Dang! Like millions of others, I failed to win the largest lottery prize in history. I just don't get it. I bought five tickets and my numbers were really, REALLY good (there goes my retirement plan).
Plus, I'd be a fantastic (and generous) multimillionaire (not that you wouldn't).
Listening to the odds on the national news, it was more likely that one would be hit by lightning (50 times!) be killed by flesh eating bacteria, or die in their own automobile on the way to buy the lottery ticket, than it would be to win. In fact, the only thing less likely than picking the correct numbers, was the potential to be eaten by a great white shark. (It could happen.)
Did that stop us? Not at all!
The nearly impossible odds didn't dissuade me, nor millions of others evidently, as we happily plunked down our hard-earned cash for the slimmest of chances at changing our lives. Skeptics be damned, no one's killing my dream. Someone was going to win a half a BILLION (!) dollars. It might as well be me!
Here's the stat I liked best. When asked, "What would you do with the money, if you won?" the overwhelming majority of respondents said, "I'd buy a house." "I'd buy a house . . ." Some said,"I'd buy a house for my mother" or "I'd buy a BIGGER house," or "I'd buy a house in Hawaii," but there's no denying that the number one dream shared by most Americans continues to be "home ownership" or in the words of the late, great Davey Jones of The Monkeys fame, 'I'm a believer."
"Not a trace, of doubt in my mind. I'm in love, Ooh, I'm a believer, I couldn't leave her, if I tried . . ."
The other piece of the report I found fascinating was that the mere act of purchasing the lottery ticket made us happy. We didn't necessarily need to win in order to feel happy (although that would have been nice) we just needed to imagine winning. Visualizing how our lives might change and improve for the better, elevated our moods in the moment, even though the odds of winning were literally, astronomical, and far, FAR removed. Science has proven that we positively benefit as a result of our dreams. So dream on !
America is a nation full of dreamers, from our forefathers who set out for the brave New World, to today's Silicon Valley movers and shakers that are changing it more profoundly and more rapidly than at any other time in history. Uniformly, they all began with a dream.
Watching my neighbor's daughter, Suzanne, pack up the rented U-Haul truck on Sunday in order to move over to San Francisco as she pursues her career, I was once again reminded of how important and how exciting young dreams can be. Is there any act more independent than establishing a hearth and home? And is there anything more gratifying to us parents than watching our little birds successfully leave the nest and create one of their own? It's a given that our children's happiness is part-and-parcel of our own dreams as well. We don't just want to see our children fly, we yearn to see them soar . . . .
No, I didn't win the $670,000 lottery, and you didn't either (no one in California did) but that didn't keep us from dreaming, nor should it.
It takes dreams, prior to action.
So come on over to Piedmont and let me help you realize the dream of home ownership. I can't promise you the lottery, but riches aren't measured in dollars alone. I for one, have been very lucky indeed.
"I'm a believer!"
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.