherwise spent working their butts off to get to such a point of comfortable living.
Here is what I would like to focus on in my extra time. Never mind the vacations, the fancy boats, loud motorcycles, or glamorous pieces of jewelry. These are the things that would matter most to me:
The best times I ever had in my life typically revolved around a volunteer activity. Last year, James was working as a church youth director and had recruited many of his congregation members to come ring bells for the Salvation Army at the mall. It ate up an entire Saturday, but it was a blast! We got to meet all sorts of people. I personally enjoyed seeing the ways these kids enthusiastically cheered on the people who dropped coins and bills into the red kettle.
If given a choice, I would love to spend time volunteering at a local animal shelter. I’d also enjoy working with children or teens doing crafts or other creative activities.
That includes working on my novel, collaborating a book of my award-winning poems (yes, it’s so awesome to have those in my writing portfolio!), and working on this blog more faithfully. This may also include searching out writing groups or creating one!
My money situation has always been tight. So tight that I can’t always afford the extra gas money to visit my family. And now that we’re down to one vehicle, this endeavor is especially difficult. It would be great to see my nieces and nephews more often, especially on their birthdays and assorted holidays. It would also be great to afford the flight down to visit James’ family more often.
My senior year of college, I was a moving machine! I was in yoga, belly dancing, and swing dance. I loved it! These were the best forms of exercise, and I lost 10 lbs total in two semesters! Working my ass off to keep up with my debt has left little time for these recreational activities.
The one thing I really loved about yoga was the meditation. I still attempt to practice meditation even if I’m not participating in formal yoga. This just means I’m watching TV, or lying in bed, and I focus on my breathing and clearing my mind. It’s amazing how just breathing differently can affect your health, physically and emotionally.
In so many ways, I need to take care of myself. Vanity-wise, I have been wearing the same outfits I got a Goodwill quite a few years ago, I haven’t gotten a formal haircut in months, I’d love to wax my eyebrows, and I would like to look into getting more prescription glasses to match my changing looks.
Health-wise, I haven’t seen a formal doctor in over three years. I haven’t had decent insurance to cover the visit, and I haven’t been able to take the time off work to schedule an appointment (the before and after work appointments fill up fast). I would like to see a doctor about my ocular migraines and see a dentist about my wisdom teeth. I should also get my eyes checked out.
I am also the bearer of far too many quirks. Yes, they make up who I am, but sometimes it makes me painfully awkward and I’d like to tackle that piece by piece. I have an irrational fear of vomiting and I get anxiety from time to time. If I had the time and the money, I would seriously throw myself into some intensive therapy to get me somewhat closer to sane.