If I had a million dollars
Okay – so my sort-of unspoken goal was to post daily. I’ve since discovered how difficult it is to travel with a toddler and get to a computer. I wrote 5 fabulous posts in my head this past weekend but my hands were full. I did manage to briefly check facebook and twitter before crashing every night and there was a tweet that got me so jazzed I haven’t been able to let it go. And so I will blog…
If you had to spend a million dollars today, what would you do?
I LOVE this question. It makes me feel excited and abundant. It gets my philanthropic juices flowing. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be different but here is what I would do today. Oh – and my personal rule for this question is that stashing money in a Swiss bank account or investing in stocks, bonds or mutual fund type things are not allowed. It’s more fun that way – at least for me.
In completely random order I would spend my million as follows:
Wire $50 000 to my brother and his wife. They are both PhD students, living off scholarships and grants and taking care of my adorable niece. Money in the bank would take some pressure off.
Hire a professional organizer to help my parents sort through 35 years of *stuff* so that their house is clutter-free. I figure that’s about a $10 000 investment. Then I’d hand over another $20 000 to a contractor to finish the dance studio in the basement that my mom has wanted for the last 20 years or so. I owe my parents more than money could ever buy so this might not seem like a lot, but they would LOVE it and I would feel really really good.
Write a $20 000 check each to two of my best friends, Cynthia and Diana, who are single moms and could really use a cushion – and a break.
Donate $100 000 to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles because my beautiful friend Trena raises money for them and they’re a great organization.
Give another $70 000 to Hilltop Preschool in Silverlake. They’ve lost a big grant with the budget cuts. My good friend Betsy busts her ass fundraising for her kids and this would not only do a good deed, it would mean I could ignore her pleas for at least a year 🙂
$50 000 would go to a domestic violence shelter and $50 000 to an organization that helps prevent female circumcision.
Call my former prof, Sylvie Taylor, who runs the Applied Community Psychology specialization at Antioch University Los Angeles. I’d set up a $50 000 scholarship for ACP students – $5000 a year for the next 10 years to be given to a student with financial need who is making a difference in his or her community in a meaningful way. I’d also ask Sylvie which graduates are running programs that need support and I’d give another $50 000 here (to whoever I could get in touch with first perhaps, since I only have 24 hours to do all of this!)
Spend $10 000 pre-paying for massages, chiropractic, and acupuncture for my hubby and myself, dance, yoga and pilates private lessons for myself and music, movement and art classes for my daughter. While it might sound indulgent, I’m learning that this kind of self-care is anything but.
Whew – halfway there. This is so much fun!
Buy a new laptop (MacBook Pro) and iPod (I think ours is an original). Approximately $3000 at the Apple Store.
Buy airline tickets for my parents to come out and visit us. Buy tickets for us to go visit them. Same for hubby’s folks. And for us to fly to see my brother in Berkeley, his sister in Colorado and brother in Detroit. I’m guessing here but that would probably run about $5 000.
Rent an RV for two months so we could travel across the US and Canada visiting friends and family. Since we both work from home, this would actually be possible. We could take the dog but would have to find a temporary home for the cats. So pay for that too. Approximately $10 000.
Buy some really good wine. For us. For friends. For family. Okay, really good is probably relative but I’ll budget $5 000. Does that seem ridiculously low or high?
Replace all my towels and bedding with organic cotton. Donate the old ones to an animal shelter along with some money. Total $17 000.
Give $50 000 to a wildlife conservation group. I’m thinking NRDC but would consult my brother (the ecologist) on this.
Email all my friends and ask for the name of their favorite charity/worthy start up company. Divvy up another $200 000 between these. Check your email often people – you just never know.
Hire a professional to build the website of my dreams. I’ll start with $4 000 for this – my website dreams are small but will grow with me.
Buy my husband the Toyota Highland Hybrid he wants. About $50 000 for that I think, which seems a bit ridiculous but he’s a good man and he has to drive further now that we’ve moved.
Okay – $150 000 left to spend. With this I will pay down the last of our debt. Get myself a nice, reliant automobile (a hybrid or veggie oil or something of the sort). Go on a book shopping spree. All the books I want to read and can’t find on paperbackswap.com. The books I want to study and highlight and underline. The books that help feed my passion, my purpose, and my family’s bellies. Buy myself some new t-shirts and jeans, a couple of pairs of shoes and a nice dress or two. Nothing fancy. Buy some art.
I’m guessing by this time it’ll be late in the day and I’ll still have a few thousand dollars in my pocket. I think what I would do is go to the grocery store, load up on food and hit the streets. There are a lot of folks without homes here in sunny Southern California and I know where to find a few. I’d bring some friends and hand out what I could. Anything left over would go to the food bank. And the last dollars in my pocket? That’s a toss up. I guess it depends how much is left. I think I’d take some to the local homeless shelter and then to top off a very busy, incredibly lovely day, I would just drop some money on the street for the Universe to decide who needs it the most.
And you? How would you spend your million? Inspire me with your vision to make the world – or your own life – a better place to be.