Like thousands of other Californians, I’ve been having some major fantasies about winning the largest ever Mega Millions jackpot on Friday.
Actually, I started visualizing my winning several weeks ago when the jackpot was still a mere $300 million. To increase my odds of winning, I even taped written affirmations on my bedroom wall declaring, “I AM A LOTTO WINNER” and then read my declaration out loud each morning and each evening. I meticulously selected my winning numbers using the birth dates of both myself and my son as well as my age and his age and whatever remaining number popped into my head. I’ve tried my hardest to send out positive vibes into the universe. I even wrote my predicted Lotto winning amount and put it under my pillow for several nights after hearing a woman swear she won the Lotto doing the same thing.
This may seem like a lot of energy and time to devote to a game expecially given the fact that I don’t normally play the lottery. In fact, I haven’t bought a lottery ticket in years.
Lotto fever? No. My reasons have little to do with the excitement in the air over the half billion prize. My reasons involve my bathroom.
My shower has been unusable for the past three years. The water doesn’t drain, there’s a leak that requires me to empty a full bowl off water every morning into the sink and several contractors have told me that one of the support beams beneath the broken shower pan is water-logged and splitting – hence the reason I have a 3-foot long, 4-inch wide gap at the base of my shower.
The least amount to repair is about $10,000. It’s an insurmountable amount of money for me to imagine saving. I am only now beginning an arduous trek from being a stay-at-home mom dependent on her husband’s income for the last 10 years to a recently divorced woman aiming to earn my own money.
After three years of emptying bowls of leaked water and feeling like a failure at my inability to take care of the problem, I found my fantasies of winning the lottery increasing along with a frenzy to find other solutions that would require only my free thoughts to make my shower again useable. Positive affirmations, prayers and winning the Mega Millions seemed my only hope.
This morning I recalled another problem that once seemed equally insurmountable to me at the time.
Eight years ago, I was about 45 pounds overweight. Like my bathroom, I felt unusable. I felt disgusted with my inability to control my eating and to succeed on any of the countless diets. My own support beams beneath my psyche were weighed down by constant internal words of self-hatred, failure and powerlessness. Losing 45 pounds seemed insurmountable.
I fantasized about losing the weight with the same intensity that I’ve been applying to my visions of winning the Mega Millions.
I dreamt about a magic pill, diet program or weight loss drink that would permanently take away my cravings, prevent me from overeating and eradicate my appetite. I intensely envisioned obtaining instantaneous results like I those I’d seen on popular body transformational reality shows like The Swan, Extreme Makeover and Dr. 90210.
One recurring fantasy of mine was winning a coveted spot on The Swan then being locked away for three months with the best plastic surgeons, nutritionists and fitness experts. I would emerge as beautiful swan that would burst into joyous tears as I took my first look in a full length mirror at my toned, tanned and trim body for the first time.
I never did appear on The Swan and though I have a couple lottery tickets for this Friday’s drawing, I don’t foresee me being the lucky winner in this week’s Mega Million drawing.
And that is okay with me.
I realized today that once upon a time I truly believed that I would never be able to lose the extra weight that was causing me such emotional distress and physical discomfort. But I did.
I lost the weight in the same way I am going to fix my bathroom. I did it by ending my fantasies and facing reality. I did it by taking the first step -- walking to a stop sign just down the street from my house. I did it one day at a time. I got support. I stopped looking for instant fixes in diets and weight loss products. And slowly the weight came off.
Today, I opened a “bathroom repair” bank account at my local credit union to start saving the money necessary to fix the problem. I now have $50 saved. It’s my first step.
Once upon a time, losing 45 pounds seemed insurmountable but I did it.
Yesterday, saving $10,000 to repair my bathroom seemed insurmountable but, as of today, I am doing it – without pinning my hopes on the Mega Millions lottery.