A Fairly Flawed Plan

I have an escape plan.

My escape plan is to win the lottery.

I know that's a joke that everybody makes. They may as well try because you never know! Or they can't stop playing because what if the next week is the week that their numbers come up? Gambling is a bad habit they can't seem to stop so they dismiss the whole thing as a laugh. And one day, they'll win big, hahaha.

But I don't completely feel like I'm joking. I feel like it's a plan. It's been thought through and discussed in detail with my friend, H, who is also planning to win the lottery, but on a different night.

We're not being greedy here. We're not talking triple jackpot rollover wins. We don't need enough for a ten bedroom mansion with acres and acres of land (because, no matter how rich we were, that heating bill would hurt. Plus, someone would have to mow the lawn. Maybe goats?).

I can't speak for H here, but my plan is to win enough to pay off the mortgage. That's all. And, if you're not being greedy, it's manifestation or something, isn't it? The universe listens, decides that your request is reasonable, fiddles with the lottery machinery somehow, and voila!, money appears in your bank account.

So much do I consider this to be A Proper Plan that I was kind of surprised when I didn't win on Wednesday (the first time I had played in several years).

I mean, I did win. I won a lucky dip ticket for the next game.

But I didn't win enough to pay off the mortgage.

And this doesn't make sense to me.

I've won the lottery before, you see. I had all six numbers, recited on a whim as a friend drove me past a shop which sold tickets.

The friend scoffed and wouldn't stop the car.

My numbers came up and now somebody owes me £7,400,000.

So this is something I can do. I can win the lottery.

Of course, I know this is ridiculous. I know it doesn't work like that. I know, if it was possible to click your fingers and win, people would be doing it all the time. There would never be a rollover week and poverty would - finally - cease to exist.

But I'm tired of not having a solid escape plan. I'm tired of noting down all of our expenses in a spreadsheet and only buying biscuits from the discount store. I'm tired of owning a (lovely) flat in a city where flats (lovely or not) won't currently sell (a brief pause to acknowledge my privilege here - yes, we/our building society own the roof over our heads and not everybody gets to say that). I'm tired of having to get grandparents to pay for our eldest's gymnastics class or she simply wouldn't get to go. I'm tired of claiming tax credits, measly but essential as they are.

And escape plans are tricky under those circumstances. It's tricky to move, whether for better schools or cheaper housing or simply to not be upstairs from a bunch of students so young they still refer to their "pocket money". It's tricky to work when we can't afford childcare. It will be tricky to work even once the kids are at school because somebody has to look after them before 9 and after 3 and if they're sick and when the schools are on holiday, and, as S's work is pretty inflexible, I feel like that someone has to be me.

And so I've become that cliche of a woman pushed out of her career by having kids.

I spend a lot of time trying to see a way through this, but I've not yet figured it out.

So I'm clinging to something which seems much more stable than work: my infinitesimally small odds of winning the lottery.

Only, I'm not sure we can justify spending £2 per week on a ticket.

But, never mind - soon we won't need to! Because my lucky dip ticket is coming up tonight.

...right?

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