Seriously. It’s the most clichéd question ever, besides “what would you do if you only had 24 hours to live?” The reason something like this becomes a cliché is because it is extremely important and has universal relevance, like “drink plenty of fluids” and “brush every tooth you want to keep.” What would you do if you had a million dollars? Tell me. I demand you.
I spent some intense mental energy on the question of how being a millionaire would make my life different. The reason is that I believe most of the things I would do as a millionaire are things I am perfectly capable of doing right now. Also, a million dollars isn’t all that much money anymore! I could be a millionaire in pesos in a relatively short amount of time. It’s all about context.
I have something that many celebrities would pay anything to get, and it’s not for sale. I have TOTAL ANONYMITY. I am one. obscure. person. I can go anywhere and do anything and paparazzi will not care. I can check into a hotel using my real name! I can walk around any city in the world without a hat or sunglasses! I can make friends with people and know (oh, how I know) that they aren’t trying to use me for money! As an ordinary person, I have real freedom. So, the first thing I figured out about being wealthy is that I would want either wealth without fame, or the kind of fame that does not include facial recognition. It’s a relaxing thing to know.
My picture of wealth involved lounging next to an infinity pool with a view of the ocean. It turns out you don’t have to have a million dollars to do that. What the image really symbolized to me was serenity, peace of mind, leisure, and a fit body. Guess what? None of those things cost money. I went out and developed the fit body. Now, if anyone ever invites me over to play in an infinity pool, I’ll come over and look rad in my bikini and they can post their awesome pool party on Instagram. The best part is that now that I have the physical fitness, I’d choose it over a million bucks any day.
I don’t have to choose, though. That’s the secret behind abundance mentality. There are no costs to being fit other than the occasional delayed onset muscle soreness, and the spiteful glares of people who don’t know I beat thyroid disease and am thus fully entitled to revel in being healthy. The only way haters will let you get away with enjoying something is if you can prove you suffered first. If I ever get ahold of a million dollars, it will be okay, because I have my poverty credentials all in order.
The other image I had of being a millionaire was of having a deep, scintillating conversation with some fascinating person or other. In formal clothing. That second part can get high-maintenance. It turns out, though, that through the power of the Internet, I can reach out to virtually anyone and try to strike up a conversation. If I hold my end up, I can correspond with any fascinating person I choose. That’s also free of charge.
If I had a million dollars, I like to think that I’d feel pretty upbeat. I would have choices. I would live a virtually seamless life where everyone was gracious and respectful and interesting. I could take my time eating breakfast and I could be surrounded by flowers and hummingbirds. Amazingly, that is an atmosphere I can create on any budget, at least in my climate.
I have a bachelor’s degree in history. The best thing about the study of history is that it produces happy people. Historians tend to be excited about everything, (unlike, say, people with English degrees, who choose to study the one thing they loved the most and then learn to analyze it until they can’t truly enjoy it anymore). What I know from the historical record is that any emperor who ever lived would raise an army to try to get ordinary luxuries I take for granted. Indoor plumbing! Central heating! Public libraries! The Internet! My spice rack! Ice cubes! My pillow alone is probably better than anything Charlemagne ever had. My iPhone – fuggedaboutit. On a historical continuum, what I have now is better a million dollars.
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.