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The American Dream

By on April 23, 2007

A few years ago, my mother came to visit. Our relationship is complicated, so needless to say, the tension was running high. My husband and I were bickering (about who knows what) and later in the evening, my mother commented on how she couldn’t understand why we were fighting. She mentioned that in her opinion, we lived “The American Dream.” Prior to her saying this, I’d never really viewed my life in that way. In fact, when she said it, I rolled my eyes.

What is The American Dream to you?

I suppose I had always viewed it as cliche or upon deeper thought perhaps about freedom and opportunity, but to my mother who immigrated here, it’s more about living a life better than she did. She views our home, our “success”, our family, and the capacity to achieve our hopes and dreams as a gift.

At any rate, what she said stuck with me. Most especially in the past few weeks, as I truly have come to realize how fortunate I am to experience many of my dreams coming true. It has shaken me up and humbled me.

Complete with the white picket fence and against all odds…I’m happy beyond words.

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly. ~Langston Hughes


  1. Bullethead

    4/23/2007 at 10:01 pm

    Great entry!

    Yes in fact most people are blessed and doing well. The amount of marketing we bombarded with everyday on TV, radio, magazines, leads us to believe otherwise. The marketing people want us to buy MORE, i.e SUVs, bigger houses, IPODS, granite coutertops etc.

    Those things are nice but they are wants, not needs.

    The marketing machine wants us to think buying all this stuff is is not.

    To me the American Dream is having people to love, a place to live and food on the table. The Freedom to think and do what we feel is the best for us, our friends and our families.

  2. AheeK

    4/23/2007 at 11:31 pm

    Well, since I’m from Canada, I’ll expand this idea to become the “North American Dream.” To me, it’s having the knowledge to live simply and well, instead of having this terrible need to acquire as much as possible as soon as possible. I think the ‘gimme, gimme’ culture we live in is very dangerous for the coming generations, who are being taught that possessions equal happiness and that your parents only love you if they buy you whatever you want whenever you want it. Think about what you would call a “perfect day.” Does it involve a trip to Wal-Mart to buy loads of stuff that you don’t really need? More likely, it consists of time spent with the people you love…no money required. That’s the dream.

  3. Tracey

    4/24/2007 at 7:26 am

    Often we just need an external point of view to make us realise how lucky we are and how much we really have.

  4. Gail

    4/24/2007 at 10:40 am

    As a Brit, I tend to think of the American Dream as meaning yes, white picket fences, apple pie, Martha Stewart and home-made quilts: creating comfortable homes and having immacuately dressed children.

  5. Amy

    4/24/2007 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Sara!
    I’m tagging you with a Thinking Blogger Award!
    Check out today’s post on my blog for more details and to see my list. 🙂

    AWARD DETAILS: Congratulations, you won a Thinking Blogger award!
    Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.
    The participation rules are simple:
    1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
    2. Link to this post ( so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
    3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote. That was that! Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all – blogs that really get you thinking!

    Amy, aka: AmyMCGS 🙂
    Tiny Blessings

  6. Mel Rimmer

    4/26/2007 at 7:07 am

    I’m not an American but I always understood the American Dream to mean that consistent hard work and independence will pay off. A person who builds their own house, digs their own yard, grows their own food and manages to feed their family with no outside assistance is living the American Dream. Or a person who starts their own business and builds it up from nothing until it is floated on the stock exchange is another example. It is the idea that an immigrant or a person from a poor background can succeed just as much as a privileged person as long as they work hard and don’t rely on anyone else to help them up.

  7. emily_hope

    4/26/2007 at 9:58 pm

    Today it would seem that the American Dream is material success. It seems that people work, work, work so that they can own a fancy car, a big house, and lots of other material possessions only to find that they work so much they don’t have the time to really enjoy any of it.

    My American Dream is to own a home and have no debt.

  8. Arnie McKinnis

    4/26/2007 at 11:32 pm

    Parents & Children – truly a complicated relationship!! My Mom and I chatted the other day about success – and I said I didn’t feel successful – it’s a tough question that requires some serious introspection. Oh well, maybe I’ll think about it later 😉

    Great blog – enjoying it.

  9. Lisa

    4/29/2007 at 1:49 am

    I truly believe if you have your children’s love and your health, you’re blessed.

  10. randomguru

    6/26/2007 at 5:18 pm

    that’s a nice poem/quote by Langston Hughes. i remember reading a book of his poetry when i was young and spent my saturdays at the library. thanks, you’ve somehow rekindled in my a spark to get back into reading his poetry.

    anyway, i think many who commented already have touched well on the concept of the american dream and also living a frugal life and not be pushed into the whole consumerism thing.

    too many people work too hard trying to achieve the american dream when it just might be that they already have it.

  11. Donna

    4/17/2010 at 10:52 am

    need to add to my last comment,, about being frugal… you mentioned that some people use hankerchiefs, I am one of those, My husband is a rancher, and when outside in the cold nice flannel kechiefs are much kinder to the nose then paper materials made from wood fiber. I can not use tissues, they make my nose sore, and raw, so I always use cloth kerchiefs, and to even save more, I use nice pieces of flannel from my used pillow cases or flannel sheets,or even an old flannel shirt, cut them to size and hem them, and the rest gets used as rags to clean and polish . so whats not to like about this idea…and so what if they are not hemmed, who see it anyway..

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