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If I won the lotto


If I won the lotto

Richard O’Leary deliberates what it truly means to win the lottery and how joy can be found in unexpected places.

Oh how I remember the days when my life was all about wine, women and song.

Alas, no longer.

These days it’s more like soy flat white, myself, and reading.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m more content than I’ve ever been.

The realisation of how much my life has changed came as I painted the ceiling of the verandah by myself, listening to the podcast The History of Rome, while my boys entertained themselves inside.

My hands were covered in paint, my shoulders ached from reaching above my head, but I was happy.

As I continued to slap the paint between the masking tape borders, my mind wandered to all the talk about winning Lotto – one of the prizes had jumped to $110 million.

My parents had bought a couple of tickets and had already divvied up their winnings (I did quite well, thank you very much).

But what would I do if I won?

I’d pay the mortgages for myself and my brothers.

Give my parents a blank cheque, knowing it wouldn’t pay for everything they’ve given me.

A college fund for my kids and then some.

Of course, I’d start the obligatory charity – although I convinced myself I would give my time as well as my money.

I’d buy a bookshop – just so I could wander in and take any title I wanted.

One-hundred acres in the hinterland. A few horses. And I’d rescue a couple of sheep and cows each year to partially offset all those lamb chops and roasts I had eaten until recently.

Tuition fees would be set aside so I could do any university subject – just for the heck of it. No thought of getting another degree.

Of course I’d continue to work – just to keep me honest.


A couple of million in the bank for travel and that would just about do me.

Probably $5 million – $10 million tops – I’m not a greedy man.

The reality is I would change very little, as boring as that sounds. I would pay my debts and put aside cash for my bills and I could stop stressing about my financial future.

But I would still live on the Sunshine Coast. My kids would go to the same school.

I would hang around my same friends. And one of the most enjoyable things in the world would still be painting a ceiling by myself while listening to a podcast as my boys played inside.

So really, I have already won the lottery.

Although, maybe I could splurge on a couple of decent paint brushes – these ones keep going outside the lines.


Richard O’Leary is a journalist, a political advisor and a father who knows there’s a deeper meaning to life but struggles to find it.

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