What does the American dream look like and would I recognize it?
Perhaps you may have been asked this already, but I struggle with this Monday thru Friday. For those of you who are walking in your life with inspiration, then I want to apologize in advance because this isn’t for you. While reading this you may have thoughts like
“Oh, poor you (dripping with contempt and sarcasm)”
“Where are you going with this?”
In my previous post, I discussed how “good” I was at listening to my parents. You know, the education thing, a “good” job, home ownership, dollar cost averaging investments (wealth)… all the things that would signify success. All the things I thought I wanted…
… and I do want those things. Yet these very things are losing intrinsic value…except any accumulated wealth which I will share in a bit…
As I enter middle age (yes, I turn 40 in the near future), I recognize how much less value I place on so many things. For example, let’s reflect on that expensive education for which I no longer desire to do much of anything remotely related to my field of study.
Part of me openly acknowledging my change in value for education stem (haha, like how I threw that in there) from not being able to be creative. My engineering career is stifling; the older engineers are boxing me in and freaking won’t retire. My free time is spent studying for a professional certification that won’t mean anything in 5 years. The great positions are being phased out and coveted by a select few. Ughhhh!
Generation X is so mired down in responsibility and being the “manager” for their kids social life and sports activities, that now we just dream of retirement, the day when we can rest. Between work and kids and running around and chores and…. Well basically everything, there is no time.
There, I said it. Time. Hold that thought for a moment…
Looking forward, it is increasingly more attractive to stretch/challenge my mind in ways that allow more creativity.
This blog is one of them.
Oddly enough, I have not become so jaded with my “education” and overall cynicism that I have turned away from God. Many of my generation (born 1961-1981 depending on who you reference) have turned to New Age religion.
I remain steadfast in my over all belief system separating science from religious dogma.
Nevertheless, I’m thinking about everything differently. Think about this for a moment. Wouldn’t it be nice to explore areas of interest where you may be completely untrained, marinating in the opportunity to essentially start over? To do what you desire? To challenge unused talents you didn’t know you had? Mentally expose you to life outside of your career? Surely if you haven’t shared these thoughts, I’ve given you new reason to pause.
So does my education maintain its value if I no longer desire to use it?
… and on to my “good” job. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have the mentality of entrepreneurship? This day and age, it appears to be even more important to work for yourself. The constant fluctuation in job availability, reduced wages, reduced 401k matching, non-existent pensions, and baby boomers who refuse to retire make it challenging to plan for future security. Of course I’ve dabbled here and there with working for myself, but I’ve navigated myself thru my career like everyone else… with a “good” job. My title has changed too, changed to match my level of experience.
Well I’ve come to discover I no longer care about titles. In fact, working with purpose and enthusiasm in a new career seems incredibly sexy. Working for myself seems even sexier. Of course it comes with its own stressors but what do I have to lose?
Let’s not forget my home. I’m not rushing my kids out of our family home, but the day when my husband and I can down size looks like water to a thirsty desert man. The American way almost requires us to seek bigger…to be the best…to be number one.
I’m grateful to house my large family of six (four kiddos), but we must maintain the mortgage and costly upkeep. The struggle between being ungrateful vs thankful is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.
This isn’t my home but it’s just so darn cute. Now all I need is a cute mailbox… I could have chosen a better picture with a white picket fence but this appears to be more like middle America in my opinion.
The one thing that hasn’t lost value to me is wealth. Let me make it clear, we are nowhere near wealthy and I don’t love money. I’m constantly rubbing together nickels all the time in an attempt to secure my family’s future. However I do recognize what wealth provides which is access to freedom, opportunity, and dare I say it… time.
Time. The one thing I have very little. It is the very “time” I don’t have to enjoy what I was originally told was the American dream.
My new American dream is more time.
Originally posted 2016-08-15 14:29:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter