If you are a millionaire, you are probably not reading this. I woke up at three this morning, having had one of those dreams where you have won the lottery but couldn’t find the ticket. It’s the sort of dream that could make you wet the bed; I was spared that indignity. I did get up – it was 3am, and make a cuppa. Then, I sat on the sofa and imagined how it would feel to win a million. My mind whirled like a hungry Dervish, as I went through the scenario in glorious Technicolor.
Would I be like the winners you read about in the tabloids? ‘I’m staying in my two-up, two-down and carrying on with my work in the soup factory. It won’t change my life one bit…’ I don’t think so. So, what would I do first? Remember it was three in the morning, so there has to be some dramatic license. In those wee small hours everything is magnified. And when I say everything, I mean your morals, your conscience, your perception of money and what it can do for you, or not. For me, the first thought that blossomed was the idea of being able to give each of my four children enough money to see them right for the rest of their lives. But then I realised I would have to win the Euromillions for that. One million wouldn’t touch it. So the fantasy enlarged. I was now the winner of fifty-four million, at least; enough to buy a small country.
Once my kids were sorted, I would look at other members of my family, and then my mates and then the postman and the lady in the library and the director of our local theatre, the art gallery, the children’s services, the old people’s home up the road, the vet, the homeless, the man who cleans my windows…
The thing it, I have just taken a long holiday in Australia to see my daughter, and living in another country for longer than two weeks, makes you think! Coming back to a freezing UK, beleaguered by snow, floods and a miser’s budget, I realised that what is important is not money. Yes, you need enough to put food on the table every day but do we really need all the rest? Buying into the consumer circus that plays out in adverts shoved into our faces all the time, takes something away from us. It’s stops us focusing on what we really need and to my mind, that’s the closeness and love of the people we truly care about, be they family or friends.
But then, to keep the economy going, the circus has to play to packed houses. I have a feeling that deep inside we feel obliged to spend money, to get into debt, because by consuming we are keeping the shops open, keeping us all in jobs, keeping the money flowing. Trouble is, it’s all gone a bit wrong. The money is flowing, but not in the right direction.