I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom this week – not the ones people usually talk about – freedom of speech, freedom to worship – you know all of the things in the U.S. Constitution. No, I’ve been thinking about the type of freedom a person gets from winning over 400 million dollars – the type of freedom I will probably never see – or is it?
What kind of freedom does one get with that type of money?
Freedom from want? I already have everything I need – food, clothing, shelter, TV, car, husband, family, friends, job. In fact, I know I have so much more than other people – so what else could I possibly need. But wait – the question was Freedom from Want not from Need. Yes, I have all I need, but what do I want? $400,000,000 can buy a lot of things I want but is that really Freedom? If I buy yachts, mansions, jewels and cars, I become tied down to that stuff. I have to take care of that stuff. I have to guard that stuff from other people who want it. I don’t want to leave my stuff – and to paraphrase George Carlin – I will have to keep buying bigger places to store all of the stuff I want. No I don’t think that’s the kind of freedom $400,000,000 should buy.
How about Freedom from worry? Worrying about my job, worrying about my family, worrying about my husband’s job. $400,000,000 would certainly alleviate the worry about having to do well at my job – in fact, I’m not one of those noble people who would keep their jobs after they won this type of cash. Nope, the first thing I would do is walk in my boss’ office and say ‘adios’. Don’t get me wrong – I love my job – but I would love to have the freedom to do whatever my heart desires and no worry about my paycheck and how to make the house payment. I would like to give that same luxury to my husband and my children. But would I really get freedom from worry – or just replace it with different worries – am I investing my money correctly, can I trust this person not to rip me off, are my friends/relatives just using me for my money. Replacing one set of worries with another isn’t freedom from worry.
What about Freedom from excuses? I would love the freedom to become a bona fide writer who has a syndicated column and even a couple of books – without worrying about success – or paying the bills. Is winning $400,000,000 the only way I can accomplish this goal? Is that what is really holding me back from spending all of my non-work hours writing and sending things to a literary agent? Don’t I have the freedom to do that right now – even though it might be a little inconvenient and tiring to do while working a regular job? So maybe it is more about freedom from fear of failure – and really, money can’t buy that.
So – I’m wondering if I really want to win that much money. Who am I kidding – of course, I want to win that much money!!! I’ve already planned out how much I’m giving to my kids, to charity, to family. I know what kind of new car I want, where I want to travel, where I want to buy my mansion, what type of mink coat I want – and oh yea, how I’m going to tell my boss that “I quit”. Turns out it’s not about how much Freedom from Want or Worry or Excuses winning $400,000,000 will give you – it’s about how much Freedom to Dream you can buy for $2.