Why I gave up playing the lottery

My father used to play the daily number every day. On Fridays, I remember us stopping to purchase his daily numbers after he’d pick me up from school. Then we’d always watch the lottery drawing around dinner time. The one cool thing about the daily number, or i guess my dad playing it, was if my birthday hit he’d let me keep a portion of the winnings, usually a hundred or so dollars. For an elementary school kid that amount of money seemed like all the money in the world. I used to think about all the things I was going to buy for my friends and family. As a child, it was my version of the Powerball.

Today, I blow through a hundred dollars like it’s nothing. It’s really amazing how times have changed. I’m sitting at my computer while I rack up  water, electric, and heat bills that will easily exceed $100. That’s life as an adult. The one thing that’s different is I never play the lottery. I don’t think I’ve ever played the daily number. I think my father also gave it up as I got older but as I think about I’m really not sure. I think he began playing lottery games with bigger jackpots like the Powerball.

You always hear about the Powerball, the huge sums of money, and the winners. If you’ve worked in any type of job where you had coworkers then you have probably been involved with an office Powerball poll. This polls used to happen whenever the Powerball jackpot got over $100 million, now it seems like the jackpots have reaches well over that amount. I know about these polls because I would take part in them. It was the only time I’d ever play the lottery. I’d get into the poll, dream about winning all that money, and what I’d do with it. Sometimes I’d buy one of my own tickets because, “Somebody had to win, right?”

Then this poll started forming more and more often. Five dollars every week, and I began thinking about why I was playing the lottery. The odds are way against me. I’m never going to win, but the larger issue was if I even wanted to win. What if I invested that five dollars ever week? I’d probably have a lot more to show for it.

The thought of if I even wanted to win nagged at me. It’s something The Muse wrote about the habits happy people threw away a long time ago. Happy people don’t wish for luck. I was wishing for luck when I was playing the Powerball. Instead I decided to concentrate on making my own luck. Fantasizing about what I would do with all those Powerball winnings was fun but it wasn’t helping me achieve my goals. If I was truly happy with my own life then I wouldn’t need to pay money to enjoy the fantasy.

I’d rather focus my time on what I can control. I don’t want to be randomly selected. I want to choose myself. 

That’s why I gave up the lottery.


HT themuse