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Why I Didn't Win the Powerball Jackpot

I am sorry to disappoint you but I am not a billionaire. I know you may have been hoping to hear that I won the jackpot last night, and that your check is currently in the mail. But sadly I did not win. Of course, there was zero chance of me having the winning numbers. I know what you are thinking. There is always a chance right? I mean, someone has to win. A dollar and a dream and all that. But in my case there really was no chance because I never even bought a ticket.

Yes, you heard me right. Despite all the media hype and the Facebook posts and the fun pics of signs that could not go above 999, I didn't buy a Powerball ticket.

Don't get me wrong. I thought about buying one. I mean, everyone else was doing it. And who doesn't want to win the lottery.

Actually, me. 

Ok bear with me here. Because I actually gave this a lot of thought before deciding not to buy that ticket. And before we begin lets be clear. Yes, I like money. And yes, it would be nice to have a bit more of it. 

But what do people say about winning the lotto? What would they do?

"I would quit my job immediately!" Well, actually I love my job. In fact, if I had more money I would probably end up working more. We would get a new fancy dojo of course and fill it with all kinds of classes. And no, I would not hire someone to teach all those classes for me. I would be bored to tears! Plus, I would miss the little ones. They look so cute in their tiny gis.

"I would move to a bigger house." Nope, not me. First of all, I love the weird hipster neighborhood of Williamsburg, with its skinny jeans and uber-fancy coffee. I have no desire to live anywhere in Manhattan, or own a brownstone in Park Slope, or suburban Jersey, or even to move into one of those new fancy apartments by the river that are going to be completely underwater the next time a hurricane hits. So we would use our winnings to get a new paint job, maybe take over the upstairs apartment and cover it with mats or something. But actually, I like where I live. Why would I want more rooms to clean? And more furniture. And more shelves which I will then be required to fill with more stuff. Ugh. I have plenty of crap piled up on tables already. In fact, I could actually use throwing out some stuff. And no, despite the so-called American dream, I really have no interest in owning a house. Seriously. I like apartment living. I know what you house people do on weekends. You are "working on the house." You are refinishing things and repairing things and adding on and taking away. There are roofers and plumbers and floor guys in your life. I don't want to spend my Sundays with these people. (No offense meant to plumbers. Plumbers are cool.) Do you know where I am while all this house fixing is happening? The rock climbing gym with my kid.

"I would buy a..." Ok, truth be told,  if we won lotto we would probably buy a new Camry. Because ours belonged to my mom and is from like 1994. But since we have zero interest in moving out of the city (read above paragraph), we also have zero interest in having a fancy car that we then have to worry about all the time. Only a fellow beat up car owner would understand the glorious freedom in not caring one bit about the guy who accidentally touches your bumper while parallel parking. So no fancy cars. And we already have an X-Box and a plenty big TV and computers that we like and cellphones that we like. I like jeans from Old Navy and Matthew only wears t-shirts with motivational BJJ sayings on them. Maya has a roomful of toys. I guess we could buy some new couches. The point is, there isn't anything any of us really need, or even want. So instead we would end up buying a bunch of crap because we are supposed to and then we would need a bigger place to store all that useless stuff and I already explained how I feel about moving. 

"I would travel the world." Well, if you know me you already know how I feel about travel. I don't like sleeping in strange beds and flying in an airplane feels a bit like drowning to me. So aside from the obligatory trip to Disney World (for Maya) and maybe a few days sitting on a random beach somewhere, I would rather be home. In my small Brooklyn apartment. And thankfully I married a man who likes his own routine even more than I like mine. In other words to travel would require him missing his Tuesday/Thursday 12:00 jiu-jitsu class. Which would make him miserable. Unless perhaps the random beach is in Rio and there are some Gracies somewhere to train with, neither one of us have much interest in "getting away from it all." Besides, we have family here. Maya sees her grandparents twice a week, every week. Her visits are a very important part of what makes them happy. And there is no way my dad is flying to Rio.

Since we are talking about family, however, I would be remiss in not mentioning that it would be nice to toss my parents a few million dollars. Here you go guys. Move into a super fancy place that has a full time staff whose entire job is to make old people happy. Only it has to be in NYC, since as far as I know my parents have no desire to leave the city either. (They are OLD. Old people hate change!) So yeah, some money for them would be cool.

Also, we have a few friends whose lives are kind of stressful. It would be nice to toss them a few million too. 

And then there are all those sick kids. And the homeless. And those poor sad-eyed doggies in the ASPCA commercials (damn you Sarah Mclachlan!). So yes, it would be nice to help a whole lot of people. In fact, if I were ever to win lotto that is where a lot of the money would go. To others. 

But really have you guys ever really thought about what your life would be like? You cannot claim your winnings anonymously. (I know, I Googled it.) So that means the whole world would know of your riches. All your friends. All your family members. Do you know how many phone calls you would get from "cousins" who need just a little help? Not to mention the criminal masterminds who have absolutely no problem kidnapping your child, or following you down dark alleyways. So you would have to hire security guards. Who would then follow you everywhere. Everywhere. Ugh. In fact, most articles about winning lotto recommend you immediately move to a new place, where no one knows you. And that you tell absolutely no one about your money. Ever.

Those same articles also recommend things like setting up a special corporation so you can claim the money in a name that is not your own. And how to avoid people constantly trying to scam you. And how to invest your winnings. And how to avoid drug addiction and gambling addiction and depression. Yes, depression. Because it turns out that winning millions of dollars actually does not fix your relationship if it sucks, or give you a sense of purpose in life if you have none, or makes you healthier unless of course the reason you are sick is that you cannot afford health care. (In that happens to be you, I take back everything I said. I hope you win.)

In other words...wait for it....yes, money does not in fact buy happiness. 

In fact, if you quit your job and spend your days buying stuff and then sitting on the couch, staring at your stuff, and then sitting on your hotel bed staring at the Marriot's stuff, in the end you might realize that what you have actually bought yourself is a whole lot of emptiness.

Here is the part where you hate me for being all high and mighty. For being above all those material things like cars and vacation homes. Here is the part where you sit there in your very nice living room and say "What a smug, self righteous bitch!" 

So before I have to go hire a security guard to protect me from you, let me explain. What I felt after my decision last night to not buy the Powerball ticket was not smugness. It was not pride at what an enlightened human being I was. It was simply gratitude. 

I am thankful that although we occasionally struggle to pay bills on time, our life is not one of constantly wishing for an influx of money to save us. To put food on the table, or clothes on our backs.

I am grateful for a family that I do not want to be too far away from.

I am extremely thankful that my desire for a few newer, nicer things is nowhere near my desire to keep the rest of my life exactly the way it is. To not shake it up, even a little bit. To keep teaching where I am teaching and training where I am training and sending my kid to the public school down the block and climbing the rock wall on Thursdays and Sundays and eating at the same burrito place and the same diner and the same Italian restaurant. To keep hugging the same man every night. To keep hearing the same little girl's laugh every morning.

Are there changes I would like to make? Sure, but to be honest, most of them are within my own mind, with the way my brain works, and no winning lotto ticket is going to help with those. (Although I could buy some really good drugs!)

Also, I am fully aware that at any point we could lose this. The dojo could fail and either one or both of us could have to go work at jobs we hate, for bosses we hate. Our house could catch fire, our family members fall ill. We could have injuries that prevent us from being the athletes that we love to be. So I am grateful for all the things in my life that I do not want to change. It turns out there are a lot of them.

So actually, what I really feel is lucky.
Ew, I know. 

It is because I am already so damn lucky that I did not buy a Powerball ticket. 

Which of course means I would have won if I had.
Which means you would have been very rich this morning.

So yes, go ahead and hate me.
I understand.


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