The American Dream

“The American dream”, a phrase that is seldom heard anymore, came to me as I prepared to leave for work.    For some reason, things were going along smoothly and I had plenty of time to catch the early bus and arrive to work early.  As part of my daily routine, I try to make sure my hair is moisturized.  Pouring the moisturizer into my hands, the “messy Marvin” part of me, took over and a large portion of the oil dropped onto the slacks I was wearing.  Ok, next the mad dash to get a cloth and soap to clean the growing spot on my pants.  After cleaning the spot as best I could, I then had to figure out what to wear as the previous outfit had been cancelled.   Needless to say, it took a few minutes to decide and change, using up the extra time I had before the spill.  Thus, Strike 1, a reason to…

Arriving at the bus stop, the early bus was long gone and the next bus to come just added to my disappointment after the unplanned wardrobe change  First of all, the bus was completely full, no seats available with people standing in at least ¾ of the aisle.  But, today, amongst the large volume of passengers, a gentleman asked me if I would like his seat and today, and (I don’t know why)  I replied “no”.  Standing and looking over the passengers  on the bus, I took note of several things; young mothers with toddlers or infants with strollers that could be folded but weren’t, young people in seats with toddlers seated next to them in a seat, not on the lap of the person they are with, (these toddlers do not pay);  and the passengers who had spread out their belongings on the seat next to them to prevent anyone sitting next to them — looking at their phones preventing eye contact with anyone who may ask them to move their belongings.   I admit I have days when I challenge these people; today was not one of them.

Anyone familiar with me knows that this business of riding a bus has become a pet peeve and it changes nothing.  Most of the time I am not offered a seat, and the very day I am offered one, I decline.  I forgot to mention that not only did a gentleman offer me a seat; a woman also offered me a seat too.  Think about that!!  Humanity redeemed for just a moment Strike 2, another reason to…

The point of this outburst or sign of exasperation is because I feel that being a senior and no longer having a link to the “American Dream” has left me in a state of sadness and/or melancholy.  Exactly how long should one work? When does retirement actually begin, the day you leave the job you have been on for x amount of years or the day you wake up and don’t have to go to the job? Who determines what you should do now since you are home — Your children? What society says you should be doing, or can do, is it really is left up to you?   I know I have been told countless times that I should be glad that I am still working, that once I am home I will be harming myself if I do nothing, that I must keep busy at all costs. Most of this advice is coming from friends who have retired and are enjoying their retirement. Then there are the friends who “meaning well”, actually play it by ear and do what they want, when they want, and who actually have lots of days when they feel the need to do nothing — and do just that.


Read Calamity’s full story, The American Dream.

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