Mega Millions

I get up and get ready for work, happy because it’s not only Friday, but it’s payday Friday. AND it’s my last day of having to get up and go to the office, since after all, by this time tomorrow I’ll be the world’s newest half-billionaire.


That’s right, the Mega Millions jackpot is at a record-high $540 million and lotto fever has hit. Despite the fact that you’re about fifty times more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the prize, people are lining up to buy tickets to try to get those lucky numbers.

After tax, you’re looking at a take-home of about $253 million, lump sum. That’s 28 million Twinkies’ worth of money!! (No, I am not going to buy Twinkies. Just sayin’, you could buy a lot of Twinkies.) But since the odds are definitely NOT in our favor, why do so many people play?

We were talking about the Mega Millions at work the other day. Everyone pretty much had the same dream: to  have financial security for ourselves and our families, to secure nice homes and devote our time to charity work and good deeds. No one really wanted a flying car, or a mansion, just peace of mind.

I think that’s the thing that most people are really out to find when they play the lotto: peace of mind. It’s not that I want to sit around in my ‘Cribs’-esque mansion and not do anything all day. There’s a lot I want to do, if only I had the time: finish school in a subject that interests me, volunteer, travel. I want to make sure that my family and I are secure financially so that none of us ever have to worry. And yes, I do want to have adventures and travel.

I imagine having a nice house (not a gigantic mansion) that Paul and I design. I want nice, reliable cars to drive, and I don’t think I’d give up my current car for quite awhile since it’s brand new. And I want to know at the end of each day that the roof over my head is paid for and I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen in my life that might jeopardize my ability to pay my bills. I want to feel secure and safe, with no worries about basic survival. I never want to be faced with worrying about where I’m working, how much money I’m making, and if it’ll all still be there tomorrow.

Of course, I also want the luxuries that a fortune would provide, especially the luxury of deciding for myself how I want to spend my time. Used to be, people could plan and save for retirement and know that their days of going off to the office every day were limited, that when they were older they could relax and enjoy the fruits of their labors. When I started working for Verizon eight and a half years ago, I figured that would be me. I could put in my thirty years and retire. Now, in the current climate and economy, I have no idea if that dream is realistic anymore. I don’t feel that retirement is guaranteed for me, and I definitely don’t feel that I can attain it in the originally-planned thirty years. All my forethought and planning will more than likely NOT secure me the goal I’d made for myself, not through fault of my own, but just because the world’s a different place now.

So I have my ticket and I’m waiting for the magic moment tonight when all my dreams will become a reality and I will be financially secure for the rest of my days. After all, if someone’s going to win this, it might as well be me!

My First 5k

Over the last year, I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. This wasn’t easy for me, since I’m a creature of habit and love routine. And, change terrifies me, I confess. But I got tired of being afraid of doing something different, because I want to be the sort of person who is open to anything, ready for adventure.

I’ve done some pretty awesome things since deciding not to let fear hold me back…trying (and loving!) Zumba, jumping out of an airplane….and last Saturday, I ran my first 5k. I’d always looked at people who ran races sort of longingly, thinking how cool it would be to be able to do that. But I wasn’t a runner. In high school gym, I couldn’t even run the mile every Wednesday. I’d start out with the best of intentions, trotting my way around the track for the first lap before walking the rest, but it never even occurred to me that I might be able to run the whole thing. So I never even tried.

So in February, when my friend Kristy said to me, “Let’s run the St. Patrick’s Day Dash!” I agreed despite my worry that I’d make an ass out of myself because I can’t run. Instead of focusing on past failures, I calculated the amount of time before the race and made a plan to prepare for it. The first night I tried running, I decided that I was going to run the full distance, a full 3.1 miles. I was going to prove to myself that it was possible. And I was slow, I was tired, but I did it.

Running got easier with each week that I did it, and before long I was breezing through two miles.

The race was last weekend, which turned out to be a cold and rainy morning. The St. Patrick’s Day Dash is an annual event in Seattle, and it’s packed. At the beginning of the race, I couldn’t really run, just kind of bobbed up and down as I moved slowly forward through a huge crowd of people. Once the crowd thinned, we were able to really run.

Kristy and I finished in 44 minutes 34 seconds…pretty good in my opinion, especially since the actual distance we ran was more like 3.8 miles, so over a 5k. Not only am I really proud of myself for being able to complete it, I’m looking forward to finding another 5k to run soon.

I started off training for this race hating running, but being pushed forward by my goal of completing the race. Now I see running more as both a challenge and an accomplishment, something I can do and feel good about myself for doing.

Post-race, my friends and I celebrated and toasted each other with a beer at the Irishmen…at about 11am! Hey, it was St. Patrick’s Day after all!