Entry 25: The American Dream
What is the American Dream? The simplest answer I agreed with was the birthright to have Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, which is an excerpt from the United States Declaration of Independence.
For those of you who may not know, I am from Mexican descent. I say it like this because I do not label myself as Mexican, but rather American. People have told me that my heritage is important, but at this day in age I feel that my cultural status is determined by my current lifestyle.
Both my parents lived under a Mexican lifestyle, which primarily focused on family and hard work. When I was born, my dad joined the military and we were stationed all over the country, including Germany. By living in different military communities every three years, I was accustomed with the fact that everyone is different. For those who always lived in the same community for their entire lives, I would assume they are only accustomed to the locals, whereas I never had the same neighbor for more than a year or two.
After growing up with people of all nations and ethnicities, I clearly understood the phrase "melting pot" when they described America. While I occasionally pay homage to my hispanic background, I am still grateful that I live in a country that accepts all people as one nation.
The military has paid a great deal of sacrifice to ensure safety and freedom for this country. If given the option of joining the military, I would have to decline, mostly for personal reasons. Most people, including myself, thought that joining the military was basically to become a soldier. The reality is that a soldier also entitles you to have almost whatever job you want, but in the military.
When TV commercials used to play Army ads about a doctor or engineer in the military, they weren't very clear about how many options you really have. One military man once told me that joining the Army meant you could be an artist, musician, transportation officer, policeman, firefighter, vet, supervisor, or even a simple barge operator. The only thing that was different is that they pay you to be trained as a freedom fighter and protector of this nation. Basically you can be a normal veterinarian with the credentials to jump out of planes, Rambo-style.
In high school we had a Career Practicum course that enabled students to assist in the field of degree that you enjoyed. My friend and I wanted to be an artist, so we were assigned to work with the guy who created the Army promotional banners and ads. This man literally had the best Mac computers with the best video editing software and Photoshop suites, and he was really happy to work there. All we ever did their was doodle with the art programs, and that's where I had my first taste at Adobe Illustrator.
Pursuit of Happiness
It's very important that pursuit is clearly understood. The Declaration of Independence grants the right to pursue happiness. In a nutshell, hard work is encouraged to obtain happiness. Pure luck and noble birthright isn't as rewarding as earning something through determination and hard work, in my opinion. Although it can feel great to earn something through a door prize or be showered with your grandparents' inheritance, I feel that those circumstances are enablers of laziness and taking things for granted.
Happiness is a distant object, whether it may be the dream job or person you want to live with for the rest of your life. I have always been satisfied with the process and journey of life. Even after I beat a game, finish a TV series, or create a work of art, I have always loved the buildup and momentum rather than the end result. Some gamers hated Mass Effect 3 because of its anticlimactic ending, but I loved every minute of the 100+ hours I put into all three games. Even when I finish an art project, I am always excited that I can work on the next one rather than cherishing the finished piece.
As for pursuing happiness in a relationship, I think all the battles and arguments are proven victories that lead to the longevity of happiness. I don't think I will be always be happy after marriage, but I know I will strive for it. I look forward to the fights we may have in friendships and relationships, because at least we know we have something worth fighting for.
I also believe that happiness is an arbitrary perspective that is different for everyone. When I'm at work, the day can drag on for hours, which often leads to the thought, "why am I working here?" But on some days I realize I work at an art gallery, which has amazing artwork and artists working together. In hindsight, I always try to fill my thoughts with positive affirmations so all my work reflects those aspirations.
And that's a simple look at my American Dream. What's your goals and perspectives? Do you strive for fame, money, or peace? Do bills and taxes feel like freedom-limiters? Please feel free to comment in the section below and leave any feedback. Thanks for reading, and have a happy 4th!