This year's London Health Sciences Foundation millionaire dream home is on the street where I live, about a block away from my home. So was last year's. We didn't check out last year's offering, but curiosity got the better of us and we toured this year's home a couple of weeks ago. A million dollars doesn't go as far as it used to.
I mention this because I dropped in on my cousin's son's blog and was pleased to learn that his parents had just won a million dollar home lottery in British Columbia. Having lived several thousand miles apart for most of our lives, I can't say that I know my cousin or her husband very well, but they seem like nice, upright people and I congratulate them.
Co-incidentally, I was speaking with my chiropractor a few days ago, and in one of our typically rambling conversations he happened to mention that many lottery winners are no better for the experience after a few years. He speculated that this might be due to the fact that we tend to appreciate most what we earn ourselves, and that windfalls are often used foolishly because there is no real value attributed to them.
I think that is true, at least to a point. I think though that the bigger issue is one's overall outlook on life. I think that the 'if only' individuals among us ("if only I had a better job, a bigger house, a bigger car, a prettier wife, I would be happy") discover that when they can afford the things they thought were lacking, they are no happier than before. Those people who are already content with their lives, I think, will behave more responsibly and get more pleasure out of the windfall because they never expected anything other than their own efforts to make them happy in the first place.
If I won a million dollars or more, what would I do? Pretty much the same as I am doing now. Would I retire? No. I love what I do and need the stimulation and challenge of running businesses and completing projects. Would my lifestyle change dramatically? No. I might buy a newer car and take a special vacation with my family. Otherwise, things wouldn't change much. I would just do more of the same. Instead of investing just in Panama, I would also buy land in Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay. Would I be any happier? Nope. I'm a pretty happy camper already.
I think my cousin and her husband are going to do just fine. Judging by the kids they have raised, individuals I actually know a bit better than their parents by virtue of email exchanges and being able to read their blogs, I would say that they are level-headed enough to do the right things and to enjoy their new-found wealth. Good for them.
I wonder, should I run down to the convenience store and buy a lottery ticket? Maybe, while I'm at it, I could pick up a dream home ticket as well. Hmm, there is a casino not far from my office, maybe I could drop in there on my way home tonight.
Or maybe not. I think instead I will give my wife and son extra big hugs tonight, and be grateful for what I already have.