A lot of it is attitude, making the decision to appreciate, and even enjoy, what I already have. That’s a trap that easy to fall into, only seeing what you don’t have and focusing on more, more, more.
Attitude is great, of course, but that’s not always enough. Sometimes, you really have to do something.
My parents and siblings all live on the East coast, while I’m out in Sunny San Diego. Getting together is a bit of a chore. Now, if I really did win the lottery, it would be easy. First class flights whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted. In fact, I could fly all of us somewhere, for no other reason than to get together.
My dad turned 80 in May, and the plan was to have a celebration at my sister’s house, just outside of Atlanta. I hemmed and hawed about it. Not that I didn’t want to see everyone, quite the contrary. But times are tough, and plane tickets are expensive for those of us who haven’t technically won our millions just yet.
Ultimately, my wife convinced me that I had to go. Her reasoning was that my father would only turn 80 once. And in order to live with myself, I needed to go. She’s pretty smart, and I have learned to listen to her. Most of the time. Despite what she may say in the comments below.
Anyway, I wanted to see my family. And I also wanted to be able to live with myself. So I went.
The trip itself was not the lottery-lifestyle thing that I did. I was crammed in like a veal on a Delta redeye to Atlanta. But there was one thing I actually did while I was on the trip that did make me feel rich.
I watched TV with my Dad.
Sure, other stuff happened over the long, Memorial Day weekend. Their weather was good, a little warm but cooler at night (no full moon, I think that’s next week). My sister, brother-in-law and parents all went to my nephew’s awards day at school, getting to see him honored for many things (because he’s so smart), and he’s an awesome athlete. My niece is, too, but it wasn’t her awards day.
We also went to a Braves game and to the World Famous Varsity. Not on the same day, of course. We did try to pace ourselves.
And it seemed like we ate a lot, which is one of the major things my family does whenever we get together. We don’t just eat. We also talk about eating. Sometimes while we’re eating. And sometimes while we’re eating, we talk about where we’re going to eat next.
But the part that made me feel like a million bucks was the last night.
We were at my sister’s home. Her husband brought in some pizzas for the fourteen of us. We hung out and talked. The kids played monopoly.
Then the Braves game came on.
That might sound silly to some of you. You may be ready to say, “Waiter! Check please!” and leave this blog. Seriously, flying across the country just to watch a baseball game on TV?
When I was a kid, we got cable. There may have been as many as twelve channels at the time. We had two different ABC’s, CBS’ and NBC’s (there was no FOX, yet), a couple local independents and HBO (which didn’t come on each day until around 5:30pm).
I was (and still am) a Reds’ fan. My brother has always been a Pirates’ fan. And in those early days of cable, my Dad became a Braves’ fan.
As the years went by, and the cable grew to dozens of channels (“57 Channels And Nothing On”), the Braves improved. My Dad and I still occasionally watched. We’d make outrageous bets on individual plays.
Bet you a million bucks this next guy hits a homerun. Bet you a million he hits into a double play. You’re on. The batter would probably do neither. Then we’d bet again, double or nothing, on the next batter. And so on.
I went off to college, and then to work. Got married. Moved away. Got divorced. Moved even farther away and got re-married. And eventually, my wife sent me to Atlanta for the weekend.
So I sat on the couch, watching the 2012 Braves lose (again). And I sat right next to my Dad, who got annoyed, then swore, bet me a few million dollars and then turned off the game in disgust.
And no matter how much I win in the Mega Millions next week, I’ll never be able to buy something that wonderful.
P.S. - Hi Marvin! It's all there - "In order to live with myself", "Waiter! Check please" and a full moon!