I remember learning about the American Dream in Social Studies class back in 3rd grade. It was always something along the lines of: hard work, freedom, opportunity, and ultimate success. But no one ever got down to the specifics, probably because the details of the story are different for each person. What job, how much money, where to live – it’s not clear what each person’s path should be.
So then I read this statistic today: homeownership has fallen nationally more in the last decade than in all of American history (aside from the Great Depression). That’s a frightening thing. We all are meant to believe that part of achieving your dreams is owning your own home and having a little plot of land to call your very own.
So either the dream is dead or the dream has got to change.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to own your own home instead of renting (or crashing in your brother’s guest room). But with times as tough as they are it’s not fair to expect that from everyone. I don’t think we need to be afraid to let each person define the measure of his own success. Maybe achieving the American Dream for someone is to be more educated than his parents. Maybe it’s moving out west and getting into Hollywood. Maybe it’s making a fortune as a “political adviser.”
The important thing to keep in mind when making life choices and facing the “Great Recession” is to not look at your neighbor to see what his dream is. It’s to look inside yourself and make your own dreams happen.
If you’ve achieved your dreams, please leave a comment and share some inspiration. We’ll all get through the tough times together.