Should I Play the Lottery In My Thirties?

Last week the Powerball jackpot was 1.5 billion dollars. A bunch of my friends bought tickets and a few of them even won…four whole dollars.

When one of my friends first told me he went and bought a bunch of tickets, I’ll be honest, I was little upset with the idea. He asked me if I was going to buy any myself, and I replied with a haughty, ‘no, I think I’m going to invest my money and save it, thank you very much.’

I kinda felt amazingly proud of myself- the lottery (and gambling in general) are things that I can easily control my response to and I value that about myself. I have insane self-control when it comes to spending money on things that I consider wasteful. I don’t know if I’ve ever purchased a lottery ticket- maybe I bought some for an ex many years ago.

However, something about my own response bugged me- was it really so bad to buy lotto tickets? That same week, I received an email newsletter from a writer I love, Ramit Sethi. He was talking about how silly it is to discourage people from buying lotto tickets, because, in a way, you’re discouraging them from dreaming. Ironically, he was actually writing in response to bloggers who scoffed at people who bought lotto tickets. He said:

Their articles [finance bloggers] reflect a total lack of understanding about WHY people buy lottery tickets. Hint: People who buy lottery tickets don’t really expect to win. People know the odds are astronomically, cosmically against them. So why would they do it?

The answer: They’re buying permission to dream about winning it.

If you think about it, $2 for a dream is well worth it. If you live a life where you’re counting pennies, isn’t it worth paying $2 for the dream of becoming fabulously wealthy — even if just for an hour? Hell, if you live a humdrum life of $60,000/year with 2% annual raises and one 2-day vacation a year, you can see why people would crave an escape.

By the way, there are a LOT of other ways we pay for an escape: Movies, fancy clothes, and so many more things. Isn’t it funny how lottery tickets cost less, but incur more wrath from judgmental people? It’s fun. It makes you feel good, and that’s a great reason to spend $2. OF COURSE lottery tickets are mathematically stupid. So is going to a bar to meet someone…but we do it anyway.

I never really thought about lotto tickets that way, but they’re a tiny price to pay to dream about something way bigger and more exciting in your life. Sure, we can all visualize and meditate and dream for free, but any tool that helps you feel happier and more passionate about life, is harmless, and only costs a couple of dollars, is absolutely, totally worth it. Use the tools that you discover- little indulgences here and there can help you feel better and dream exponentially bigger. Make the ‘silly’ choice sometimes.

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Being Single on Valentines Day in Your Thirties

This is the first time in 8 years that I’ll be single on Valentines Day.

And now I’m 30- an age where I watch many of my friends not only go out with their significant other for V-Day, but also get married and have (multiple) babies. I watch relationships bloom all around me, like the red rose bouquets popping up everywhere this time of year.

Is this familiar to you? Are you in your thirties and single and wondering what this holiday means for you..if anything? Are you single on what Hallmark and others call ‘the most romantic day of the year?’

Last Valentines Day, if you told me I’d be single this year, on this day, I might have cried. Correction- I would have most definitely cried. I would have wailed. I would have said ‘oh god, what am I going to do? What’s wrong with me? How can I prevent this from happening? How am I going to fix this?’ I would have felt lost. I would have felt desperately alone.

I can put myself right back into that mindset: lost, alone. That thought pattern still comes and goes in waves. I know exactly what it’s like to cling onto something, to clutch onto a belief that doesn’t feel true anymore or bring happiness anymore, for fear that there’s something even worse out there.. something way more scary: the unknown. And being alone.

Yet here I am. The unknown has arrived. It’s Valentines Day eve and I’m 30 and I’m here and I’m single.

And I feel… happy.

It’s a warm, glowing feeling- subtle. Soft. Unexpected. There’s something different about this happiness- there’s a strength in it. It’s a flaming ember in my chest that feels clearer than ever. And I don’t feel alone when I thought I’d be the absolute most alone in my life.

And I get what it means when people say to face your fears and jump into the unknown: sometimes the unknown is better than the desperately unfulfilling familiar. Or the known that doesn’t work for you.

So I’m embracing being single on Valentines Day! I’ll shout it loud and clear: Who cares that I’m 30 and single? I’m also 30 and happy!

So if you’re single on Valentines Day and you’re in your thirties, who cares? It’s okay! In fact, it’s awesome!  You don’t need to be in a relationship to claim Valentines Day as your own. Needing to be in a relationship in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 20s (any age) in order to be worthy is a ridiculous myth! You’re already extremely worthy!

So give yourself some love this Valentines Day. Buy yourself flowers, get yourself wine, take yourself to a movie, hang out with friends, or hang out alone!

Or if you don’t feel happy that you’re single- that’s okay too. Claim it! Have an Anti-Valentines Day party! Or ignore the day and sit home and watch Netflix all night- there’s some good stuff on.

And discover micro-moments of love and connection that can happen all the time– with total strangers! The linked article above talks about how “true love is not contained to long-term romance, but can happen in an instant, between anyone.” Or anything! It can even happen between you and nature- your surroundings. Go ahead- fall in love on the bus! Enjoy love throughout your day without saying a word! And send love to others! You’re never alone. Really.

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