Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The New American Dream


What is the biggest trend in the country? Talk to anyone in America and they are talking about reducing  the size of their house and it just doesn’t stop there. Americans want to reduce the size of everything. They want less debt. Less belongings. They want  no car payments. They want less taxes. Less house. Smaller yard.  Why is this, when our entire  history has been based on moving forward, getting morewhy should we want to go  backward?  Because of this one simple fact: The American Dream as it has come to be defined is flat out impossible. The numbers simply don’t work.  It is really simple math.
I looked around in the neighborhood I was living in and saw people just  barely hanging on and then I watched as they slipped into foreclosure. These are not  people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. These are people with good jobs who came from great universities and  had all the breaks and yet, they were failing! Worse, they were barely hanging on, never seeing their kids, never able to enjoy the spoils of their work.  In short they were not working to live, they were  living to work.”

 If you factor in the cost of a modern home, taxes, utilities, health care, insurance, cars, maintenance, groceries, gas, incidentals…the numbers are staggering. Couples making over  150k  struggle to get buy and worse, they are one step away from disaster. And again, worse than all this,  there is no quality of life. No American Dream. Just an American Nightmare.
The great debate in our politics is fueled by the fact people are so mad they cannot have this perceived nirvana.  Where The Great Gatsby was about a man reaching for the stars, I put forth the idea our greatest happiness is  not found in something in the future but something behind us.  Because we have lost something we had. We are now trying to go back to a happiness not founded on consumption but on community, on belonging. We are searching for an American Dream without the consumption.

Americans aren’t really enjoying the dream, because the American Dream was never based  on economic wealth. It was based on lifestyle. This is what people forget. The ability to have a life that makes sense with friends and neighbors and children who are happy was never predicated on a Super Life.  The American Dream was built on a middle class life that never included  expensive cars and Mansions. Yet this is what Americans were sold going up to the crash. Rocket Men is  for anyone  who tired to find the American Dream and found it empty. But failing in this case is winning! Going back to a simpler life behind us.

 This is the new American Dream.  
The American Dream of Starting Over.

www.billhazelgrove.com

Rocket Man...the novel of the upside down American Dream


Books by William Hazelgrove