Let me take you back to the fifth grade—Harry Potter had just introduced himself (to me, anyway), braces were cool, boys were gross, recess was enough to count for exercise and school was easy. Remember those days? If your life is like mine, you probably break a sweat trying to recall those times.
There is one thing that I like to keep on the front page of my memory, though, and that is a journal prompt my Language Arts teacher assigned my classmates and I, over ten years ago.
I think we’ve all heard this one before: What would you do if you had one million dollars? No, it’s not enough money to begin to cover the national debt of our country, and unfortunately, it’d probably take a few more dollar billz to fund world peace. At eleven years old, all I wanted to do with those seemingly infinite green slips was get rid of them, pass them out like speeding tickets, set up a stand at the end of my drive way and hand out cups of freshly printed dough. I wrote in my journal that I would donate half of it to my elementary school, give some to my parents, and the rest to my cats. Yes, my non-consumer pets. The only thing they needed to buy was my affection. Who am I kidding; I was the one who needed their attention.
The thought of (insert Austin Powers voice here) one million dollars made me nervous, so much so that I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. And it still does; God, how many zeroes is that anyway?
I’ve recently clung onto the hope that I will somehow win the lottery. (How one wins the jackpot without having enough money to spend on lottery tickets is beyond me, but I can dream, can’t I?)
What could a girl do with a million dollars? No, I’m sorry…let me rephrase that. What couldn’t a girl do with a million dollars?
First things first: I’d pay off my student loans with one single check, a quick stroke of my hand. And then I’d do the same for my sister.
Then I’d ask my parents what they’d want: A new house? The mortgage paid off? A new car? A new daughter? (Ha!)
I would travel. Donate. Go back to school. Christian Louboutin my feet. Start a foundation for young women. Save. Write a book. Get a puppy and a kitten at the same time. Give hugs to everyone. Be happy for life.
And then, after no longer having a single digit bank account, I would be hit with this fifth grade memory. I would remember what really makes the world go round in the first place. I’d remember that money isn’t the stuff of dreams, and it certainly doesn’t fulfill them, either.
The cars, the vacations, the gadgets. I’d just have to ask myself one thing: what good is it all if you don’t have people to celebrate it with? What good are the things if you don’t have the love to appreciate the non-things?
What good is a million dollars, really?