“So live that your memories will be part of your happiness” – Anonymous
This American Dream? Please spare me.
I was going to write about something else today, but after having a rather-frustrating conversation with a colleague, I couldn’t help myself but yell within, repeatedly: “The American Dream is such CRAP nowadays!! It’s a TRAP!!” In my eyes, it is such a dangerous disease, even a mind-game trapping so many talented, ambitious, dream-filled young people that it seriously makes me want to cry. And before you yell at me how many opportunities and blah blah blah are found in the USA, please hear me out.
I was telling “him” (that’s how I’ll nickname my colleague) about my travel sites and how much I miss traveling. He complained how he wishes to travel so much, but that he doesn’t have the money to do so.
I then went on my passionate speech about how we can travel extensively with little money.
I even took the liberty to quantify, dividing costs of traveling for a year vs cost of living in the U.S. for a year and how the former can be much more economical. “He,” however, kept interrupting me, repeatedly, with the same old “but you really need money, which I don’t have” complaint over, and over, and over again…to the point that, after I quantified how travel can be so affordable (Couchsurfing, $5 hostels, 50-cent meals, working online or even abroad, etc.), he even got a little defensive about it! And of course, he repeated the little complaint one more time…
I’ve had it. I went on a quasi-ranty harangue myself, expressing how sad it is that America has jaded young people like him. It’s like the old “everything is possible” American Dream mantra has been substituted by an “everything is possible, but with money” motto. It seems like the only “lesson” the American Dream is currently teaching the youth (or everyone else for that matter) is that you simply must get, you must have. That it is all about making the money, the “stability” in order to turn your dreams into reality. That a stable job is the only way to go about it, and if you complain and try to fight the system or simply have a different way to go about things, well,
You have failed.
I know, you might argue that’s not everyone and/or even America’s fault. I must also note that I do understand that the “stable life,” the cubicle, the little picket fence and house are the actual dreams of many and they are happy going about it the “standard” way. But what I wish to point out is how some of those people, how America nowadays, is pointing fingers and calling losers/failures those who do not want it that way.
I came to this land for “the American Dream” and all it is doing now is telling me that I’m doing it wrong, that I can’t do this or that because of this thing or the other. That because I don’t have this amount of money, because I don’t own this other thing, I am wrong. Sadly, this is an epidemic that has spread so wildly throughout generations. And you know what?
I’m freakin’ tired of it.
I’m tired of people telling me (us!) I can’t be a digital nomad, that I’ll be a living a “sub-par life” because I’m not “stable” enough (or at all). Well guess what? I look around me here in America and I see thousands of professionals with 20+ years of solid, “stable” experience recently laid off without notice, without a reason. I see families that earned six figures last year, making less than half of that this year. I see their “stability” imploding without a timer, without a warning, in front of them. Is this the American Dream?!
What am I trying to say with this? Nothing is “stable” in this life! It is all about choices, chances we take and those taken away from us. It is all about risks. Mostly, though, it is what we make of it. And by that I mean it is what you do outside your comfort zone. It is what you try despite what “the system” told you, what would make you “look like a loser” or “a failure.”
And so I told my colleague: “You know what? It is sad that corporate America has trapped you and make you think that way. As for me? I’m grabbing the world, and life, by the cojones. And I’ll be winning”
“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine” ~Caskie Stinnet