Lately it seems that life’s finest pleasures are restricted by a limited cash flow. Never before has this stopped me from doing what I love best: dinners with friends, travels, concerts, the occasional splurge in a favorite store. I was always able to afford what my heart desired with a quick swipe of my American Express card. After years of this behavior and delaying payment (a dream come true for the folks at credit card companies who thrive on late payment and finance fees), I have made it my mission to pay off the bills once and for all and am proud to say that the remaining balance has slowly dwindled over the past few months. Once it’s all over, I think I’m going to close this account for good. Their rewards program sucks anyway.
It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s one I know I don’t walk alone. I haven’t received a raise in five years, I pay much more than I should on everyday purchases due to my proximity to one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I seem to get slammed when times are especially rough by something that is necessary. Then there’s the whole cost of living increase we see each year.
But I know so many have it much worse than I do. I see it all around me every day. Coworkers who are forced to move back home with their parents; young parents who appear on a buddy’s doorstep until they have saved up enough for a nest egg; and friends who have sold their houses, cars, and other prized possessions simply to stay afloat.
I have started playing the lottery more frequently and have been busy behind the scenes in search of side work until I win that lump sum (ha!). I often fantasize about what I would do if money were no object. Here are just a few things I would indulge in:
- Pay off the bills and do something nice for the wonderful folks who helped me along the way. I am eternally grateful for the many wonderful friends and my supportive family who came through when I needed them the most. Wouldn’t it be kickass if we could all take a week and party in the Caribbean together? Or maybe you and your loved one could enjoy an all expenses paid spa trip because hey! I just won $12 million. If I ever wake up a millionaire, you just let me know how you’d like me to repay you.
- A trip around the world. Obvious choice, right? Travel is always on my mind because I wish I had the funds to afford a vacation in Europe. I have many friends/relatives I haven’t seen in ages and sometimes I experience a bit of guilt because of this. At the same time, there are so many destinations I have yet to step foot in. I have dreams of a safari in Africa, an overwater bungalo in French Polynesia, and an ashram in India. Bryan and I have started saving up for a trip to India, and so far we have a whopping $60. At this rate, India is in our future for 2017.
- A villa in Italy. What a dream this would be. How I’d love to wake up, ride a bicycle to the nearest local store for the freshest bread and tomatoes imaginable, and sit under a lemon tree to get some writing done. I should add that I do not know how to ride a bike, rarely eat tomatoes, and am not even sure that lemon trees are indigenous to this region of Italy. But this is my fantasy so let’s just roll with it.
- Animal sanctuary in my backyard. This is something I think about quite often. My heart aches whenever I hear about any kind of animal abuse and I think it would be wonderful to open a rehab center and surround myself with furry friends every day. There is nothing quite like the love of a beloved pet. My dog Linus died last October and I think of him always. Since then, my parents adopted the sweetest griffin (named Pedro or “Mouse”) and it makes me excited for the day I’ll have one or 50 of my own.
- Quit corporate forever and work on blogging full time. This is actually at the top of the list for me. I have been working in Manhattan for nearly ten years now and each year, I tell myself this is it. What keeps me here? The security, the health insurance, and many of my sweet coworkers. But… this isn’t my passion. Writing is. I don’t want to sit in a cubicle from 9-5 and have to deal with the usual nonsense that exists in every corporate office in every corner of the world.
What would you do if you won the lottery or fell into a large sum of money?