“Six Years Ago, I Was Homeless”: California Woman Wins Life-Changing $5 Million Lottery Jackpot
You’ve heard the saying: “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
It’s a cliché we say when someone is going through hard times, and we don’t know what else to say, or worse…a cliche said to us, when we’re going through hard times and someone doesn’t know what else to say.
Maybe it’s just me, but “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel”, never fails to make me feel more lost.
It’s a frustrating reminder that I have to be patient when all else fails. I just have to be patient, I remind myself, and my situation will change. But what this cliche fails to mention, is that you can’t just sit in a dark tunnel waiting for the lights to magically turn on…
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Reaching the light at the end of the tunnel requires action. It’s something you have to drive towards, or according to Tim Field, who jig-sawed the saying, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel but first you’ll have to find the light switch and change the bulb before switching it on yourself.”
I had a very odd coping mechanism as a child. I would project myself into an imagined future, where I had overcome whatever hard situation I faced. Of course, the hard situation was something like eating my vegetables, but still, Broccoli is the 5-year-old’s Kilimanjaro.
I don’t know where I learned this technique, but as an adult I find I still return to this coping mechanism when I’m experiencing hardship. In difficult times, I try to project myself into an imagined future where I have overcome these obstacles (I believe the kids call it manifesting).
On the flip side, when I’m in moments of triumph, I instinctively reflect on what I’ve overcome…
I think this is because human beings find meaning in hardship. Overcoming the “losses” is what give the “wins” their value.
I think that’s why when Lucia Forseth won a $5 Million lottery ticket, her first thought was how 6 years earlier, she never could have imagined this moment.
This is because, 6 years earlier, Lucia Forseth was homeless.
From Rags to Riches and Everything In Between
Lucia picked up the lucky lottery ticket at a Walmart Supercenter in Pittsburgh.
According to a press release, Lucia just shut her eyes and picked one ticket at random, not thinking much of it.
Later in the parking lot, she rifled under the hood of her car checking her oil. It was then she thought to take a beat and try her luck with the scratcher. She etched away at the chalky surface with a loose coin.
When the winning numbers were revealed, Lucia couldn’t believe her luck! She thought she had won another free scratcher ticket but she was wrong.
It was so much better.
Lucia had won $5 Million Dollars!
6 Years Can Feel Like A Whole Lifetime…
What makes Lucia’s story so inspiring is that 6 years earlier she never could have imagined even having the cash to purchase a lotto ticket, much less winning a $5 Million Dollar Jackpot.
Lucia proudly reflected on how far she had come from the hardship as 1 of the 554,000 houseless persons recorded in America in 2017.
Over the course of the next 6 years, Lucia would make 5 million little decisions that would bring tally up to the exact moment where she held $5 Million dollars in her hand, in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter.
In a flash, Lucia was brought right back to that familiar place she was in, 6 years earlier, when her future was so uncertain. She returned to the present moment with immeasurable gratitude, reminded of how hard the road had been and happy many steps she had taken to get there.
Lucia remarks not only on her appreciation for the big lottery win but how astonished she is by how different her life is all these years later. She proudly shared with the press that aside from her big win, she is also earning her associate degree and getting married later this year.
Maybe I’m too nostalgic for my own good, but I think the funny thing about being human is that we’re always trying to make sense of our time here. We’re always trying to connect the dots and I believe it is in these moments of reflection we find the meaning behind our experiences.
In our greatest triumphs, we always return to the losses we thought we’d never overcome. It’s a reflex, we can’t help it.
I think it’s our brain’s way of reminding us how resilient we are. It wants us to catalog where we’ve come from and just how far we’ve come, so we know we can do it again.
Those are always the times I feel most proud of myself. When I’m flipping through my own catalogue of failures, tallying the many losses I’ve faced, before pasting a “win” to the pages.
Because really, it’s not in the scale or greatness of the “win” but rather the distance we’ve traveled there.
Many of us won’t experience homeless– and Official Scratcher odds say almost none of us are going to win $5 million dollars, but we’ve all lived lifetimes between the light and dark of dusk and dawn.
The universal part of being human is we’ve all driven miles and miles through dark tunnels, toward the light of an uncertain future–an uncertain hope.
I imagine at some point when Lucia was living in uncertain circumstances, she was told there was a light at the end of the tunnel at a time when she really couldn’t see it.
I imagine one of her first thoughts after winning $5 Million dollars was if only I knew then what the future would bring.
But the inspiring part…is Lucia didn’t have to know what the future held. Instead in the tunnel she chose patience, chose action–fumbling around in the dark, looking for the switch to flip.
The reassuring part is…if you’re driving through the tunnel right now if you’re in a hard season of your life and the future feels uncertain, I promise you clichés are clichés for a reason.
There’s a light coming and you’re closer than you think. Until then, steady the wheel and just keep your foot on the gas.