The New American Dream
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The New American Dream

I don't think I'm the only one who thinks the old one is outdated.

192
The New American Dream
The Minimalist Vegan
It's all part of the plan and you know it
Do the work for a rich man to turn in
You get what you deserve
And you deserve what you're born in
So quit complaining

You can be anything you want
But you're nothing at all, nothing at all
The American Dream is falling
Into nothing at all, nothing at all
~“American Dream” by Cereus Bright

The American Dream has always been a bit troublesome to me, and maybe these lyrics touch on why.

It’s inspiring that the American Dream says you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps, rise above your station and all that jazz. Theoretically, you’re never trapped in a low socioeconomic class. You can make your business, earn your way, follow your dream.

However, that same American Dream says a few less desirable things along the way. It says that if you haven’t reached a certain level of success, you haven’t worked hard enough for it. And since you haven’t worked hard, you don’t deserve success anyway. The American Dream says you’re not American enough if you don’t have a certain life outcome – you have less worth if your hard work doesn't pay off.

My third Living Room Conversation concerned this topic. And thank goodness for diversity of perspectives because I had a pretty cynical outlook on this one.

The participants of our conversation made a sort of proposal: What if our generation has a New American Dream?

What if we stop pressing upward financially, with pressures of success and a predetermined way to achieve it all? What if we expand the American ideal beyond starting a career, getting married, buying a house and settling down? What if the Dream leaves a bit more elbow room than that? What if one person’s winning their dream doesn’t mean a lifelong loss for another person?

What if the millennial American Dream is less about selfishness, extremity and achievement and more about moderation, fulfillment and fairness?

Maybe the New American Dream is about travelling to learn about the world. Maybe it’s about education – to learn about the things you don’t know and didn’t know you don’t know. It’s likely about pursuing what will bring you joy and meet the world’s needs, rather than stomping your way to "the top" no matter the costs.

I think the American Dream is getting a new face, and that makes it harder for me to hate.

One of the questions we talked about in our conversation was, “How are you inspired by your personal American Dream?” Our answers showed that the American Dream is alive and well, and it doesn’t fit into the same box it used to.

We were all women, all pursuing different career paths through various courses of study; and as one person in the group noted, ”This wouldn't have even been possible one hundred years ago. It’s only possible because of other people’s American Dreams.”

I can attend a good college although I can’t really afford it. Scholarships and financial aid and support and the draw of education and the grace of God have put me here just as much as (likely much, much more than) my own hard work and the passion of a "dream."

The American Dream can’t be as individualistic and unfulfilling as climbing a ladder to the top. It’s got to be more about provision of resources for yourself and others to help reach a goal that meets a personal and communal need.

Let's dream something that makes the world better.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

90131
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

62228
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments