If I won the lottery

Life As I Know It
By Nicole Daughhetee

Lottery tickets: I don’t buy them on a regular basis, but only because I know that statistically speaking I have a greater chance of being hit by lightning than I do winning the lottery. When there are ginormous jackpots, I might try my luck, figuring I really have nothing to lose but a dollar.

On those occasions, I find myself bargaining with God, even though I know He isn’t a wheeler-dealer. Given the opportunity for great creative license, my mind can certainly construct an elaborate “what I would do if I won the lottery” fantasy. I know I am not alone in this regard.

I would like to think that if I were to ever win the lottery and become a millionaire that I would remain grounded. This is always part of my prayerful pitch to God: not only will I remain level-headed, but I would be a most philanthropic person because, even with what little I have to offer financially, I already am.
My plan for the winning lottery money is quite simple actually, perhaps even bordering on methodically boring: Ten percent of my winnings would go directly to God for all of the blessings in my life. I adamantly believe in tithing and giving back to God what He has so generously given to me.

Secondly, I would eradicate all of my outstanding debt. I would pay off the mortgage on my mom’s house — the one she generously and lovingly shares with me and the girls. My student loan payments would be taken care of in one single check written out to the S.C. Student Loan Corporation. Medical bills, business investments gone awry and a certain degree of irresponsibility would vanish along with the increasingly unbearable weight of the albatross around my neck!

Overachieving planner that I am, I would put money aside to pay for Em and Ella’s Harvard education, with options for Master and Doctorate programs. That said, once they are old enough, they will find a part-time and summer job. I started working when I was 14 years old, and I strongly believe that having a job as a young person is an invaluable experience that teaches responsibility, provides a sense of independence, and demonstrates that nothing in this life comes free.

Friends and family members who have stuck by me through thick and thin would all get a generous portion of money to use at their discretion. Programs like The Dream Center, The Parenting Place, Rape Crisis, Marys House — all those agencies near and dear to my heart for the work that they do would not only receive financial contributions, but without the burden of debt, I would have more free time to be able to volunteer my services and do something to feel like I were really contributing and giving to others.

There are, of course, frivolous things I’d like to do as well. I am only human.

I have always wanted a Suburban, despite their non-environmentally friendly guzzling of gas. My mom is also in need of a new car, but that could be a column in and of itself. Over-hauling my kitchen would also be tops on my list of foot-loose and fancy-free expenditures: granite counter-tops, stainless steel refrigerator and a professional Kitchen-Aid mixer with all the bells and whistles I could afford.

I would also love the upright washer and dryer combos with the little portholes that allow one to watch their laundry. Considering the copious piles of laundry I encounter each week, I would splurge on a double set to cut down on the time I spend doing laundry.

When I think about it, there isn’t too much missing in my life. While I would love to be in a place where I am not forced to live paycheck to paycheck, I know I am slowly but surely working toward this goal.

Winning the lottery would be undeniably fabulous, but all the money in the world could never replace those things in life I prize the most: my daughters, my mom, and my family and friends. They add value to my life in ways that millions of dollars never could.