Kelly: Working for the American DreamWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
Being the host of a morning show, one of the questions I get asked a lot is how we come up with the topics we discuss. Some of it is based on the things I overhear in public, but the majority of the ideas come from what happens in my everyday life. One of those everyday moments happened to me recently.
When we’re growing up, we’re taught to chase the American Dream. That is, basically, to get a job, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. I have no problem with getting a good job or getting married with kids. It’s the “happily ever after” part that I’m having a conflict with. I have reached every aspect of the so-called American Dream. I have a good job, three kids and a beautiful wife. Yet I find myself asking, “When is the happily ever after part going to start?”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying I’m unhappy. I’m rather happy. What I am saying is that “happily ever after” isn’t something that’s automatic.
We’re basically promised in the American Dream that all we have to do is achieve the aforementioned goals and happiness will be bestowed upon us. Well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that’s nonsense. The truth is, your happily ever after only comes when you work for it, after getting what you worked so hard to get.
Think about this for a second.
To get a good job, you probably went to college and put in a lot of work. You worked your way up from the bottom and finally landed the job. Counting kindergarten, we’re talking 17 years of schooling and three or four years of working to get to the right spot in your chosen profession. That’s 21 years of work getting one part of your American Dream.
For your significant other, you undoubtedly put in time learning how to be comfortable with yourself and dating multiple people before finally settling down. Starting at your average age of dating (15), and ending at the average age to get married (28), that’s 13 years of work.
For your 2.5 kids, well, for some of us it takes longer than others. Without getting into a debate, let’s say they are five years of work.
Congratulations. You’ve accomplished all there is in life. You’ll now be happy for the rest of your life.
What makes you think that after all the work you put in to get that job, the husband or wife, and those beautiful kids that you’re done? The “work” hasn’t even set in. This is the beginning.
I really believe that this is one of the biggest problems plaguing us as a society. We tend to think that if we work hard to get something we want, once we get it, we don’t have to work hard anymore. No. This is why the things you’ve worked so hard to get haven’t lasted. We need to start teaching our kids — and ourselves — that we need to work even harder once we get what we want out of life.
We need to continue to impress our boss by coming up with unique ideas. We need to show that without us, they’re lost. We need to be desired by our significant other. We need to impress them by showing them how much we need them. We need to constantly show that we love them. We need to be as excited to see our kids as we were the first time we saw them. We need to show them the love and patience we promised we’d show them when they were first born.
Once people start to realize that a goal isn’t accomplished just because you achieved it and it’s something that needs to be pursued forever, we’ll be better people. We’ll have jobs we don’t lose to outsourcing, spouses who don’t leave for lack of attention and kids who grow up knowing that we love them more than life itself. Isn’t that the American Dream?
Sid Kelly is the host of “The Morning Rush” weekday mornings on 92.5 KISS-FM.