As I ride my daily commute, I find myself thinking, err meditating on many thoughts. I find it a kind of therapy to help me get through the next few hours of stress and monotony. As of late I have found that I am thinking more about the unexplainable injustices in our society. I thrill at the idea of freedom, but the reality is that true freedom is a myth. We are bound by laws of the land and rules of morality. We are bound by societal ideas of who and what we should be.
I loathe the fact that people have to pretend to be something they are not due to societies rules and our own fears. I lived the life of June Cleaver for 10 years. I am not a happy housewife and mother. I am a complicated woman with feelings and ideas. I never questioned my life, until my husband decided to move out. At that point I was devastated. I felt helpless and alone. I realized I had been unhappy in my marriage and my life.
Growing up I always wanted to make a difference and to travel the World. Those were my two biggest goals. My husband always talked a big talk, but the idea that we had to have everything now, destroyed our now and our future. It was more like building up our past so that we could say we had things. We were trying to live the American Dream. I have long since given that up. The dream turned out to be my nightmare. Last week, Time Magazine ran an article and really shows the basic folly of the premise of the dream. (Link at the beginning.)
I do not think the article covered the true problems. Over the decades, since the 1950’s our society has degraded. We now have less neighborly conversations, we suffer from isolation and we accept intolerance as a fact of life. The root cause is so simple. GREED, we are all working to gain monetary value, putting less value on things like humanity, environment and community. The harder we work, the less social we become. I feel that the internet has made our socialization less personal and therefore, we find live interactions awkward.
The dream of doing better than our parents, of providing our children with a better life than we had, has driven us to nearly anti-social behavior. I can attest to this personally. I wanted to give my children everything they ever wanted. The one thing I have always told them, however is they must pay for their own college. This is a whole different mirror into my life. I will share that later.
The sticking point here, is that before my divorce, we were so indent, I had to beg to go grocery shopping. Strange how the simplest thing can cause such great friction. One would think a budget would include the basics, like food, shelter, clothing and transportation. My married life was based on always being better than anyone else. The facade was slowly deteriorating our relationship. At some point, I took over the household budget and determined that he had to stop buying. We had to get rid of credit, which he balked over. Once the marriage ended, unfortunately I kept trying to achieve that American Dream, which ultimately became my personal nightmare.
It took me years to figured out why my life was in shambles. My children watched both myself and my ex battle our financial demons. I finally moved to a City, which helped me adjust my moral code to my life. I gave up my car within the first year, thanks to public transit. I also learned to cook mostly fresh food, and found a way to eat healthier for less money. I also talked to my children so much more about why we didn’t own a car and we cooked at home nightly.
The other things that I found was to create family I had to socialize. When I say family, I mean adult interactions. My children will always be family, but to create balance, one needs adult conversations. I began socializing with the people in my apartment complex after my, then partner went to prison. Before that he just isolated me, again another story outside the realm of this one. That freedom I first felt was so empowering. I began to meet people face to face. I began to spend time outside of my home and work. I also found myself seeking to find things to go and do.
I learned about volunteering, and networking. I created my own world, surrounded by things I was passionate about. These were my defining moments. Ultimately, I realized that “The American Dream” was not how I wanted to live. I wanted the freedom of not being chained to the dream. Most of the inequality we see, in our society is based on a desire to have what other’s have. Once we allow ourselves to let go of the financial burden of striving for the dream, we can begin to enjoy our lives on a much simpler level.
I have spent the last 4 years purging, I used to collect things and then carry them on each move. Eventually I realized that these things were stressing me out. I was so worried about where they were and if they were safe, I forgot to look ahead and live in the now.