Does the American Dream need to be redefined?

Does the American Dream need to be redefined?

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The concept of the American Dream has powered the aspirations of Americans for generations. People are forever redefining and analyzing the concept, yet with each attempt to clarify the American Dream it becomes more incoherent. As time proceeds, it is safe to say that everyone has a different dream; thus, making the American Dream concept indefinable. Every generation believes that their children would have more access to more than they had. Many people are raised with the expectations that the material part of the dream will be achievable. Americans are redefining what it means to be better off. The American Dream is adapting to the mindsets of new generations, adjusting to societal and economical changes and departing from the historical definition it once was.

The concept of the American Dream, once based upon homeownership, is now based on becoming debt-free. During the Great Recession, five million people lost their homes. The value of residential real estate fell by trillions of dollars. The American Dream of homeownership faded. In his article “The New American Dream: It’s Not What You Think,” Adam Levin, Co-founder of Credit.com, highlights how “...the failure to own a home is generally not a source of stress in the same way that drowning in debt and the inability to retire are.” Levin’s assertion emphasizes the importance of debt to consumers and the role it plays in shaping the ideology of the American Dream of the white picket fence. The American Dream acclimates to new generations by reflecting how their outlook on what it means to be better off.

As a result of lowered standards of living expectations, the American Dream shifted from opportunity-based to security-based. How people interpret their American Dream depends on what they believe is more important. In the Atlantic’s “The American Dream: Personal Optimists, National Pessimists,” Don Baer and Mark Penn accentuate how Americans prioritize flexibility and economic security more than marriage and having children. Clearly, Americans favor the idea of living comfortably over being affluent

As economic hardships and societal changes occurred, the definition adjusted once again. The notion of the American Dream, which can be traced back to our Founding Fathers, at first stressed the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The historical context of the American Dream transformed the simple concept into a complex ideology. After the Great Depression, homeownership became Americans’ life goal. In his article “The New American Dream: It’s Not What You Think,” Adam Levin details how his survey depicts the change in what the American Dream is. He states, “...in the past, the hallmarks of the Dream were a white picket fence and a couple of children, now just over one in four respondents names ‘owning a nice home’ as the most important ingredient of the American Dream.” The American Dream, which was once collectively defined as one thing, is now ambiguous.

The American Dream has not withered, it only changed. America once shared a similar concept on what exactly the American Dream is. As time went on, we became a country of individuals, redefining and personalizing the American Dream. The American Dream correlates with the notion of individualism. This concept encourages people to achieve their dream whether it be to own a house with a white picket fence, retire by the age of 65 or become financial stable. The American Dream should not be redefined because of the fact that it cannot be defined.

Cover Image Credit: Blessed Are the Weird

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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