Happy “Be a Millionaire Day” to You!

Did you even know there was a “Be a Millionaire Day”? Me neither! I just learned this after doing some intensive research about “National Doughnut Day” (which is coming up the first Friday in June).

 

Anyway…

 

“Be a Millionaire Day” got me thinking about about all the reasons I would looooove to be a millionaire. And, while I would have a fantastic time spending thousands on fancy clothes and cars, my drive to have more moo-lah comes from a desire to have more freedom in my life.

 

And the reason I want more freedom?

 

To spend more time with my family.

 

You, more than anyone, already know how important that is:

 

When you have fewer years left on this earth than you’ve already lived, won’t you want to be sure you have spent your time here wisely?

Won’t you feel better knowing you gave all the love and time you could have to the people most important to you?

 

Won’t you find peace knowing that you aren’t trying to cram in all kinds of stuff in at the last minute?

 

Ahh….that’s what I thought.

 

 

What Got Me Thinking About Why I Want to Be a Millionaire

 

This week, I visited with one of the most influential women in my life. It had been a couple of years since I’d seen her last.

 

She is my family. But technically isn’t.

 

We aren’t related by blood. We are connected in spirit.

 

I first met Mrs. L in grade school. She was one of my teachers. As a “tween,” I recognized Mrs. L as one tough mutha.

 

In fact, at first, she scared me. During my first hour of class with her, I felt like I wanted to puke, then pass out. Even now, 30+ years later, I clearly remember how she non-chalantly opened my first day of 5th grade barking expectations, along with the consequences of not meeting them. Because I am (and have always been) a people pleaser, of course, I was terrified I might fail (in something) and not only disappoint, but worse…get The Paddle!

 

I fell sick for the next three days. Mom let me stay home. My illness? Fear.

 

After I didn’t show up for school by Thursday, Mrs. L actually called my mom. She asked if I was OK and if I would ever be back. Mom asked me how I was feeling about going back, and I had to think for a minute.

 

Even then, at the age of 12, I already knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Because of this, I also knew I would have to return to my 5th grade class again someday so I could progress on to law school. Damn!

 

I went back on Friday.

 

Thank goodness I did. Because I went back and gave Mrs. L a chance, she became a woman who would motivate and inspire me for the rest of my life (and to this very day). She would be my first working mom role model. Although she was a grade school teacher, as I progressed all the way through law school, our lives continued to intertwine. Her fiery spirit was always there, pushing me to realize my emotional and intellectual wholeness.

 

It is because of Mrs. L that I first started writing to express myself. It is because of her that I still write to express. When I find myself in a situation that merits radical honesty (with grace), I often think about how Mrs. L would handle things. That is often a good place to start.

 

 

So Back to My Visit With Her Last Week

 

As I mentioned, it has been quite a while since I last saw her. Over the last year and at almost 80 years old, Mrs. L has experienced some health challenges. Because of this, her normal church, volunteer and travel activities have been on hold.

 

The fire is still in my dear Mrs. L’s eyes. Now, for the first time ever though, I see fear in them. And her fear makes ME afraid.

 

For her.

 

And…for me.

 

How much longer will she be here? How much longer will I be here?

 

Is she ready to go? Am I ready to go?

 

Is there enough time to do the things she’s always wanted? Is there enough time to do the things I’ve always wanted?

 

And, if there is enough time, is she strong enough in body and spirit to do them? If there is enough time, I’d better do them now, while I AM strong enough in body and spirit.

 

 

My Thoughts on Death and Dying

 

For a long time I have thought my attitude about death was pretty healthy. I felt resolved that I would accept when it was my time “to go.” Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had a nightmare.

 

I was walking down the road, and a homeless guy asked me for some money. When I told him “no,” he pulled a gun on me. I ran. He chased me.

 

The dream went on and on with me fleeing and him close behind. In my dream, I knew my time had come. I was sobbing.

 

I was terrified, but mostly, I was devastated because I wasn’t ready to leave my family. There were still things I wanted to do with and say to my husband and daughter. I knew they weren’t ready for me to leave, either.

 

My dream ended abruptly when my alarm went off. I was actually sobbing when I woke up. My heart ached inside, and I walked around with a heaviness for the rest of the day.

 

That day, I decided to make a couple of changes in my life. The changes, while small, are big ones for me.

 

I decided to focus more energy on being present when with the people most important to me. I decided to reach out to a couple of other friends whom I haven’t seen in months or even years. I decided to take a lunch instead of always working through it. I decided to go outside at least one time per day just to inhale the fresh air, listen to the birds, look up at the sky and give thanks for my life.

 

Today, on “Be a Millionaire Day,” take the time to have at least one beautiful moment with someone you love. Laugh. Be present.

 

Get a head start on making sure that when it really is your time, you can say with certainty you did your best to spend every moment you could doing everything you wanted with the people you love.

 

Annnnd…today, also in honor of National “Be a Millionaire Day,” I leave you with this quote from one of the greatest writers ever, Oscar Wilde…

 

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

Sending you wishes for a week in which you enjoy the real riches already present in your everyday life.

 

All my best,

-w

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