The “American Dream” as we have known it for decades is dead. The stable job, the house in the suburbs, the white picket fence, the two car garage with 2.5 kids – that dream is gone, maybe never to be seen again.
A combination of the recession, the housing bust, years of continued sprawl, high gas prices, an uncertain job market and the ever-changing demographics of the United States have changed our collective priorities. The “American Dream” of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even ‘90s has died, replaced with a “New American Dream.”
The New American Dream centers around ideals, not material possessions. Americans have realized that happiness and personal fulfillment come not from a house in the suburbs with a certain number of cars and a dollar amount in the bank account. Instead, happiness comes from the ability to chart one’s own course – to lead lives as we wish to lead them, to do the things we wish to do and to express ourselves and our personalities as we wish.
In a way, the New American Dream is a return to the original ideals of America. The New American Dream marks a return to the individualism which shaped this country in its early years. Yet it is firmly rooted in the 21st century with its emphasis on social networking and its epicenter in vibrant, urban communities.
The American dream is dead. Long live the American dream.