Part II – What about Our American Dream?

August 17th, 2011

In my last blog, I gave the classic definition of the American Dream and its side effect, the mid-life crisis. The essence of the dream is that it gives us HOPE, that we are in control of our lives by means of our choices.

At some times in our history, the choices have been more ample than at other times.

The European immigrants who came here in the 1920’s lived and worked all their lives in poverty for the benefit of their children’s American Dream.

In World War II, we fought our enemies for the American Dream—while the dream itself was temporarily put on the shelf.

The Golden Age of the American Dream, I would say, started with the GI Bill which gave a free college education to any veteran of World War II. The center of the Golden Age was in the 1950’s when everything was available and accessible: college, homes, career choices.

At present, because of the severe downturn in the American economy, the American Dream as we know it is in a holding pattern. It will be recalibrated, redesigned. We are no longer in the Golden Age of the American Dream. But we Americans adapt. We are a creative people.

The choices are different now, as they have been so many times in history, but, for many of us, we still have choices, and thereby we remain responsible if we mismanage our choices. The Mid-Life Crisis will still be with us. What form it will take is up to us. Nevertheless, it is worth the price we pay for HOPE.