Ah, the American dream… what does that even mean anyway? Is the American dream even still alive in America? To be honest, I think it’s dead in the water… or at least it is for millennials and generations to comes. Why do I think that? Well, I guess it depends on how I define the American dream.
For me when I think about the concept of The Dream Americana, I think about the nuclear family. I think of a nice house with a white picket fence and an impossibly happy family complete with a golden retriever. The American dream is never worrying about money and living in an idyllic neighborhood with business casual khaki-clad neighbors and one of those cars with the wood paneling on the side.
This dream is dead for a lot of us kids mostly because we’ll never be able to afford the 2019 version of whatever this dream is. We’re in debt, we can’t get jobs, and we hardly speak to one another without the aid of phones… so obviously a nice house, with a nice job, and a nice spouse seems all but attainable…
The disappointed generation
I don’t think that the millennials are necessarily the disappointing generation that the media makes us out to be. Sure, we are socially stunted, and most of us are unemployed post-grad and having to move back into our childhood homes with our parents… but it’s actually not our fault.
We were promised that we could do anything. We were promised that if we went to college and got half decent grades that we’d be able to get a job and do anything! But because the cost of college has gone up exponentially over the years and job requirements are becoming more prestigious.
The debt that we’ve surmounted trying to get the degree we need to get a job is almost impossible to get out from under in our lifetimes. Seriously, there are game shows and web series all about people trying to pay off their student debt.
It’s not that we’re lazy, it was just impossible for us to work our way through college and get a job now. We’re dissapointed and broke.
Why we are killing industries:
A lot of news articles are coming out with pieces about how the millennials are “killing” the diamond industry; we’re hurting real estate by not buying houses, and were apparently responsible for the death of Applebee’s.
One of the major reasons we’re “killing” all of these industries is because we’re not making enough money. Between insane rent prices, student loan payments, and getting underpaid for work because of our age or experience we have trouble making ends meet as it is.
We don’t have the extra money to spend on things like this; we hardly have enough money to save.
This has forced us to change what we value. We’ve started to value experiences over possessions, which is why you see a lot of youths going to huge trips instead of making a downpayment on a car or a house.
When one dream dies…
I think that the American dream as we thought of it is dead. However, a new dream is being born. A scrappier, hustlier, younger version of the American Dream.