It seems that every blogging expat family this week is writing about “The American Dream”.
The dictionary definition of the “American Dream” can be found as such:
The traditional social ideals of the United States, such as equality, democracy, and material prosperity.
A life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.
I get it…who doesn’t want equality, a democratic government, and the ability to own whatever you desire? That’s why people have been immigrating to the US for countless years, right?!
While that may have been the original ideal, I believe the “American Dream” has warped and morphed into something that I don’t find dream-like at all.
Do all Americans have equality? Does every American have the same educational, living, and work opportunities? Does the Democratic government function in the way that it was originally designed?
The founders of this country were self-sufficient, lived on little (in comparison to now), and were happy with it. The American Dream was to “make something” out of essentially “nothing.” They acquired land, planted a garden, learned a craft, and had a life rich in social interactions with family and others.
But while reading the above definitions (as well as observing the modern-day practice of the “American Dream”), I’m convinced that the new “American Dream” is simply the opportunity for everyone to be prosperous. More specifically, materially prosperous. To buy the education, buy the house, buy the kids, buy the kids’ education, buy the vacations, buy the retirement.
Well, I don’t buy it. That dream may be for others, but it is not for me.
My American Dream is not to work a job 10 hours a day in a job that is so-so, because it helps me buy more “prosperity”. My American Dream is not to buy a house on credit, with the feigned assumption that it is “mine”. My American Dream is not to come home from work exhausted, fall in front of my big screen TV with a quick meal concocted of canned or frozen food, as I watch mindless programs that don’t expand my horizons. My American Dream is to not to exist for my 2 weeks of vacation each year, and if I’m lucky perhaps escape to a foreign locale, but to return home with reaffirmation that the US “is the best country in the world”, and I’m so glad I don’t have to live the way other countries do.
Nope. That’s not me.
But I am an American, and I do have a dream.
-I want the freedom to live anywhere in the world I want to
-I want freedom from societal pressures to decide what job I want to work
-I want the freedom to work as few hours as necessary to have a family and social life that is worth living for
-I want the freedom to choose a job that is enjoyable and stretches me
-I want the freedom to choose TIME over MONEY/STUFF
-I want the freedom to live as simply as I want, or maybe not simply-it’s my choice-and not about keeping up with the Joneses
-I want the freedom to experience other cultures and ways of life, and to appreciate them, and embrace them, and to acknowledge that there isn’t a better or worse way to live. There are simply different ways…and each way has its beauty
-I want the freedom for my family to put our nationality aside, and learn to be “global citizens”, to be bilingual, and to be productive contributors to communities
-I want the freedom to put fear aside, and step into the unknown so that I can grow as an individual
-I want the freedom to learn something new, keep my mind open, and be willing to change my opinions
Overall, my American Dream is to Live Life Outside of the (American) Box.
And thankfully, I’m living it!
To read other traveling blogger’s American Dream posts, visit some of these sites: