What happened to the American Dream?

Posted on February 11, 2009


I resent this article from the New York Times on "Plan B."  (Not the "Plan B" many women in my generation know, the other one.)  In this case, the author is referring to Plan B as the subset of the American Dream we all hoped to have one day.  Things like, "the six-room bed-and-breakfast in Vermont that you bought and spruced up … Or a record deal…"  The new Plan B on the other hand is, in his words, "the best you can make of a worst-case scenario, the deal you cut with a fate you might be unable to avoid."

Now, before you think I'm not entirely unrealistic, I do realize that people are choosing H&M over DVF and shopping at TJ Maxx instead of Macy's.  But, if my entire generation gives up on the alternate American dream, then what's the point?  Isn't that what makes the world go 'round and supports the economy that we've been hearing needs to be stimulated?  First we had the "end of upward mobility" and now this?  Sure, we should be reasonably realistic about the "right now."  Anyone who's watching their stocks plummet is certainly right to be cautious.  However, let's also recognize Plan B and the American Dream for what they are: dreams, hopes and aspirations.

If those dreams keep you motivated to push yourself to the top of the pack while others are busy hunkering down and supporting realism, I say: go for it.  Dream big.  I propose a hybrid Plan B for GenXYZ.  Let's make the best we can of a worst-case scenario by keeping our dreams alive, American or otherwise. 

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