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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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Yes, I'm A Babysitter And Yes, It Is The Best Job In The Whole Wide World

It's hard. It's exhausting. But in the end, its so, so, so worth it.

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When I turned 16 years old, I started babysitting during the summer to make some extra money and get myself out of the house and off the couch. Now, I'm 19 years old and I still babysit during the summer, but this school year I've had the opportunity to babysit on the days that I don't have classes. When people ask me where I work or what my job is, I'll sometimes get strange looks and questions like, "Is that your real job?" when I tell them that I babysit. Sure, I don't have a typical job and I often wonder how different my life would be if I had a 'normal' college job, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Babysitting, to me, is more than a job. It's giving hugs, wiping tears, and kissing boo-boos. It's listening to "Let It Go" and playing "Ring Around The Rosie," even though you feel sick from spinning in circles for the last hour, just because it makes the kids happy. It's watching "Blippi," "Barney," and "A Bug's Life" for hours on end, thinking you might pull your hair out if you hear the 'Excavator' song one more time.

It's so much more than what meets the eye. It's hard. It's exhausting. But in the end, its so, so, so worth it. I wouldn't trade the hugs, kisses, or giggles for anything in the world. So next time you ask me where I work, I'll proudly respond that I'm a babysitter. I'm proud to be a babysitter, I'm proud to be "Lowey" and I love being a babysitter. I truly have the best job in the world.

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