On nights when I can't sleep, I imagine what I would do if I won the lottery. I start off at the "smallest" amount or around €250,000 and work up from there. By the time I've divided up the smallest amount, I find it's not enough. So then I move on to the next amount and lately I find that even if I won a straight million there wouldn't be enough money to do some of the things I'd like to do with it. I mean, by the time I've given some to children and grandchildren, bought an apartment in the sun and maybe another one near my daughter, there isn't as much left for charities as I would have envisaged. And all this dreaming doesn't help me fall asleep, either.
Of course we all know that the real riches are good health, good friends and freedom from serious worries of any sort. We just don't appreciate any of these things until they are taken away from us. Winning lots of money isn't necessarily going to make us happier or more content or so the experts tell us. A couple of years ago I read about the making of a television documentary - I think it was being made in Germany - where former winners of the national lottery were interviewed about their lives following the winning of so much money. The consensus was, apparently, that it was the greatest misfortune in the majority of lives and that many of the winners had seen their marriage and/or relationships with their families - children and siblings - deteriorate to the extent that many of them no longer had any contact with close family. I have to admit that I have not seen this documentary so I can't confirm this. If true, it is a sobering thought, isn't it?
My favourite philospher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote in his essay on self-reliance "no one can bring you peace but yourself". He reckoned that you might think that the return of a close friend, regaining your health or a sudden surge in good fortune would make you happy but really you and I need to be happy within ourselves. I suppose it kind of makes up for not winning the lottery this week - I didn't even come near! - but at the same time I'd like to be given the chance to scotch all those ideas and prove you can really enjoy life with a million or more in your humble bank account. Here's hoping!