Lately I’ve been finding myself frowning and pensively staring into the distance.  I’ve got what Herman Melville described as “whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off.”

Going home was so soothing to the soul, but I found it completely distracting to who I want to become and where I want to go.  I was such a consumer when I was home, shopping a lot and eating tons of food that I didn’t need in my body.  I guzzled enough gas to make up for the last year of not driving.  I slept on comfortable beds in central air-cooled homes.  I sat in front of televisions with English mind numbing programs for hours.  I leisurely whittled away hours at coffee shops, making lists of things I wanted to buy, basking in the glory of my money and the things I could get with it.

Worse than all of that (because, hey, I was on vacation and was buying things that I wouldn’t be able to get for another year), I started yearning for things I’ve never really yearned for before: to buy a house, to settle down, to return to the daily grind of the American routine.  I wanted to ride my bike and then park it next to my car in my garage.  I wanted to pick out furniture and stain wooden floors (oh sexy wooden floors); I wanted to consider the picket fence.

I effing hate the picket fence.

But the comfort and consistency and easiness of that life is so alluring.  It’s hard not to want those things, when that’s what we grow up with and grow up believing we are entitled to.  Where are you supposed to lay your head if you aren’t owning your own home?  Where are your kids supposed to live?  Where are they going to grow up?  How are you supposed to be taken seriously if you just keep wandering the globe with low-paying (or no-paying) jobs?  What kind of life is that?

It’s a kind of scary one.  I don’t have a compass or guidebook or map or mentor who can tell me what that’s supposed to look like, or if I’m doing things all wrong.  I have a supportive husband and an obsessively loyal dog; two good things to have if you want to try to do crazy things in a world where crazy ideas don’t always pan out.  But when I sit looking on facebook at my friends who are buying houses, securing dream jobs, having babies, running marathons, basking in the comforts of America, I am both jealous and repulsed.  The duality of my desires is weighing me down: I want a safe place to call home//I want to have nothing to do with the American dream.

I don’t know if I have a conclusion for this post other than to say simply that I’ve been feeling torn and frustrated.  I know my life is not meant for all of that – in fact, I do have plans that will take me far away from that for at least another couple of years.  I just hope that I don’t spend those years counting the days until I sell out what I can do for this world for what it can do for me.

I have a few issues with this little video (namely, it’s saying the American dream isn’t compatible with being an Evangelical Christian – which it isn’t; but my point is simply that the American dream isn’t compatible for anyone who sees that there are terrible things happening in this world but refuses to give up the dream in order to help those people), but for the most part, I think it sums up why I disapprove of the American dream, and why I (wrongly, but arguably) get frustrated by Christians who think it’s a God given right.

By the way, what I’m not saying is that if you have a house and a job in America, I’m judging you.  I’m not judging everyone who falls into those categories.  I’d just challenge anyone, no matter who they are, where they are, etc., to consider if what they want to do and how they are living their lives will leave any type of positive impact on this world.  I’m not talking about being a good person; I’m talking about making some type of effort to end issues like poverty, homelessness, human trafficking, health issues, hunger, thirst, etc.

Advertisements