Don’t follow the American Dream, it’s a myth

The American Dream

What a journey!
in 2007 we arrived in the United States for what we thought was a 3 month family vacation.
Now, more than 5 years later, we have build a living for ourselves.
Rutger (my husbands) web hosting company celebrates 10 years. Run from 3 different continents.
Branding Personality celebrated 5 years in the US this Summer. 5 years of helping companies generate more sales by improving their brand presence online.
And 4 years of Coworking Fullerton in downtown Fullerton, where the self-employed can work in a collaborative atmosphere. Where startups has sprouted and business leads have been shared among the members.
It is also the place where many Meetup groups have joined together, like the weekly Mondaynight Boardgamenight, monthly OC-PHP programmers group, Social Media Club events and later on Social Media Campfires and many others.
And now we have added a new venture: Cowork+Play at our Coworking Fullerton site. On-site daycare for our coworkers, homeschool classes and after school enrichment in tech & business for kids 2-14 years old. I am done painting, etc, and am now inviting people to come in and show the space. And I am also working on the website to create the right impression of what Cowork+Play is all about.
The American Dream
The American Dream is about working hard to reach prosperity and success, regardless of background or social class. When we arrived here 5 years ago, we were not looking to achieve the American dream, but were looking for a way in which we could integrate work and life in a way that made sense to us. However, life is different in the US and we are always learning about ourselves. How much do we want to adapt to this new culture of working hard, not much time to play, and how much do we want to live life like we have lived it in The Netherlands and enjoy it. At the same time, we arrived in a country where we didn’t have any assets, no job, and no money. We have worked a lot, but also enjoyed time as a family a lot.
Why the American Dream fails
The idea of the American Dream sets people up for failure. The reward of working hard is not in the results it generates. The reward is in enjoying the journey. I have lost my mother and sister way too young in life, and know that not everybody gets to be 90 years of age. But we can enjoy life working hard. We can even enjoy working hard. As long as you know why you are working hard, and that doesn’t have to do much with the end result. At the same time, if you have a family, a body, friends, etc. those are things to care for, to appreciate and to take time for. We shouldn’t wait to enjoy and spend time with them until we have accomplished the American Dream.

Success is all about right now, its about interacting with the people you care about. It’s about the journey. And I am glad to say it has been fun. It hasn’t always been easy, but I am very happy with what we have been through, and I am looking forward to continuing the journey, together as a family. With friends and with all the people that I interact with everyday. It’s fun!

  • The American Dream was not a myth. I am a product of that dream, just two generations removed from dirt poor serfs who labored without a dream or hope in the Carpathian Mountains of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By virtue of their mother’s heritage, my children are just two generations removed from the pogroms of Russia that murdered their cousins, aunts, and uncles. However, the American Dream is disappearing. It is being buried beneath a mountain of government regulations and debt. European despotism has crossed the Atlantic in search of its children who escaped to search for the American Dream. Sad.

  • Poignant comment Jack. I hope and pray things will turn around. Maybe it has to get worse before it can better, but we have rallied as a people time and time again. Hope springs eternal!

  • I have always lived in America, so I have never truly known the joy of relaxing, which is unfortunate. Working hard has its merits, but oftentimes the cost is to our soul, as well as our bodies. And I agree with Jack. Government regulations and debt are choking us. I wish I knew the answer.

    Thank you for an insightful post.

  • I to agree with Jack, it’s only a matter of time. Success in my industry is not measured in profits but just being able to pay bills is now the new success. As for the journey used to be good now it’s a rat race and Everyman for himself. Sorry but the 4 years will surely be a journey and successful if you have food on your table and your still in business.

  • Robinanna neibauer

    It’s mostly a myth, but it’s because of too little regulation, not too much. Look at Finland and the other Scandinavian nations. Their people are doing well.