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franklin county times

Getting lucky and hitting it big

By Staff
Kim West, Franklin County Times
I've often heard people say their life would greatly improve if they won the lottery, which has made hundreds of people instant millionaires and has funded such projects as the Great Wall of China and scholarships.
How many times have you daydreamed about what you would do if you won millions of dollars?
Of course I've thought about it, and my original plan as a kid included buying a new tractor for my dad, a horse barn for my mom and new cars for my three sisters and me.
Well, my dad upgraded several years ago from an old-style Ford tractor to one that was much bigger and a lot less likely to break down. My mom recently informed me that a barn is currently in-progress near the rusty shed that has always served as a makeshift barn for her horses in case of bad weather. And my sisters and I already own cars that get us from point A to point B, so sporty little convertibles aren't exactly a glaring necessity.
A friend and I debated last week on the merits of hitting the jackpot. He said if he won, he wouldn't have to work anymore and that he would join the gym and work out on a regular basis. And he also pointed out that having that much money would solve a lot of his problems. For the record, his job involves a lot of lifting, so he's currently getting paid to work out. And he already has trouble figuring out what to do with his free time, so wouldn't having more free time be counter-productive?
I argued that money doesn't make someone happy, at least not truly happy in the long-term. Sure, I would be thrilled to receive an expensive and sparkly piece of jewelry as an anniversary gift or birthday present, but thoughtful gifts and gestures mean much more as the years go by. I'd much rather be with a person who's willing to do anything I need than someone who can buy anything I want.
There are a lot of superstar athletes and celebrities out there who can afford million-dollar weddings for themselves or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars celebrating their son or daughter's birthday. But they experience the everyday hassles of life, too, such as dealing with health problems, family skeletons and job security. And if you ever watch MTV's "Sweet 16," you can't help but notice that the spoiled teen featured in each episode seems really unhappy for most of the show, despite receiving a lot of attention from classmates and an extravagant party from his or her parents.
The largest jackpot to date was the $390 million won in March by two Mega Millions ticket holders. I'm sure their lives have changed, but five years from now, will they be any happier than they were in February? I'm not saying winning the lottery would be a bad thing, but being able to buy anything doesn't guarantee happiness.

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