In response to yesterday’s post a dear friend of mine suggested “Perhaps some journaling prompts would help?” What a brilliant idea!
So I did a Google search for “journaling prompts” and it offered an autocompletion of “journaling prompts for depression,” and since that kind of fits what I’m doing here I went with that. The first result I got was a list called 119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar, written by Marelisa Fabrega on her blog Daring to Live Fully. These prompts apparently are in turn compiled from a now-defunct blog written by a blogger that went by the name of Megg called Sunday Scribblings, and for my own reference I’m including links to both here.
Now, to be fair, these prompts aren’t specifically geared to depression, they’re much more general writing prompts. But they do seem to be effective, and so today I’m going to pick one of those prompts and write about it.
Today’s prompt is from a section that Marelisa calls The Sky’s the Limit. It asks the question “What would you do if money were no object?” That tends to imply a limit in and of itself, however, in that it implies that you’d only have a single response, and that’s not the case for me. I have a list of things that I’d do, so we’re going to alter the prompt to “You’ve just inherited five billion dollars. What will you do with it?” I chose five billion dollars as my limit here because the most expensive thing that I’d consider doing if money were truly no object would be to buy a sports franchise, and nowadays that’s not something you can even do with a billion dollars. It’s not something that actually makes my list of things I would do, but it would certainly be something that I’d consider in passing.
The first thing I’d do is pay off our debt, my mother’s debt, and my daughter’s student loans. After that, I’d buy a second car for us. Nothing terribly fancy, but something nice and useful, probably a small-size SUV, something that we could put a few friends into and that would haul a trailer full of camping gear. (For those that don’t know, my hobby involves camping, and a nice camping site in my hobby would be very comparable to the trend called “glamping” – glamour camping. There would be actual beds with actual furniture in large canvas pavilions made to look as they did hundreds of years ago, and that kind of gear takes up considerable amounts of space, hence the trailer for camping.) Then I’d pay whatever money would be required to get my mother out of assisted living and into a nice place of her own near us, specially built for someone who’s wheelchair bound, with a live-in nurse to help take care of her for the things that she can’t do herself. Those would be what I would consider to be the emergent situations that would need addressing.
Once all that was done, I’d start looking toward the future. I’d pay to have a nice house built to specs for my wife and I, large enough to have a few extra bedrooms should friends need crash space in the area for hobby reasons, but not opulently designed or with extravagant features like an in-house theater, for instance. Nice but not gaudy, someplace with some lovely scenery that’s not too far away from town to be convenient, and designed to be as carbon-neutral as possible. And then I’d start on my legacy.
With a large chunk of what was left, I’d start a foundation similar to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, something that would underwrite various other charities and their causes, and that’s where the large majority of the money would go. My main vocational focus would be on the administration of this foundation, doing research into and making decisions about which charities would receive funding from the foundation. (This part of the “if money was no object” question has varied somewhat over time, but the creation of a charitable foundation has always been the centerpiece of any large sum of money that I would acquire.)
Once that was done, I’d invest in a college degree for both myself and my wife, if for no other reason than to say we’re college graduates. We would effectively be retired, so these degrees would be in something that we wanted to study in depth rather than something that we’d feel a pull to do to make money, though my degree would likely be in something that would further my goal of non-profit administration for the foundation.
I’d also allow myself enough money to get my pilot’s license and to invest in a small Lear jet so that we could travel the country. This isn’t as much an extravagance as much as it is the fulfillment of a childhood dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to learn to fly.
We’d reserve enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for ourselves for the rest of our lives and we’d establish a trust fund for my daughter and her future family, so that they would be able to live comfortably as well.
The one ongoing splurge that we’d allow ourselves would be the ability to travel extensively. We’ve been married for going on fifteen years and we still to this day have not had a honeymoon, and I’d very much like to rectify that situation. There are so many places that hold such history that we’d love to go experience for ourselves, so that would be our one really guilty pleasure with this sum of money. (Aside from the plane, of course.)
So now that I’ve written what I’d do with five billion dollars, I’m going to challenge you to share what you’d do with that much money. Would you splurge or save? Something in between? Would you buy something extravagant, like my plane, or would you save it for future generations? Would you do something charitable, and if so, what? Tell me in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’d do if money were virtually no object.