12 Apr 2011
Winning the lottery has taken up its fair share of my leisure thinking time over the last 2 years – not that it didn’t before but since the economic slowdown, a lot of other things that generally require my brain power have made room for daydreaming.
I was at a party this last weekend and was asked by two different people from two different conversations what would I do with myself after I won the lottery – suggesting that there’s no way I would still work and certainly not in architecture. Why would I submit myself to unnecessary pain and suffering since I would no longer need to work for a paycheck? The short version of my response is – I don’t work for a paycheck now.
Wow! – that kind of makes it sound like I am rich (I am … not) but I’m not hurting, at least not until I have to live off my savings (gulp!). So what would I do if I truly didn’t have to work anymore? So I made a win the lottery bucket list:
1) Still work.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be … nobody can have a rewarding life when their “job” is spending money. I wouldn’t work in the same capacity as I do now but I would still be an architect and I would find a way to fill my days with the creation and construction of the built environment. I imagine I would get into development and act as my own client since hustling for work is the least exciting and rewarding aspect of this job.
2) Find a hobby
Are you surprised to hear that I don’t have a hobby? I don’t know many architects that do – at least not ones in my age bracket. There are things I think I would like to do – really perfect my ability to smoke barbeque, get a kiln and make raku ceramic things.
3) Pick my daughter up from school at car line and not from aftercare
4) Pay for the college education of my sister’s kids
I have 5 nieces and nephews and they are all amazing kids – all that more incredible since I know their moms (my older sisters) really well. I doubt they would do the things to their children that they did to me (sobbing as I remember being tied up in the laundry hamper and forced to eat summer sausage with fruity toothpaste on it – oh yes … I remember). Despite my education from one of the premiere architectural programs in the country, my sisters have better salaries than I do but I would still have to do something … fruity toothpaste notwithstanding.
5) Take jazz piano lessons
I can read music. I have a piano in my house. What is stopping me? Oh yeah… priorities set the order of things and I run out of time before I can get through the list.
6) Travel extensively to Japan and China
7) Hire a daily maid
This may sound silly because (shockingly) we keep our house in pretty orderly fashion – but you don’t know that. No, the reason I want a maid is so that I can have fresh sheets every night. And so I don’t have to empty the dishwasher, my most despised and hated chore ever!! I’m pretty sure that emptying the dishwasher was the first chore I ever had (that or setting the table … or both, my parents were slave drivers) and I used to have to climb up onto the counter to reach the upper cabinets – i.e. I was 4 YEARS OLD!!! Yes, I broke some dishes which I am painfully reminded of because I covet those old plates and still use them myself.
8 ) Design my own house #1
Yes, it’s true. Every architect wants to design their own house – and I am no exception. Chances are that this would really be the creation of my wife because designing with no rules in place is almost impossible for me – I need something to work towards and I’m sure my family would provide the guidelines for the actual house.
9) Design my own house #2
Am I being greedy? Maybe but hey! I won the lottery and can indulge a little. I have long wanted to have a “country” place. The idea of leaving the city and retreating into the country to a weekend home makes my crazy with happiness. The thing that interests me the most is not designing some monstrously large house but rather something small and open. The idea of one large room and several individual sleeping rooms sounds most appealing.
The question for this post was based on the premise of if I could stop the world for one day what would I do with that day. Almost everything on this list – my lottery bucket list – goes out the window. I certainly wouldn’t go to work and there is no way I would make my daughter go to school. No, my one day wouldn’t allow for any of these items and as a result, the answer is really short. Being completely self-serving, my one day would find me spending it with my wife and daughter, sitting in our backyard, ribs in the smoker, cold beverage in my hand and hopefully some time for all of us to lay in the hammock, gently swinging … and sharing with each other what we think the passing clouds look like….
The thing about an exercise like this is that if you made your own list, you would realize that some things aren’t dependent on having a lot of money – just time. If I was willing to restructure my priorities, I probably don’t need to stop time in order to have my special day. Actually, I have been able to have that day twice already this year so I must be a very rich man indeed.