Breaking Away from the American Dream

Hello 2017.  And goodbye to the American Dream. 

In the 1930's, the American Dream was "invented". The term was originally a really amazing concept with positive intentions. It was defined by historian James Truslow Adams, and it meant, "That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement." Sounds great right? But as time went on, we as the human race, totally perverted that term. As we do most things. 

It has turned in to more, more, more. Make more money, buy more things, achieve more, do more. Being successful means going to college after high school, getting that degree, finding that great job and climbing that corporate ladder. Or it means starting your own business and pretty much be a slave to that your whole life. In the midst of trying to achieve the "American Dream", we lost our sense of community, of family, but most of all, we lost our sense of rest. We lost our sense of CONTENTMENT. We lost our sense of quiet. We walk around like robots, unwilling to interact with each other, staring at our phones. And in the family sense, we are all too independent, unwilling to ask for help and lean on a neighbor for support. We don't let anyone correct our children when they misbehave and we aren't there to see, because we don't want to upset our kids or allow them to have hurt feelings. I just don't like any of it. 

And it is all too easy to get trapped in all of these things if you aren't awake, aware and consciously seeking truth.  And when there is too much noise, you don't hear that small voice of God, even when he is SHOUTING at you. 

As most of you know, 2017 means I am officially saying goodbye to the business of hair and make up. Saying goodbye to all things weddings. And as scary as that sounded a while ago, I couldn't imagine continuing any longer. I loved my job and I loved my clients. But I worked 24/7. I never rested, I didn't have days off for months at a time, and my family got the leftovers of a grumpy, worn out mom. 

So as we enter into a new year, most people will be making new years resolutions and picking a word for their year. And as I thought about it, I couldn't settle on just one. I settled on three. Rest, Intention + Simplify. I feel that all of these words that I have chosen come together beautifully to create the type of life I've always searched for and the life I want my kids to know. A life of less, not more. A life of simplicity. A life not dictated by my bank account or the amount of toys we have, but a life focused on the quality time spent together, the intention behind our decisions and the legacy we are choosing to leave behind. 

We are going to spend more time outside, more time in the quiet, more books will be read, more simple family dinners at home, unrushed, messy and easy. As for me? I have my list of goals, such as more prayer time, not rushing through everything, and although I know its extremely challenging for me, I am going to try to allow white space in my calendar. I am going to commit to leaving spaces open in my schedule, not constantly filling them up and feeling like I need to be productive all the time. And I am going to enjoy the simple things. The mundane things. And just slow down. 

 

Cheers to 2017, friends.  

All images by Coleen Hodges Photography  

Jaime McLaughlin1 Comment