Of Life and Jackpots

The pot in the Lotto here in the Philippines is at its biggest ever at P288 million. It has yet to be won to date. Individuals are buying tickets like crazy, in the hopes of receiving P288 million in one go.

What would you do if you won the Lotto, someone asked me that question recently. Even if I do not buy lotto tickets anymore, it was good to dream for awhile. As they say in the vernacular - libre naman ang mangarap -- oo, kahit hindi ka bumili ng tiket.

I replied by saying that I would probably travel around the world, blog all day, and write and publish ten books! The person then asked if I wouldn't get bored just doing that and not having a regular day job. I probably would not get bored. If I could live off P288 million, i could pursue the thing that I like most, which is to write.

As I hear about the super big lotto jackpot, I recall with amusement the time when I used to buy lotto tickets. Or make that, when someone used to line up for me to buy lotto tickets. My friends and I had an officemate before who was so kind to line up for all of us and buy us our tickets. During times then when the jackpot would hit a humongous amount, my officemates and I would pool our funds together to be able to buy more combinations and numbers. Then, we would daydream about winning and how, when we won, we would all just simultaneously fax our letters of resignation from different locations to our employer. That's probably why we never did win. Our plans were not too good. Haha.

Aside from the chance to win big money, why are so many people attracted to buy lotto tickets? I guess it stems from the inherent need to take chances to be able to survive daily life. The way I look at it, all of life is about taking chances, making choices -- it is about winning some and losing some. It can be about massive successes and minute losses or it can also be the other way around -- significant losses and little victories. No matter what negative things life brings our way though, there is a need to stand up again, dust yourself off and line up again.

I read the book The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder years ago (I forget now what it was all about) but I never forgot a line from that book which to me, was my most important take-away: "Life is one huge lottery where only the winning tickets are visible."

In the Chapter called Four of Clubs (where the above line appears), there is a discussion about how the chance of even one of our ancestors not dying is quite mind boggling. The threats to our ancestors' surviving and to our own survival are mentioned: wars, floods, lightning, etc. The fact that anyone's chain, my chain, or your chain of life was not broken for any child or for any of us to be born and to exist is enough for us to appreciate that we are here to experience life on this planet. In that sense, we have already beat the odds and hit the jackpot.

Think about it my friends. There is a purpose to you having been born. There is a purpose to you still being here. Find that purpose. Pursue that purpose. Yes, you can think about it as you line up for your next lotto ticket but remember, even if your numbers don't get drawn or chosen, you have already won the jackpot.

[By Angelica Viloria | Saturday, February 21, 2009]

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