Mallika Chopra: What would you do if you could take a year off?

What would you do if you were given $100K to take the year off?

  • Would you quit your miserable job, buy some cozy sweats, re-do your bedroom and chill at home watching movies, eating good food, sleep and get back to a state of balance?
  • Would you travel the world and see those places on your dream list?
  • Moms, would you hire a good nanny and a housekeeper and treat yourself to spa days and get away weekends with girlfriends?
  • Would you decide to volunteer for a year – perhaps give back to your community with money and time?
  • Would you go back to school?  Pay off your loans? Start a college fund for your kids?
  • Pursue your hobby or life long dream to become a filmmaker or guitar player?
  • Would you take care of your health?  Perhaps you need to learn how to meditate, get a trainer, and revamp your eating habits.  Or, as a caretaker, perhaps you can help someone you love heal and find comfort?  How could $100K bring healing into your life?

Posed with this question, my mind began racing with the infinite things I could, should and would do with $100K.  (FYI, was inspired to think about this by a promotion by Gold Peak Tea which is supporting someone to take a year off – to enjoy the comforts of home, rejuvenate and do whatever they want  – with $100K.)

An interesting Gallup study from several years ago distinguished “life satisfaction” from “enjoyment of life”.  $100K definitely can give most people in the US the day-to-day security (life satisfaction) which leads to happiness.  But people who “enjoy life” don’t necessarily find it with more money.  Enjoyment of life generally includes  being socially connected, having fun, and feeling a sense of purpose.

So if you were gifted some money, how would you decide what to do with it?

Here’s how I would decide – what would make me feel happy, and more balanced in my life. Here’s a model of balance I have been using to make choices about how I spend my time and financial resources.  In each bucket, I think about where I am thriving, struggling or suffering:

  • Rest and Sleep
  • Good Nutrition and Exercise
  • Relationships (Family, Friends and Community)
  • Work, Financial, Career
  • Intellectual Stimulation
  • Creativity and Play
  • Spirituality and Sense of Purpose

Be honest with yourself about those buckets where you feel balanced, and those which you need some help on.  Think about if you had more resources, how could you use them to bring your life in more balance.  And, decide which ones you can improve right now, by making an intent to embrace what makes you stronger, happier, more purposeful and fulfilled.

photo by: paul bica


  1. Ah, how nice that sounds! My husband and I would go on a few retreats (one being Seduction of Spirit and the other to a Buddhist retreat in upstate NY). It would give us more time to see friends and do some volunteer work. My husband could finish the documentary he is working on and I would go back to school for my PHD in Holistic Nutrition and continue studying Ayurveda. I would meditate more, teach more yoga, finish my second book and work towards my goal of changing careers. It’s a goal I have been slowly working towards but time off and extra money would accelerate that change. I also think time off helps us pause and organize our thoughts which can be life changing.

  2. My husband and I would spend time doing pottery. I would make little bowls for dogs and cats to sell and donate the money to care for them with ASPCA. I would make something special to sell to donate the money to help children that are abused. What a wonderful year it would be. I would also go see my grandchildren that I never get to see.

  3. I would pay my home taxes for two years, estamate my families bill usage and food. Set that aside take all 8 of my children and grand children on vacation. Then at the same time as estamating my bill usage take the monies out for charity. Then I would upgrade the things in my home that will be more energy and cost effective,new Windows doors, some of the electricity (I have a very old house) prepare for my kids to go to school. One of my daughters and myself are making a transition to veganism having some extra money will help (its expensive to by healthy food) I already have a meditation ritual I would like to creation a space for that in my home either my basement or attic. I would love to take am herbalism class and receive my Level 3 Rieki attunement. I would like to take a group trip to Whales with friends of mine in 2013. But that is what I would do with that amount of money.

  4. Definitely would take time off to pursue some aspirations. Wanted to play the violin and would look at that seriously. Also would look at spending some time with distant relatives whom I have heard of but never seen or interacted. Go back to my roots.

  5. I would move back to India to help the widows who are living on the streets by the thousands, used as sex slaves or just begging for a few rupees to get enough rice for one meal. I would work with the local communities in Varanasi, and Delhi to help these women by teaching them skills and forming small companies in which we can sell the artifacts that they make. Also, I would start my own company called, Widows Helping Widows, based out of the USA, in which I would take Western widows to meet these Indian widows, and let the magic of compassion, love, and caring, and wonder unfold.