The first thing i would do would probably be a shopping spree on Amazon, buying every book and DVD i have ever wanted. Then i'd start looking for my dream house. I'd be able to actually hire movers this time, instead of making friends with people who have trucks and/or vans. I'd be out of Beer Street, and my boyfriend and i could move in together.
Then i'd pay off my school loans. All of them. I'd give my two weeks' notice at my job, train my replacement, and leave to focus on school. I'd be able to do my student teaching (one whole semester of unpaid, full-time classroom instruction) without worrying about bills.
I'd give to my church and my school. I'd be their new favorite alum.
I'd put most of it into my savings account, for future emergencies and kids and more grad school.
Oh, grad school . . . I'd definitely go back, again and again and again. I'd get an MFA in poetry, a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, maybe something in theology or Biblical studies or history. Or all of them.
I'd teach for a while, until John and i were ready to start having kids. I wouldn't mind being a stay-at-home mom, as long as we could pay the bills without too much stress. And i could write. Between the diapers and the Cheerios and wiping off the kitchen table and kissing boo-boos and hiding the cookies and the endless nursery rhymes and laundry and wiping off the table again, that is. I could blog, and i could write poetry, and i could get back to my secret novel, and i could write journals for my kids, and i could Tweet, and i could write letters to my congressman, and i could doodle on my own skin and paint words on the walls of my home and write labels for our organizational plastic bins and copy out my mother's best recipes and transcribe quotes and update my Facebook status and scribble letters to my brother and sisters and put love notes in my husband's and kids' lunchboxes and go through my old diaries and frame my thoughts anew.
Oh, the writing i would do!
I'd give to charities. I'd give away my car and buy a hybrid. I'd sponsor and foster and adopt kids. I'd fund microloans. I'd install solar panels on my roof and plant my own vegetables. I'd plant trees. I'd buy organic.
I'd teach part-time, here and there. I'd only take the jobs i really wanted, though. I'd teach English and psychology and life skills and writing and decent behavior to others and kindness and unconditional love and developmental reading and poetry and patience and assertiveness and looking out for others and philosophy and journalism and close reading and literary analysis and humor and surrender and romance and practicality and interview skills and research skills and debunking internet myths and budgeting your money.
I'd buy lots of really comfortable, flattering clothes, like jeans and cardigans and ballet flats. I'd get Lasik eye surgery, and maybe laser hair removal. I'd go to the doctor more often. I'd be able to go back on birth control. I'd buy myself a really long strand of real pearls. I'd buy myself some chocolate. I'd buy one set of really nice underwear from Victoria's Secret, and then go back to Marshalls for the rest of it.
I'd pay for my sisters' college, and any of my brother's bills not covered by the VA and the Marines. I'd give generous loans to my siblings, to college students, to my own students and friends, when they needed help, because i've been on the other side of that before and likely will be again. I'd take college students out for dinner, because sometimes they can't afford food and are too proud and self-sufficient to ask. I've been there, too.
I'd give to local homeless relief efforts. I'd make socks for clothing drives. I'd feed my kids' friends who maybe couldn't always count on a meal at home. I'd buy Christmas presents for children of prisoners, kids in orphanages, kids in homeless shelters, kids in institutions and rehabs, kids in dingy apartments far from home.
I'd save, not so that my kids never had to work hard or worry, because these things are good. I'd save so that i would always be in a position to offer them a safety net or a hand up in times of absolute emergency, because these things are good, too. I'd save for my retirement. I'd save for if (when) the economy falters again. I'd save because how could i ever spend that much money in one lifetime?
Oh, the things i could do if i ever won the lottery . . . Unfortunately, i understand that you have to actually buy a ticket to win. The odds are stacked pretty high against you either way, but they do improve marginally when you participate. I guess i'll just keep holding out hope that one day, someone will give me a ticket that will turn out to be the mega-million-jackpot winner. Until then, i'll keep on working and saving and trying not to worry too much.