American Dream

Defining the American dream sounds like a basic thing, but dreams and the pursuit of them has changed over the course of this country’s history. Today the American dream would most often defined as being rich and powerful, some would go as far as to say being a celebrity. When this country laid out its foundation in the Declaration of Independence the basic concept of the American dream was written simply as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In the movie A Lot Like Love Ashton Kutcher’s character equated it to getting all your “ducks in a line;” job, career, house, future. It was a more modern version of what the founding fathers were saying.

Personally, my American dream was closer related to these basic successes.  I always had great expectations for my career and that is why everything else came after. Life could wait till I was done moving around, trying out different jobs, finding a career path, and even had saved up for the house and family yet to come.

Sometimes, though, what we expect from life and the actuality of life is tremendously different. Sometimes life robs of your expectations, your American dream without any explanation and for some people that’s fine. Some people believe that expectations need to constantly change because life changes, and that is a good thing. I commend a person that is that flexible.

On the other hand for me changing my American dream isn’t that simple. Every expectation I have is tied in with this overall vision of my life. From high school till the end of college every detail was planned and while the details blurred after college, the planning they never ceased; I never ceased until now.

Now I am mourning the loss of my expectations. I say that they aren’t important but inside I’m still mourning them. For so many years it was these expectations that allowed me to be steady and focused, so I mourn that they provided a vision of independence, freedom and self-sufficiency

At the same time I’m trying to welcome the unexpected, a redefined American dream. Because in so many ways I was selling myself short with my expectations. My need  to get all my ducks in a line doesn’t mean that work is all I’m good for. It is possible that I am worth something or someone unexpected coming along and changing  my life. I just have to accept the unexpected.


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