Catching the Ace wouldn’t change life much

Catch the Ace fever is rampant in the Sault, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement. I’m not a lottery player, but there are lessons to potentially draw from the experience.

If you’ve been living under a rock in the Sault, the Esquire Club is running a charity raffle called “Catch the Ace.” People buy $5 tickets for a chance to select one playing card off the wall. If the card they choose is the Ace of Spaces, they win the progressive jackpot. I they don’t get the ace, the card selector gets around 10 per cent of the winning amount. The ace remains in play the next week, with an even bigger jackpot at stake. Two local charities will be the beneficiaries of a significant portion of each ticket’s price.
Why is it so exciting right now? No one has caught the Ace and the jackpot is over one million dollars. Lineups for tickets wind through parking lots and down the street. Last week, with only two cards left, the winning ticket holder didn’t pick the ace, so this week, the winner is guaranteed the jackpot!

These are the best odds anyone will likely ever have to win one million dollars. To put it into perspective, the odds of winning the 6/49 if you purchase one ticket are one in 13,983,816, and while the number of tickets sold each week is growing, there are nowhere near 14 million tickets in the Esquire Club spinner.

I’ve been playing for the last three weeks with a friend and have enjoyed the moments were I luxuriate in the idea of winning. What would I do if I won? How would this change my life? Would the same people still be in my life? This is where I think there may be some life lessons waiting to reveal themselves to me.

Shouldn’t we all have a career where even if we won, we’d still want to continue working (albeit on a much more part-time basis)? If we know that our first order of business after winning would be to call the boss and tell him off, shouldn’t we be finding another job? I’ve always felt that retirement is working only when you want to, not because you have to. I’ve never been retired, but have practiced with two extended sabbaticals. Removing the money from my retirement planning equation would be freeing, but I wouldn’t change careers, because I love my work.

My life wouldn’t change that much, really. A new watch, and a new car would be in my future, and I’d start scratching more countries off my bucket list each year, but there would be no radical changes. I don’t buy things that I can’t afford now, and even if I could afford them after a win, I’d think twice before squandering winnings. Sure, I’d enjoy being able to indulge in the finer things more frequently than I do now, but at the same time I appreciate them tremendously now when I do get them because they are a rarity. I’ve set financial goals in terms of debt elimination and savings all my life, so those wouldn’t be top of mind either, though they’d be completed sooner with a win. That said, I would give more time and money to charities that are important to me. (And, if nothing else, I am currently giving to charity by buying tickets for Catch the Ace.).

In terms of who would be in my life, from my standpoint, I don’t see any changes to be made there either. There might be some fair-weather friends who appear out of the greedy woodwork, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let them into my world. I’ve culled out my frien-emies and am surrounded by a small, but hugely important group of amazing individuals, including my children.

Thank you Catch the Ace for making me keenly aware that I’m already on the path to the life that I’d want to have if I won the lottery. If you can’t say the same, maybe it’s time to review your work situation, your habits, and your friendships. Either way, I’ll see you in line at the Catch the Ace, and if you win, please remember that writers are paid poorly, and will accept charity.

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