Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pondering. . . $MegaMoney$. . . and Desire

I just returned from Minnesota and a weekend with the family. Babycakes's baptism. Great time. All the kids gathered. Sunshine and fun and laughter. Can't ask for much more. Except. . . maybe. . . teleportation of some kind, so I don't have to fly. I used to love it. But airports and planes have become a nightmare in recent years. You have to strip almost to your skivvies to get through security (which always smells like FEET) and you're stacked like cord wood into tiny plane seats that some sadist decided to make recline in your face. And why do I always get stuck between the people with colds and coughs that make them sound like they're hacking up a lung?

Anyway. . . while in the Twin Cities airport, I was struck with an urge I haven't had. . . well, in a decade at least. I walked by the Minnesota Lottery boutique and then turned around and headed back to buy a lottery ticket. I stood there in the short line, questioning my own sanity, and wondering where this urge to be instantly mega-wealthy came from. That, of course, led to me thinking of what I'd do with the 18 million dangled before my eyes like a shiny trout lure. Just at the moment of purchase, I turned around and walked away, ticketless and confused.

For the next two hours (it was a long time before my flight) I pondered off and on the lure of instant wealth and endless options. What would I do with myself if I had no more financial limitations? Still live in Florida? Still write? What would I do if I knew I had a comfortable income for life. . . how would I spend my days and nights?

Most of us have played the mental lottery game. If I won 100,000. . . if I won a million. . . if I won fifty million. . .

Where would you go? Where would you live? What would you do-- that is, how would you spend your time? Hmmmmm. I sat in the airport reading and between chapters, pondering the great philosophical question of the age: What would I do if I won the Powerball today?

That's a lot to chew on. . . so let me narrow it down to two questions among the many I mulled.

Where would you want to live? Sunshine or great plains; big-city loft and nightlife or rural retreat and animals; mountain redoubt or beachside pad, McMansion or cabin in the forest? What place feeds your soul most? When you close your eyes and ask Calgon to take you away, what's the destination on your mental ticket?

Secondly, how would you spend your time? Create a dream job? Write full time? Start your own business? Open a restaurant? Work with children? Go back to school? Volunteer in a specific area of need? Create your own charitable foundation? Create a sanctuary for animals? Pursue another creative venue-- painting, sculpture, dance, acting, music, composing, fashion design, interior decoration? Become an activist? Adopt a cause and pursue it with all your heart? Travel the world? Retreat from it all and plumb the "inner mysteries" and seek spiritual enlightenment in a monastery or convent?

It all comes down to what do you want your impact on the world to be?

So whaddaya think? Where would you live and how would you spend your time? It all comes down to the question of what you value most in life and how you would pursue it.

So let your mind breathe and float free for a few minutes. If you suddenly have all the money you wanted (okay, up to 18 million), what would you do?

Oh, and how could you make some of that happen in your life right now?


Christie Ridgway said...

I love this, Betina! Okay, if I won some megabucks (millions) I think I'd move to Hawaii. Except it would have to be a vacation home for a while because my kids wouldn't want to leave their school. Or their neighborhood. So I guess I'd get that vacation home and pay someone to do lots of little fix-ups around here. And I love the idea of becoming an "activist." Yeah, that's what I'd do. Then I'll my political blog-jumping would actually mean something besides procrastination!

As for making it happen in my life right now...should I go out and buy a California lottery ticket?

Lois said...

For me, I'd need to tack on a couple more million because for $20 million, I'd be able to go for a week on the space station in orbit. Very cool dream. :)


Debra Dixon said...

I'd retire from consulting, build a dream house and 3,000 sf quilt studio with a state of the art Gammill longarm quilting machine so I could get more quilts done.

I'd hire someone as my full-time assistant for the publishing company.

Then I'd have time to spend developing some publishing ideas I have for non-fiction, quilting, etc. I'd finally have time to join the "organized" quilt world and maybe teach a little.

Actually we'd build a family compound since we've all talked about this for years.

What could I do now to make this come true? I've hired a part-time person for the publishing company and a year ago we finished a huge remodel on our house that included a quilt studio for me. I'm working on it!!

It's the retirement part that's a little tricky.

Diane in Syracuse said...

I'd definitely be an activist and buy a cool old house and turn it into a zero-footprint showplace, with a landscaped native plants yard and invite people over for parties serving locally-grown or fairly traded organic food and then they'd see how cool it was and want to do it to.

Is eco-activism by hospitality mundane or subversive?

Um, I try to buy the right ingredients and feed people. I just don't have a cool house to do it in. Or, really, anywhere for people to sit down, which rather limits my entertaining.

Helen Brenna said...

I'd like a lake cabin for summers and then I think I'd like to spend several months in the winter different places in the world. France, Chile, Alaska, Japan, Fiji, heck all over.

I think I'd keep writing, only I'd write stuff that was less about marketability and more about issues I'd like to explore. The sense of urgency would be gone.

Then I'd buy stuff for other people in need. College scholarships, houses, food for a year, etc...

Fun to think about Betina.

principessa said...

My dream come true would be to travel. I have never had the freedom, the money and the opportunity to travel and I know that this experience would broaden my outlook, enrich my life and be a glorious and wonderful journey, literally and figureatively.

Christie Ridgway said...

Diane in Syracuse: I LOVE it! Eco-activism through hospitality. A fab goal

Michele said...

I'd downsize. Seriously. Get myself that small little cottage out in the country (France, that is). Though the total square footage would be half what I live in now, the bedroom and bathroom (two most important rooms in the house) would be ultra-lux.
Then, I'd continue to write, but also travel, travel, travel. I want to go everywhere.
And with the extra 17 mill, I'd invest in making the world a cleaner, more peaceful place for us all.

Betina Krahn said...

Wow you guys are fabulous! Diane in Syracuse-- you're my hero. Maybe also my long lost sister. Activism by hospitality. . . just, WOW.

Because, If I had the money, I'd buy a thousand acres or more and develop a retreat center. . . a place where people could come to commune with nature and get themselves together. Lots of woods and some kind of river or lake. Small cabins in the woods or a lodge where I could feed people and give them massages and treat them like honored family. And if they'd want to talk I'd listen. . . help them to make decisions. . . help them reconnect with their own spiritual nature and with the Creator.

And yeah, animals would probably have to be part of it. Would have to ask Lois to come and be my horse-diva. And commission several quilts from Deb to decorate the place and warm the guests. And we'd have Helen make the travel arrangements. And Diane of Syracuse. . . you'd be invited every year free of charge. . . to help you recover from all the hospitality you've show to others!

Kind of makes me sad I didn't actually BUY that lottery ticket!


anne frasier said...

i would start a record label.
i would probably still write, but without pressure with projects that might not be that marketable.

you have to wonder what these unmarketable books everybody is dreaming about would be like. pretty damn good, i imagine.

i'd like to live where it's warm, but my kids are here. i'm struggling with that right now.

and i've often thought if i had the money i could live in the south and fly up here whenever i felt like it. but you're right about flying. it sucks now. i just got back from florida and was reminded of how awful it is. i used to like it.

Mia said...

I'd stay right where I'm at in South Dakota, buy a big ol' Victorian and renovate...then I'd put the rest of my money into producing more movies with a message!

Betina Krahn said...

Oooo, Mia. Big old Victorian renovated to afford a dream kitchen and luxurious bath. I love the idea of "recycling" the grand old structures of a previous era. And producing movies with a message. . . got any examples in mind?

Mia said...

Funny you should ask, Betina, I have a movie that's going to film starting in August! (www.hiawathadiary.com) My business partner and I have several projects in the works, Still Spring Films produces movies with a message and we've got a lot of them, lol. The Unnamed Prisoner will delve into the Penn Springs Women's prison where the inmates were forced into prostitution, we've got an unnamed project regarding Whiteclay NE, the lovely little town that feeds staggering amounts of alcohol into the Pine Ridge Reservation...and then there's my personal favorite, which isn't exactly a social issue piece, but we've fit some stuff in, Best Served Cold, (affectionatly known as "The Fat Chicks Movie")- it's a black comedy about a woman who decides to take charge of her life and off every man who's ever done her wrong in the process. I'd love to be able to have the amounts of money it would take to make these movies so we wouldn't have to depend upon investors (THE number one annoying thing about making a movie!!).

And there's this awesome old Victorian here in Sioux Falls that I'd just love to buy but I think the Catholic Archdiocese wouldn't appreciate the offer! lol

Betina Krahn said...

Mia, how fascinating that you're a moviemaker! And one who mixes activism and conscience with her craft.

I can't imagine having to raise money to publish a book as well as write it!

So glad you're here with us in the convertible!

Mia said...

Thanks Betina, happy to be here...just can't check in as much as I'd like! I wrote romance for a really long time and enjoyed it (I was even a member of MFW when I lived in MN but I think you'd already moved south by then...) but I could never quite find my niche...script writing was a different type of challenge that I truly enjoyed. I had no plans to become a producer, it just turned out this way. I was hired by a producer buddy to do a script on something else entirely and I'd been sitting on the Hiawatha script for a long time. I pitched the idea to him and the next thing I know, we're off and running and I was offered a job with their production company for full time writing as well as producing. It's not romance writing in its technical form, but I try to sneak as much of it in as I can.

Mia said...

And believe me, to raise money to publish a book is far easier than raising money for a movie!

Hiawatha Diary started with an $800,000 budget which morphed into a $2.1 million budget...thank goodness I don't have to deal with that stuff...they just give me the papers and I sign!!