I went on a long run, had mimosas with some of my funnest friends, then spent a day in the park followed by an AMAZING yoga class taught by my friend Rachel Meyer.
But, none of this falls into the category of the ‘American Dream‘ –at least not how it’s been presented to us.
“The opportunity for one’s children to grow up and receive a good education and career without artificial barriers’ -this was one of the translations of the American Dream in the early 1700s. This makes sense for a burgeoning country filled with immigrants seeking a better life and the belief in achieving prosperity through hard work.
But, this pursuit of money and wealth doesn’t translate today as we have realized that hard work rarely equals prosperity.
Today, Obama now is calling income equality ‘A threat to the American Dream‘
We now have a wider wealth gap than the Roaring 20’s. Last year, the top 1% made almost 20% of ALL of the available income in America. And, this number is even worse based on race-of the Forbes 400 only .25% are African American.
But, we American’s are eternal optimists. Despite these grim numbers, 60% of Americans ALSO believe that you can get ahead ‘if you work hard enough’.
The American Dream makes us feel like we are potential lottery winners just as strongly as we believe we are the next ‘American Idol’.
But like any dream, you would have to be asleep to believe it!!
So, what do to??? If you weren’t born rich, the cards are stacked against you. And, if you believe in the American ideal about the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ you might get too lost in the endless chase for Fame and Fortune where it’s never enough!
I propose this- what is happiness wasn’t this generic, cookie-cutter thing? What if instead of spinning our wheels trying to achieve bliss through material things, what if our happiness wasn’t directly tied to the car we drove or the purse we carry or the McMansion we live in?
What if we instead focus on celebrating our liberty -the inherent freedom from control, from captivity or confinement?
What if we focused on ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ in that order-ensuring our internal freedom and independence before we try and pursue anything else.
What if we were in Hot Pursuit of our real happiness? And, what if we valued time spent with friends, connected relationships and spirituality as much as we value material things? What if we aren’t limited by the bullshit ideal of the ‘American Dream’ and focused on supporting each other to break down income inequality?
Now, that would be cause for a celebration!