…but I’m not the only one. I, and 200 million other Americans, dreamt about what we would do once we won the $550 million Powerball jackpot a few weeks ago. Well, for me it would have been a mere $110 million, since I joined an office pool with four coworkers, but who’s counting?
I had never bought a lottery ticket before – it always seemed like a pointless waste of money. But once I did, I realized why millions of people buy lottery tickets regularly. It literally buys hope, a chance to dream. The night before the winning numbers were announced, I knew that I had a better chance of hitting three consecutive hole-in-ones than I did of winning the jackpot, but I didn’t care. It was fun to dream about what I would do with all that money.
I’d rent out a bar for the night and invite all my friends to celebrate – on me, of course. I’d quit my job, pay off my student loans, and fulfill my dream of travelling all over the world penning historical fiction novels. I’d buy a boat and sail around the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean, and wherever the hell else I wanted. I’d learn a couple new languages…
All with my husband, of course. Therefore, his opinion was of utmost importance to my (our) dream. I was fairly certain he’d be on board with the sailboat.
“Honey?” I asked Sven, “If we won the lottery, what’s the very first thing you would buy?”
“I don’t want to win the lottery,” he said. “I like our life the way it is.”
So much for dreaming…Sven snapped me back into reality. I wasn’t really surprised by his comments though. I’m ever the dreamer, he always the realist. Sometimes, those two just don’t see eye-to-eye.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I love Sven, I love my friends, I have a great job, comfortable apartment, and I certainly don’t need $110 million. Really, who does? That’s not the point. The point is that sometimes I still have this itching feeling that there is more to life than this – the ordinary – that there are bigger and better things in store for me, if only I could just figure out how to get there.
This frustrates Sven. I think it almost hurts his feelings that I have this “it’s never enough” itch. He’s happy with our life. He’s happy with an ordinary life, as long as we are enjoying it, which we are. When I finally got him to tell me what he would do with our Powerball winnings, he said he wouldn’t quit his job, just buy a few things to make our lives slightly more comfortable – like a two bedroom apartment instead of one (dream big!), and a new car (as opposed to my high school 2000 Nissan Altima with 120,000 miles on it that we drive now). The car he would get? The latest Nissan Altima!
“It’s not like it’s going to actually happen, so what’s the harm in dreaming a little bit?” I ask.
“If it’s never going to happen, why waste your time dreaming instead of just being happy with what you have?” He replies. Sigh.
Realists bring down dreamers. When I first had the idea to start this blog, I was so jazzed about it and showed Sven all my idea maps, notes, and prototype. He said it was unsustainable and that it would last three months max. He still thinks I keep writing just to prove him wrong!
Dreamers also bring down realists. Sven doesn’t need to buy lottery tickets. He knows that as long as we save wisely and spend conservatively, we can afford everything we need and then some. We have a great life, so why do I waste my time dreaming about what more we could have instead of enjoying what we do have? I think it simply boils down to a personality thing: Satisficer vs. Maximizer.
I like to dream. It gives me hope that one day I may be extraordinary, even if I’m happy being ordinary. It also inspires me. My dream of being a writer led me to take the baby step of starting this blog! And maybe this will lead to something extraordinary – or not – but, hey, at least I bought the lottery ticket.
Are you a dreamer or a realist?