Breaking News: The Powerball is $1,500,000,000. At 10:59PM tonight, the numbers will be drawn, and in an instant, lives can be changed.
Alright, this isn't breaking news to any of us. In fact, I've witnessed more of you buy Powerball tickets in the past days than some of you have ever purchased in your lifetime. So why now? You weren't content with wanting to win a measly $100 million before? You had to wait until it reached above $800 million for you to want it? You greedy bastards.
Sorry. Forgive me. I don't mean that. (I have a point in my ramblings, I swear.)
Why now? Why now have we decided to take the gamble?
Because you've allowed yourself to dream. You've given yourself the opportunity to imagine the impossible. And boy, is it ever the sweetest reality.
I know you've done it. We've all had the conversations of what we'd do when we'd hit the jackpot. We'd buy that house in Hawaii and we'd purchase the private plane to fly us back and forth. But a jackpot of $1.5 billion? WHOA.
Frankly (and yes, I'm going to be that person), I don't need that much money. The other morning, I laid in bed making a mental list of all the people I'd help, of all the students whose loans I'd pay off, of all the differences $1.5 billion could make...
My point is: We all are willing to take a risk when we can imagine how great the reward. And the risk for us is minor... a $20 ticket for a chance at $1.5 billion. Your odds of getting crushed by a vending machine are greater, but yet we see the opportunity with a low risk and a very high reward. What do have you to lose? That $20 ticket will be nothing once your monetary worth is anything greater than six digits.
So if there's any advice I could give you, it's simple: Don't be a bastard.
Whether you have $1.5 billion or $150 to your name, there's still good to be done in this lifetime. Sometimes, that good is even totally free. (Try smiling at strangers.)
We play the lottery every single day. Every day we're alive, we've been given the opportunity to do something. Imagine the difference 1.5 billion people could make; if only we'd take a moment to be kind to and understanding of others. Don't just be good, but do good too.
Good luck to you tonight. Though, there's no luck involved... This is your fate.
Most recently, she's had to book her flight back home, which she's scheduled to leave at the very end of June, and I've already considered how different life will be for me, yet again, when she leaves me. I've gotten used to not being alone, and in a few months' time, the house will be quiet without a teenager under my roof. (This time last year, I'd sit in the silence of my home.)
People have already asked me: Would I do it again? Would I host another exchange student? The answer is simply: No. (Sorry AFS.)
I've loved our time together thus far, and I don't doubt that the next few months we'll have more great adventures together (Florida, here we come!), but I got a good one. It just so happened that I got the best exchange student a single, suburban woman could ask for. So would I do it again? No, because I wouldn't want to tarnish the beautiful memories I've had with my only exchange student.
The best part of this whole experience (and I know this even though we're only half way through!) is the friend that I've found. The Swede and I are great friends, and though our family roles are strange (mother/daughter, sister/sister, aunt/niece), I care deeply for her.
Let me share with you one final anecdote of our time together:
Back when we tried to witness the rare eclipse of the Supermoon in September, the weather wouldn't cooperate with us and we missed it. This kind of space event won't happen again until the year 2033. The Swede and I joked about what our lives would be like in 2033: my oldest child would be preparing for college, while I'm juggling the school, work, and sports schedules of my family and she would be returning from her latest adventures traveling the world and living internationally. It was then that I realized how much will change in the next 17 years of our lives. Yet, our conversation bantered about what our kids would call one another and how The Swede would have to explain that I was their un-elderly Host Grandma.
In that moment then, I also realized that this is my life forever more: Regardless of where we'll be in or where we'll go, I have made a lifelong friend. And just like any other parent, I'll love her wherever she is.
"I have no special talent.