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Woman Wins $600 Million Jackpot. Refuses to Claim It Because of 'Huge Mistake'

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When a person plays the lottery, they imagine winning will allow them a lifetime walk down “Easy Street.” Their dreams are of a luxurious, effortless, and uncompromised life — constructed by the faithful ideals of the American dream.

These grandiose representations of wealth in our culture are often left unexamined — leading to riches becoming ever more unquestionably desirable. Because of this conditioned desire for wealth, lottery tickets are continually marketed (and sold) to the dreamer in all of us.

But what happens when these dreams of wealth come to fruition? Do dreams really become the determined reality we believe in, or are there unforeseen repercussions?

Although “dreams” inherently connote positivity, there are two sides to every coin. People rarely consider the negative consequences that come with attaining their dreams until reality sets in.

A New Hampshire woman is currently living in this reality after discovering she had the winning ticket for a $560 million Powerball fortune. However, it has been a rough ride to acquiring this wealth.

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In a complaint filed in court, the woman (who is currently anonymous) said that she had made a “huge mistake” when she signed the back of the ticket. In doing so, she signed away her right to anonymity according to “clearly dictated” lottery rules and protocol.

Whether she was uninformed of this or not remains to be seen. However, it is quite likely that she had never considered how a public pronouncement of her winnings could severely impact her life.

Although money affords the opportunity for the lavish lifestyle mentioned before, it is somewhat incompatible with maintaining normalcy. People can’t help but look at someone differently when they are the idealistic embodiment of their dreams.

When the woman met with an attorney following her grave mistake, the attorney informed her how important anonymity is in her situation. He informed her that, “previous winners have been the victims of violence, threats, harassment, scams and unwanted solicitation.”

The woman then probably recognized the gravity of her good fortune. The attorney has since released a statement referring to the woman as, “an engaged community member [who] wishes to [maintain] the freedom to walk into a grocery store or attend public events.”

Had the woman signed the name of a trust on the ticket, she could have maintained this anonymity and the potential for a continued sense of normalcy. Thus, she is currently issuing an appeal to redact her original signature, to instead take this preferred pathway.

The woman says that she, “wants to use the trust to give a portion of her winnings to charity while remaining, ‘a silent witness to these good works’.” If this is true, she should be respected for her modest charity.

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However, it is important to recognize how the statement applies to the legal proceedings when understood in retrospect.

Although privacy should always be respected, the woman seemed to only consider this as an afterthought. Nonetheless, we hope that the woman remains safe throughout this entire process.

We further hope that future winners take time to reflect on how life-altering this amount of money would be. Understanding the benefits, as well as the opportunity cost, is imperative to following any dream you might have.

Take time to reflect on your desires today — and if you are feeling extra ambitious, read The Great Gatsby for more on the negative repercussions of wealth and dreams.

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