As emotional and social creatures who need to be constantly stimulated, we are addicts to the moments within a captivating story which led up to the climax. Whether you prefer action movies or romantic comedies, we are all way more interested in the anticipation and culmination of trials and tribulations of the human soul than post gratification stories of the hero. Few films depict the everyday live's of the high-school sweethearts after they have just married, just as few movies show the scenes of the hero at home doing the dishes after he has just saved the world. Similarly, we hardly ever hear the stories of the winners of massive jackpots and how it has actually changed their lives.
Why Do I Suddenly Burst Into Tears And Then I Suddenly Laugh?”
This story follows the life of Elaine Thompson both leading up to her £2.7 million lottery win in 1995 and how it has changed her life since. Upon first learning of her success, Elaine (59) from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne was giddy and understandably jittery.
“I cried, then I laughed, then I panicked, what do you do?”
Understanding the frantic feelings of anxiety, Elaine has volunteered to serve as a guide to those who have recently come into new riches similarly. Elaine describes the most commonly asked questions from those she seeks to help.
"Why haven’t I had any sleep? Why do I feel sick? Why do I suddenly burst into tears and then I suddenly laugh?”Most people who have fantasised about what they would do upon learning that they have just won the lottery often start thinking about telling their boss where to get off. However, the reality of the situation often leaves many anxious and wondering what the implications would be to their lives. Coming to terms with what's ahead often takes jackpot winners months to comprehend, which could be why many wait until close to the deadline to cash in on their prize.
“We were Mr and Mrs Average, with two children and a dog. It took about six months for it to sink in for me. I remember, I went into M&S and I loved their cotton jumpers. And I stood there, about one month after the win, and I’m thinking what colour should I get. Then, all of a sudden, I thought: ‘For God’s sake, Elaine, you’ve got £2m in the bank. Buy them all,” said Thompson.
“It takes a long time to realise instead of spending £29 on a jumper, you can buy 10 for £290. I still felt guilty for weeks, though,” Elaine went on to say.
Although Elaine and her husband quit their jobs, they couldn't bring themselves to stop working altogether. The couple decided to try their hand at owning and running a restaurant, admittedly one of the hardest business to maintain. Elain inherited a staff of 52 when they purchased their favourite seafront bistro as soon as they heard that it was up for sale.
“So we bought that, and I inherited 52 staff. It came with a fish and chip takeaway and an ice-cream parlour. We were working 18-hour days. It was fantastic,” she said. “I’m a workaholic anyway.”
Another passion in which the couple decided to indulge was owning a racehorse. “It had more shoes than Imelda Marcos, We nicknamed him ‘Sick Note’ in the end, because every time he went to race, he got a cough.”
Today, the couple still live in Newcastle in what Elaine describes as a “four-bedroom normal house on a normal housing estate in Newcastle. I wanted a house I could clean in one day.”
“The Win Certainly Hasn’t Changed Me As a Person"
We often hear stories of those who have squandered their winnings on material possessions over improving their quality of life. It is refreshing to see that money doesn't change everybody's family values. Elaine is likely to stay busy even through retirement as she has invested money, and more importantly, her time into her charity work readying newly-made millionaires along their journey to an inevitably changing life.
“The best thing that happened from the win is that my children went through university, and they didn’t owe anything when they came out the other end,” said Elaine of her daughter, 31, and son, 26.
“I am from a council house and a single-parent family in Wallsend. I know it is a cliche, but my dream was to make sure their life was better than mine. And I’ve done it. My next dream now is just to enjoy retirement.”
“The win certainly hasn’t changed me as a person, but it has changed my life, completely,” she said.