It’s funny to me, both the kind of hype that surrounded this jackpot and also the number of people who stated jokingly (and with maybe just an ounce of hope) that they were going to win.
I was amongst them.
And though I know the odds of getting struck by lightning are better, I do feel a sense of disappointment that I didn’t get to retire from my job (which I started on Wednesday) and begin the arduous task of spending a few
hundred million over a lifetime.
I read once that all people have a slightly inflated sense of self. We’re all basically programmed to think we’re more right, or good or lucky than the next person. The reason was evolutionary: people need to trust themselves and to take risks in order for the species to thrive.
I know there’s this psychological reason behind all the hype, but I m struck by the hope of people.
I’m sure some people, completely knowing and understanding the odds - understanding the extremity of the long-shot - felt just a little bit disappointed. Me too.
I like to think it’s a human mechanism for hope. That it’s the kind of thing that lets us imagine and believe that we
could change our lives in a big way. It gives us a chance to dream out loud to our friends at what we would do if given the chance to change our lives. The money is an opportunity, but more so a catalyst. A moment where we can step outside of the norm and give ourselves a reason to make a big change.
But, why not do it anyway?
Sure, you don’t have $400 million dollars, but how many people said they would travel more? How many people said they would eat better? How many people said they’d buy a house?
Sure, these things cost money, but so many of them aren’t prohibitive. You can’t buy a house, but you can take the weekend and redo a room, or move the furniture. Maybe you want to go on vacation – what’s stopping you from trekking out for a hike or a night out in a different city? Why can’t you start learning to cook today?
A better life is possible, if only we allow ourselves to have it. Money’s not the issue. It’s us. It’s the little voices in our heads telling us that there are more important things to do. More pressing issues. That the time is later, because now, this thing needs to happen. But that’s a false thought. Money can come to us at any moment in our life, but time? Time is a hot commodity. There are only so many minutes left for each of us and the clock is ticking down.
So you and I, we may not have won the Mega Millions, but we did win one heck of a prize: time. Opportunity. Hope. That’s what fantasizing is. It’s your dreams spoken out loud.
So I think it’s time to let evolution take over. Trust yourself. Believe that luck is going to be on your side. Go out there and make your life look exactly the way you want it. Believe in yourself. It’s just the natural thing to do.
And the next time the lottery gets Mega, buy a ticket. You never know, you may just be a one in 147 million.
patch it up with a little extra dough. These are good to freeze and reheat for a snack or lunch. They also happen to be pretty good for you, so eat up.
Broccoli Calzones (adapted, barely, from Martha Stewart)
1 tablespoon olive oil
(10 ounces each) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Flour, for rolling dough
2 packages (1 pound each) balls fresh or frozen pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded (6 ounces) part-skim mozzarella cheese
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Prepared tomato sauce (optional)
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion; cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broccoli, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form calzones: Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, stretch each piece out, first to a 3-by-4-inch oval, then stretch again, this time to a 6-by-8-inch oval. (Let dough rest a few minutes if too elastic to work with.)
Stir cheeses into cooled broccoli mixture; season generously with salt and pepper. Assemble calzones: Spread a rounded 1/2 cup broccoli mixture over half of each piece of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border; fold over to form a half-moon. Press edges to seal. With a paring knife, cut 2 slits in the top of each calzone.
Using a wide metal spatula with a thin blade, transfer calzones to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper; reshape if needed. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce, if desired.