There are days when i think that the "American Dream" is killing us.
I know the most iconic symbol of the American Dream is owning a house, which I think most people would say is a difficult prospect at the moment. However, even though owning a house is problematic at this point, I think the attitude behind it is alive and well. The pursuit of comfort, of things, of increasing wealth and prosperity is ingrained in the minds of a lot of americans. I know it is ingrained in my brain and my failure to attain those things the way I 'think' i was supposed to causes me a rather pathetic amount of angst.
I don't think it needs to be that way, for me or anyone else. Is it worth having both parents work and miss out on the lives of their children just so the family can have a few more bucks in the bank? Is it worth having a house if the payments on it trap you in it? Is it worth worrying yourself into a stupor over tragedies that might befall you and whether you have the monetary resources to weather them? Our media, our culture, everything around us says YES. But we chase those things and don't feel more fulfilled. We don't feel safer.
Because we are putting our trust in the wrong things. Money is only as good as the government that backs it, and I think most of us agree that our government is having serious issues. Security is only as good as the people who protect you, and everyday we hear stories of injustices perpetrated by the very organizations that are supposed to see to our well-being. Saving is only as good as the institutions into which you put your money for safe-keeping, and none of our investment opportunities have proven to be even mildly trustworthy.
So I say we stop chasing the American Dream. Start being honest with ourselves. I will probably never be able to retire, but really there is no reason to if I am doing a worthwhile work. I may not have every possession that my heart fancies, but less things that I own mean more of my affections are free to be used on better things. I can spend those affections on my friends, my family, my God.