From the moment you were born, the surrounding people—parents, siblings, teachers, extended family—have been helping to mold you into a member of society. This is not a bad thing, for had our ancestors from the Stone Age not formed societies, our species would not have survived. These early efforts proved that the good of the whole was greater than the sum of the good of individual parts.
Today, our American Dream no longer seems to support the good of the many, it is more aligned with “what is in it for me”. From early on, our mentors have taught us to strive to meet standards that say we are adequate, we are successful. This starts with our parents, who gave us rules, i.e., how to be a good boy/girl, to clean our rooms and eat our vegetables. They corrected us when we failed to fulfill those expectations.
They sent us off to a school where teachers taught us many subjects, graded us and compared us to others to determine if we were superior or mediocre. We learned to make friends and joined a peer group of people who shared our interests. Adults celebrated our winning, but not our failing.
In high school we were told to a get and education that would get us a good job so we could buy a nice home and car. With these things in hand, they assured us, we could get married and raise a family.
It wasn’t until we reached middle age we saw the endgame for all of this effort; we were to put funds aside so that one day we could retire. Then, we would take time to discover the world, play and tick off the items on our bucket list. Everyone I know is following this American dream of grabbing the golden ring of retirement some day.
But no one ever told us this dream was a fantasy. The future is never that certain. It is possible you may never have enough funds available to quit working, but in the event that you do, you may not have the health to support the active lifestyle you worked so hard to attain.
However, the worse disappointment may come from accomplishing this dream as you had planned. As many discover, a life of “leisure” is boring, there are only so many rounds of golf or cruises one can take before they become redundant. This is when betrayal and frustration set in. It is then when the question that leaves you breathless and discouraged arises, “is that all there is”?
It’s time for a new American dream
As a sixty-seven-year-old man, I am not surprised to read that suicide rates among middle-age, middle-class men are at an all-time high. Also climbing are rates of depression among this sector of society.
Most of the unhappiest people I know are wealthy and appear to be winning this game. Something is missing.
It is time for something new. Amid my personal bout with depression, I found that connecting with others to provide a greater good was more fulfilling than all of my self-seeking efforts for money and status. This discovery provided a profound change in my life that is still present in me today.
There is nothing wrong with wanting time of leisure and enjoying the fruits of your labor, but they should be secondary benefits of a pursuit centered on creating a better world. This pursuit needs to be the foundation of a new American dream.
Creating love, harmony and peace is life’s driving force
Our souls are connected to each other because we are all part of a higher consciousness. Together we can grow, expand and create an existence that is good for all of us. When you are aligned with this higher purpose, you feel passion, joy and satisfaction with your life.
Regardless of your age, you can take part in this calling. You have something to contribute that will help create a better world until your dying breadth. This is how you want to live. It is a far better alternative than to live bored, bitter and disconnected from others while you slowly march towards your death surrounded by stuff you cannot take with you.
Going through a difficult life transition?
You might benefit reading my latest memoir, Catch and Release: One Man’s Improbable Search for True Love and the Meaning of Life. It is my story about starting life over. Download a PDF of the first 5 chapters of Catch and Release for free. To order your inscribed copy in either hardcover or paperback, click here (https://www.guillermovidal.me/shop/). Catch and Release is also available on Kindle here (https://www.amazon.com/Catch-Release-Improbable-Search-Meaning-ebook/dp/B07F26N1HS/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535494644&sr=1-2). You can also subscribe to my free weekly newsletter on my website and receive motivation and encouragement to help you on your way to recovery.