10 things I'd do with 10 million dollars

Why is it that some people are luckier than others? Do they just have a knack for being in the right place at the right time? Or is being lucky something you learn, knowing when to take chances and when to hold back?

Sometimes I’m lucky but most of the time I think we make our own luck… but then there’s a story like this one, where someone won $10 million playing Oz Lotto. They live in a town of just 4,000 people and the ticket was bought from the local news agency where another ticket won $100,000 just weeks earlier. That’s some run of luck!

Of course that’s great for them, but it’s made me wonder what I’d do if that ever happened to me (I can dream). The first thing I’d do is go crazy, but $10 million is a lot of money, enough to change my life and others… this is what I’d try to do with it.

  • Buy a house
    That’s the first thing I’d do. Just a small house, maybe three bedrooms, somewhere in Sydney but away from the crowds and noise. Plus some furnishings and a new TV.
    • Investments
      Next I’d pay off family debts and make sure we all had enough savings to live off comfortably. I’d give some money to friends and invest in a property for my parents to live in as well.
      • Self-publish
        I’d also put some money aside for when I wanted to send my work away. If it was repeatedly knocked back then at least I’d have the option to self-publish.
        • Donations
          I’d give 15% to charities and look at starting a scholarship fund for disadvantaged children; the interest alone could pay for several scholarships each year.
          • Pay it forward
            For this I’d draw up a contract, then find 3 people and give them $500,000 each to start a small business. They could keep the profits, but once they’d made $1 million they’d give $500,000 to help someone else. Hopefully it would keep being paid forward to help new people.
            • Start a bookshop
              This is something I’ve always wanted to do, start a secondhand bookshop somewhere in Sydney, with a small coffee shop and weekly poetry readings… it’d be a nice business to keep in family hands. How’s New Leaf Books sound?
              • Travel
                First I’d take my family on a vacation and then put some aside to see more of the world later on. Hopefully I’d get to see Egypt and more of Europe… and Wimbledon, of course.
                • Copyrights
                  This idea I’ve liked since I heard Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia mention it. I’d look at some of the old copyrighted works which are still under licence (texts, music) and buy them out to release into the community. Realistically a few million dollars wouldn’t buy much but it might help to raise awareness for Project Gutenberg and similar projects.
                  • Music
                    Another thing I’ve always wanted to do is to learn to play the guitar and piano. I’d set up an area where someone could teach me without bothering anyone else. I’d also buy all the CDs I’ve wanted over the years.
                    • Rainforest preservation
                      Finally I’d purchase several acres of land for habitat preservation and do more to support The Rainforest Conservation Fund and the World Wildlife Fund.

                    So that’s my list. I wonder what you’d do with $10 million? 😉

                    Would you want to know?

                    Here’s a question for you. Imagine you’ve spent years trying to find the love of your life; you’ve dated and fallen in and out of love, but never found that special someone. Then finally you meet someone and you just click; it’s not something you can explain, you just feel an immediate attraction and it’s like you’ve known them all of your life. Soon you know it’s love and you can’t imagine being apart. You get married and start planning to spend the rest of your lives together… and then you discover that you are brother and sister.

                    That’s the story which has been coming out of Britain over the last few days. It’s so sad and what makes it even sadder is that they’re twins, which is why their connection was so strong. Their birth was normal (not in-vitro) and they were adopted by separate parents and never told that they had a twin. It wasn’t until after they were married that they discovered the truth. Now their marriage has been annulled and it’s sparked debate over whether children should have more access to the identity of their birth parents.

                    Supposedly this is very rare and you’d hope it is given all of the circumstances that would have to occur, but here’s my question. Imagine you’re in their position, a day before you’re about to hear the truth… would you want to know? If someone offered you the chance to know the truth but you knew it would destroy everything, would you still want to know?

                    I’ve been wondering about this since I heard the story, and I would. I believe it’s always better to know the truth, even if it’s incredibly painful. But I’ve read a few blogs which haven’t been as sure and honestly I can understand that too. It’s an incestuous relationship and if you knew you’d be repulsed, but for several years they (and you’d hope their families) thought they were a normal couple. It certainly would have been “easier” for them to go on in ignorance, if not “right”.

                    They must be living in their own kind of hell. To have formed that connection, then suddenly have it broken without the possibility of it being restored… I find that almost unimaginable. Not to mention it’d be impossible to see each other as brother and sister, so they’d actually be losing two relationships… the only good thing is that they didn’t have children. There was a case in Germany where a man served a two-year prison sentence after fathering four children with his sister; they’d been separated at birth.

                    It’s made me wonder about something else as well, though. Here I’d rather know, but what if I could find out the day I was going to die – is that something I’d want to know? Honestly, I’m not sure… a large part of me says yes; if I knew, I’d have time to say goodbye, time to live my life. But I think as well that I’d be more afraid of death if I knew; I’d know what I was losing, feel time slipping by… I’d rather value each day as it comes and I can only do that by not knowing… just as I’d rather not know if I’m supposed to meet someone, so I can value the relationships on the way.

                    If there’s one thing I want to take away from this story, it’s that. It’s so easy to take everything we have for granted; our homes, relationships, health… I’d hope something like this wouldn’t happen, but still, one day we might find it all gone. Better to cherish what we have now than have regrets later.

                    What about you? What would you do? Is there anything you’d rather not know? I’d be interested to find out. 😉

                    7 things I want to do before I die

                    The beginning of the new year’s made me think about a few things. Well, that’s not unusual; I’m always thinking. 😉 But particularly I’ve been thinking about some of the things that I’d like to achieve in my life. Recently I’ve decided to have a look at my priorities, so I thought making a list of some of those things might be a good place to start.

                    It’s just a short list; I plan to add something new each year so it stays fresh. They’re things I’d like to be able to look back on in later years, things that would make me feel I’d achieved something and could remember with fondness. I wonder how many would be on your list?

                    7) Learn to dance.
                    I’m a terrible dancer. I always feel self-conscious and awkward. A large part of that is I’m very sensitive to noise, so being near loud music is difficult. But I’d love to be able to dance; to dance with my wife at our reception would be something I’d remember for the rest of my life. Of course, first I’d need a wife…

                    6) Spend time on every continent.
                    I’ve always wanted to see more of the world. Over the next 10 years I hope to see more of Europe and the Americas and it’s my dream to see the Pyramids. Eventually I hope I’ll be able to spend some time on each continent. Antarctica will be the difficult one, if you believe Al Gore.

                    5) Make a pilgrimage.
                    I’m not sure where I’d like to go yet but making a journey I’d remember for the rest of my life is something I’d love to do. Jerusalem would be one possibility, or tracing Rome’s history… probably what appeals to me the most is tracing Darwin’s route through the Galápagos.

                    4) Sleep under the stars.
                    This is probably the easiest one to do but one day I’d love to get out of Sydney and spend several nights under the stars. You can barely see the stars at night here and the sky is never clear; I imagine being away from the city, the darkness would be beautiful.

                    3) Listen to someone’s life.
                    I’ve always liked the idea of a speaker for the dead, to use Orson Scott Card’s term, someone who would learn and speak about a life honestly. One day I hope to listen to someone tell me their story, to truly get the chance to know them… and then if someone wanted to know about them after they had passed, to share it so they would live on.

                    2) See John Williams and Howard Shore in concert.
                    I talk about music a lot, but I’m actually more interested in classical music than I am pop music. I write to it and I think movie scores are the closest thing we have to the great compositions of the past. For me John Williams’ score for Star Wars and Howard Shore’s for The Lord of the Rings are the greatest scores ever written (Miklos Rozsa’s Ben-Hur a close third). I’d love to hear both performed live, given the opportunity.

                    1) See all 4 Grand slams.
                    Tennis tragic that I am I’d love to see Wimbledon, the Australian, French and US Opens live. I haven’t been to the Aus Open in Melbourne yet but I hope to go next year; if things work out well, that might be when Federer overtakes Sampras’ record. Hopefully I’ll be able to see the others too at some stage. Maybe I’ll be able to see Agassi’s and Graf’s daughter win Wimbledon. 🙂

                    Naughty or nice?

                    Little Naughty

                    Were You Naughty or Nice This Year?

                    As my last post was about getting into the festive spirit, I thought it might be fun to look at a few Christmas quizzes. There are a couple of interesting ones at Blogthings, particularly one on How Much Do You Know About Christmas? I didn’t agree with a couple of answers, though, which is why I didn’t post it (it’s not 9 reindeer, is it? Rudolph doesn’t count).

                    The one I liked more was this one on if you’ve been naughty or nice. Apparently I’ve been a little naughty this year. Hm, I hadn’t really thought about it, but I guess it’s not far off. I’ve got an image to maintain, you know. 😉

                    I remember I used to make a big deal about it when I was younger. What about you? Did you ever try to bribe Santa? It never worked for me. 🙂