"I dream. Sometimes I think that's the only right thing to do." -- Haruki Murakami
This past week the Powerball lottery reached an all-time high: $1.5 billion.
And all around me, people were in a ticket-buying frenzy. (Full disclosure: I was one of those people.)
Some stood in line for hours while others superstitiously hopped from location to location to purchase tickets. Some took part in office pools and some crossed the border from Canada all for a chance, all for the shot at becoming a billionaire. The local news reported that at one point $176,000 worth of tickets was sold in one hour, in just one state.
Naturally, all of us ticket buyers began to imagine how life would be different if we won the lottery.
In this fantasy, people's wildest dreams suddenly felt close -- felt real. I heard hopes of buying a home, paying off bills, gallivanting around the globe, doing charitable acts, helping loved ones, starting a business... the list goes on.
The Powerball frenzy was a funny thing. Most of us, no matter how optimistic we are, realized we probably wouldn't win the jackpot. Yet, there we were in line, buying tickets, betting against all odds.
I began to think about how there's a reason why buying tickets to a lottery we may never win appeals to us.
In that time before the winning numbers are drawn we are allowed to be dreamers, doers, hopers, imaginers, transformers, and believers.
The possibilities are endless; anything is possible. Even our craziest, wildest, most outlandish dreams are suddenly right within our grasp. We will be able to do it all, see it all and be it all.
That feeling is exhilarating, empowering and inspiring. That feeling is priceless.
And so we think: Why not just go for it? Why not buy the ticket just to see what happens? What do I have to lose? Why not me?
That's when we find ourselves standing in line with strangers who are all asking themselves the same questions.
But the thing we may be forgetting is this: we don't need a winning lottery ticket to dream up big dreams. We don't have to have a billion dollars to go after our dreams and we shouldn't wait for a one in a billion chance to get that priceless feeling.
Would it make things easier? Well, sure. But we don't need a few lucky numbers to give us permission to imagine, hope and wonder.
We just need to keep our sense of wonder alive.
I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone quit their jobs, forego all responsibilities and chase a dream. I simply want us to remember that dreaming is free. Our imagination doesn't cost us anything. Hope is rooted deep within our souls and is not something that can be bought at a local convenience store.
We can all be hopers even without a little yellow slip in our hand. We don't have to dream our wildest dreams only on Wednesdays or Saturdays, right before the winning numbers are drawn. We can dream as often as we want -- no restrictions and no purchase necessary.
"Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning." -- Gloria Steinem
Dreaming is a part of who we are. We are meant to dream, aspire, plan and chase. We don't need to reach into the depths of our wallet to find it. We simply need to reach into the depths of who we are to become who we may one day be.
We just need the willingness to try.
And the willingness to try can be done in small, baby steps. It starts with faith and inspiration and then it's up to us to carry the dream as far as it can take us -- or as far as we can take it.
Why not just go for it? Why not just see what happens? What do I have to lose? Why not me?
This post was originally published on universeletters.com