Facing the Odds: Lotto Dreams, Life Goals

Been thinking about odds lately with the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot, Powerball and other sky-high lottos around the country. A single winner in a small South Carolina town beat the daunting odds but as of yet, has not come forward and can stay incognito.

According to media reports, the odds of winning the historic jackpot were 1 in 302.5 million.

So, is not buying a ticket making a smart, practical decision in the face of those overwhelming, improbable odds? Or is it just not trying? Giving up hope? Not having any faith?

This leads me to think of other parts of my life where the odds seem heavily stacked against me, which include my personal dream of getting published. Whether it’s a collection of short stories or a novel, I’ve always dreamed of holding a book, a literary creation that is all my own.

I’ve written since I was a child. I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a reporter and writer for several years. I earned my master’s degree in English, with a focus in creative writing. But while my thesis was a collection of short stories, I’ve only published one short story and in a small, local publication.

At this point, as a 40-year-old with heavy doubts and seemingly incredible odds against me, I feel like I’ve just stopped trying. Beginnings of stories, dramatic scenes, and countless pieces of short stories and potential novels fill spirals and notebooks galore. But by not trying, or to continue with the lotto metaphor, by not stepping up to buy a ticket, am I hiding behind the lame excuse of being practical? Am I a realist by saying that I’m focusing on the daily chores of life – work, paying bills, focusing on financial, physical and emotional health – or am I hiding from a fear of failure, letting my laziness win, and just not trying?

If I don’t get in line and buy a ticket, meaning, if I don’t seriously start writing and following through, the outcome is inevitable. No win for me. And I don’t like those odds at all.

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