I write many posts about personal style – how to dress, style trends, – you know – “Outside” style. However, today I’m focusing on style on the “Inside”, what makes you feel good. The Inside style is just as important as the Outside style. I would say it’s even more important.
Today’s post is about the American Dream.
Our Parents’ Dream
My husband and I grew up in the 50s and 60s and married in the early 70s. Our mothers both worked outside the home. My mother was the main breadwinner of our family. Since our parents had grown up during the Great Depression, their wish was to give us a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothing to keep us warm and dry. The basics. This was their American Dream.
As I always did well in school, I was told early on that I was to go to college. Not many girls went to a 4 yr college in the 70s. Most of my friends were married at 18-20, buying houses and having kids. This was the American Dream for our generation.
I went off to college. I didn’t decide on a school based on whether I “liked” it or not. I went to the school where I got the most help – a scholarship, work-study program, and a loan. I worked 30 hrs a week while I was in school and during the summers I worked in a factory. My husband went to school on the GI Bill as he was a Vietnam veteran.
Our American Dream
We got married, had two children and put ourselves through graduate school. For the first 10 years of our marriage, we lived in an apartment while most of our fiends had a home. We saved and saved for a home and finally purchased a modest home in Kalamazoo Michigan. We had achieved our American Dream finally!
But to achieve this dream we did sacrifice some things. This is what people from around the world have to do in order to even have a chance of this, so it shouldn’t be disregarded. Those that do come should learn the language in order to flourish and realize their potential. You can read more online to find out how to to do this. It is one of the steps on the road to finding your own American Dream.
We didn’t live near either of our families, we had to live where the jobs were. Thus, our children never grew close to their grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. We always visited family but they were not a constant in their lives.
Both my husband and I worked while our children were in school. We juggled work and family. Our children were left with others at a very young age. They went to daycare as young toddlers and as soon as they went to grade school they were “latchkey” kids. They had a key and let themselves in the house and stayed there for 30 minutes until I came home from work. I remember being so stressed out at work as I had to leave right at 3:30 pm so I could get home to the girls. My boss, a male, didn’t understand. His wife didn’t work. I just cringe when I think back at my girls coming home to an empty house.
Our American Dream consisted of having a good education, a good paying steady job, marriage, raising children, going 1 week in the summer to Mackinac Island and on and on. We dreamed of raising our family in steady comfort but showing them that with love and hard work you can attain your dream. It’s hard to standardize what the American Dream means because it’s so individualistic. Understanding this can make it easier to realize without the sacrifice, the Dream cannot be realized. There is a reason people from every corner of the globe come to these shores in pursuit of what seemed unachievable in their Homeland. Irrespective of in what form you arrive, be it a Cultural Care Au Pair, student or even asylum seeker, there is an attainable dream awaiting those who are willing to sacrifice.
Our Children’s Dream
Now, my husband and I are finding ourselves thinking more about what we want for this new phase in our life. We listen to our children and how they are defining their dreams. They don’t necessarily talk so much about having a home or having more material items. They talk more about loving what they do, learning from their job, living where they want, having time to be creative, being with a community of friends, spending time raising their child.
Maybe a New Dream for Us?
My husband and I are now in a new phase of our life. We may be blowing up what we thought was our dream and going in a different direction. We have long talks about what is most important to us – what is our new American Dream.
I am writing this post because I was inspired by a TED talk that I listened to while walking this morning. It’s about the “New American Dream”. I’ve included it at the end of this post as it’s very good and I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch it.
Have you given thought lately about your dream for your life – your American Dream?