The New American Dream
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Where Have All The Hippies Gone?

\"\"The American Dream that many so-called “hippies” of the 1960s counterculture movement embraced, chanting their mantra of “Peace and Love,” became something very different once the 1970s, which Tom Wolfe named “the Me decade,” came along. Somewhere along their free-loving, pot smoking, corporate bashing, military and government hating, revolutionary “road,” the hippies (or a majority of them) took the wrong fork and created a very different dream.

This 1970s dream embraced a nirvana scenario which included a bunch of stuff, accumulating more of it, and better yet, bigger stuff.  Money and power, of course, were basic ingredients in this recipe.

So, what’s the new American dream? Well, while we were busy worrying about the stock market, housing crisis and unemployment, in an economy when these things are harder to come by than ever before in our lives, the descendants of the old dream-makers have created a new American Dream. And in many ways, the new dream is better than the old one!

The economic setback is no big deal to these new, young pioneers, who do not care about owning McMansions or driving to the country club in their Bentleys or accumulating more money for the sake of it.

The new pioneers are the kids and grandkids of these old boomers (ironically, many of them  aging “hippies” who once dreamed as their kids now do, but, who got lured into the old American “me” dream). These new dream builders looked at, and some even lived in, the big houses, surrounded by lots of stuff, and said: “I don’t think so. I’m outta here.”

Their “yellow brick road” leads not to opulence, but to openness and mobility, quality over quantity, back-packs over Barca-loungers, bicycles over Bentleys, minimalist homes on lease over opulent real estate with mortgages, community over self, and matters of the mind over material possessions. Essentially, the new American Dream finally defines a way to reach the pinnacle of Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization, in a way the “Me” generation never achieved: maximizing personal potential and making a lasting and significant contribution.

This is the “emerald city” for today’s young adults. This dream doesn’t require great wealth, which ultimately diminishes life. This dream leads to wisdom which never stops growing and never dies.  And, the only “bubbles” this dream will create are those that float into the future and never pop.

So, this economy, whatever its outcome, is in some ways simply a positive accelerant for the new dream creators, the young pioneers in search of a higher, more sustainable and fulfilling happiness, directly opposite that which the old American Dream created.

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