If I won the Mega Millions…

I’ve never played the lottery nor do I intend to start doing so, but it’s hard not to hear the amount of the jackpot of the Mega Millions lottery – $636 million – and not ask: “If I won two-thirds of a billion dollars, how would it impact my life?”

We would move into a new home, about the size of our current home, but with more land. I want the kids to be able to hit a baseball as far as they are able in our yard. But we’re going to do that anyhow. Our house went on the market yesterday. So I guess that really doesn’t count other than we’d pay cash for the house.

We’d probably keep our G6 with 106K miles on it and add a brand new car of some type for convenience. We’re currently a single car family, which suits us 92% of the time. The remaining 8% of the time we have to mooch rides or rent cars. But this doesn’t really get me too excited. We’re not car people.

We’d be debt free. See you later student loan! But we’re not too far from this already.

I’d write more books. My book ideas tend to be: “I’m going to go on this big journey and come back and write a book about it.” To which publishers ask: “So who will you meet and what will happen and what will be your takeaway?” To which I respond: “Who knows, but I imagine it will go something like this…”

Thankfully after the success of WEARING, Wiley was kind enough to offer an advance for EATING. The way advances work is that you get the first half of the advance when you sign the contract and the rest when you turn the manuscript in. To be the responsible single-income earner of my family that I strive to be, the first half needs to at least cover the expenses of the trip and then some of my time. But if I had Mega Millions, I would just go on the trips and come back with a book that would blow their minds. At least that’s the idea.

Or would I?

Maybe I’d pursue unpublishable ideas to the ends of the Earth and write fewer books. Maybe the fact I need a publisher to give my book ideas a stamp of approval is a good check on the Walter Mitty-esque idea machine that sits atop my shoulders.

I’d go trekking. By camel. By horse. In Mongolia. In some desert in the Mid-East. I would totally get my Hobbit / Lawrence of Arabia on. I’d consider taking my family, but I doubt they’d want to go.

Oh speaking of my family… We’d take a vacation like somewhere people take vacations. Michigan doesn’t count. Not just a three day jaunt, but at least a week long.

I’d hire a full-time BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Autism therapist) and language therapist to work with my son Griffin. Thanks to insurance, he’s about to start at a ABA clinic anyhow and will be overseen by a BCBA, but won’t work with one daily.

I’d hire an assistant to do the business upkeep (contracts, taxes, expenses, booking tickets) that I distract me from the things I enjoy doing

I think I would keep doing what I do. I’d keep connecting people through stories I collect around the world. I’d keep working with J.R. on the Facing Project to encourage other writers and communities to tell their own stories.

I’d consider funding my own college speaking tour, but I’ve found the more an organization pays for a speaker, the bigger the audience they turn out.  So I could end up reaching less people. 

That amount of money comes with a lot of responsibility and demands. Maybe those demands would pull me away from my current mission.

$636 million could also come with the need not to do anything. I like to think that I currently want to work just as much as I need to work, but this would truly be put to the test.

Overall, I’m okay not winning.

Life is pretty good as a thousandairre.

If you won Mega Millions, how would your life change?


I’d settle for being a thousandaire. I love the idea of traveling, but I think I want companionship when I travel. Money won’t buy the things that are important in my life. Besides I quit buying lottery tickets ages ago. The money doesn’t get to education.

Matt J says:

The only thing that would change is I wouldn’t worry anymore. I don’t even want millions. I just want to be comfortable. I’d still be a tour guide, I’d still design tshirts. But I would want to finally be able to not worry if I was earning enough to survive.

And I would somehow travel even more than I already do.

pam says:

It is grand to be in a place where you wouldn’t change THAT much. We’d pay off our house, probably buy an electric car for town. I’d have some landscaping done, our yard is a mess. And then, I, too, would pursue ridiculous ideas that might or might not lead to spectacular publishing projects or dead ends, who knows. But I’d get to pursue them with no accountability to a third party and, more importantly, I’d get to pursue them with the husband, who I met traveling and have only be able to do a tiny percentage of my travel with. (Whew, that’s a run-on. Forgive me.) We’d do some rejiggering, not major overhauls — I think that says something about how we’re all right at Thousandaire status too.

That seems like a good thing.

Let your voice be heard!