Here’s an interesting article I came across, based on a NY Times poll, while browsing LinkedIn (Dream). Although the economy seems to be improving (at least that’s what we’re told) and last month we created a boat load of new jobs, many believe their realization of the American Dream is slipping away. For many, that includes the hope of owning a home, buying a bigger one, or the hope for a better life. Why is the gap between the have and have not’s widening? Why does it seem that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer? Is it all just perception and what they want us to believe?
When I was a child, we lived in a row home in West Philadelphia. My father was a self-employed paperhanger and my mom took care of us and the house. “Us” consisted of six kids; 4 boys and 2 girls. Frankly, back then I didn’t know whether we were rich or poor; lower class, middle class or upper class; I had no idea (maybe a little idea).
What I know is that we went to school every day in clean clothes, had food on the table, played some ball, did our homework, went to church on Sunday and occasionally took a trip to the Jersey shore (maybe not all that occasionally).
Most of the families lived the same life. Dad worked, while mom took care of the house. Somehow, we survived and realized what we understood to be, the “American Dream”. We had a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes on our back and a family on which we could depend. It was a simple life. We were a true American family and no one told us we had it bad or good, or that because someone else had a little more (or a lot more) they were bad people. They worked hard, they earned it and they were proud of it. By the way, if they were a member of the family, we were all proud of it, too.
Funny thing is, people start believing what they heard. If you consistently tell someone they can’t make it and that there is no sense in trying, then guess what? They’ll fail. Failing is easy. It’s a pretty short trip. There are plenty of available excuses for doing so. After all, the polls and articles say so.
The reality is that success is tough; it’s a long, hard journey. It is something that very rarely happens overnight, and has many obstacles in its path. But if we keep at it, with a focus on what is important, we can reach our goals, and realize our level of the American Dream; wherever that may be.
Don’t give up the good fight, keep striving for what you believe and what you want. Our parents, and their parents before them, didn’t give up, and I’m sure glad for that. They took their shot at the American Dream, sacrificed and worked hard for everything they got. They, and we, are much better off because of it. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t get there or you can’t do it. That’s their perception.
No, it’s not easy, it’s damn hard, but well worth it. Pick yourself up and get back in the race. You may not win but you will finish, and that’s still success and something for which you can be very proud.
Keep pushing for that American Dream. Don’t give up so easy. You deserve it, but no one is going to hand it to you, unless maybe you get lucky and hit the lottery. I’m still playing…
Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year,