Is the American Dream Evolving?

I spend a lot of Google searches on terms like ‘frugal living’ simple living’ green living’ and ‘sustainable living.’
I like to read about others’ lives. I love reading about activists, about those that are making changes in their lives and in their communities.
I like knowing how people are downsizing, making ends meet, cutting back and living a simpler life.

As I read more and more articles about people who are learning how to live with only the basic necessities, I can’t help but wonder if this is the new American Dream?
There is a real shift in the hearts and minds of Americans, and whether people are choosing to get by with less, or they are doing so due to unemployment, underemployment, the recession or other financial reasons, the old dream is dying. No one works at one company for their entire career anymore. Life in general seems a lot less fixed and linear.

We’ve learned that big houses, flashy cars and designer wardrobes often come with a price tag much higher than the one they initially wear.
I think, particularly for those in and around my generation (Generations X & Y) and those coming up behind us, the only way to ‘get ahead’ is to change the game.
To embrace change, to get by with less, to buck the system and live below our means. Gone are the days of pining after a 2,500 square foot house and $40,000 car. Those things only leave us wanting more useless things!

Instead, live in a small home, drive an economy or hybrid car, or don’t drive a car at all and save even more of your money. Live simply and work less and enjoy life.
Instead of trolling the mall for the latest fashions, buy only what is needed at discount or thrift stores. Instead of going into debt every Christmas buying gifts for family and friends, make homemade gifts, buy gifts throughout the year on clearance or arrange a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange.
Instead of running around from activity to activity and event to event, sit in silence and watch a sunset. Read a book. Practice yoga or meditate. Knit, cook, talk and visit with friends, family and neighbors.
I think more people are slowly coming to the same realization, that the old way might have worked, at some point, or for some people. But it just isn’t working anymore.
The new American Dream is decidedly more streamlined and less about the quantity of what you have in your home or your life, and more about the quality of your life.

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