It was as if time stood still for the first time in my adult life.
I had rushed into the American dream so fluent and flawless it was as if I mastered what it was to be an adult before most. I felt established. I felt accomplished. I felt like all of what was promised I had achieved.
Still, I had this sneaking suspicion that there was more than this pace could ever satisfy.
The pandemic forced my hand at my first experience relief from the expected pace of the American dream. I knew that I had bills to pay immediately after graduation, so I got to work. The crushing reality of payment for an education for which I may never be reimbursed. I started work with the feeling of always holding my breath. Hoping someday I would catch it…my breath which always seemed to be one promotion away. I was thirty-two a not-so-normal age to be experiencing this “midlife” crisis but here I was. As time stood still for a second I began to reflect on how many mornings I spent rushing my children through unsure emotions. How many mornings I had sent them to school with empty bellies and uncombed hair. How many mornings I had cussed my way through drop-off lines and rushed goodbyes. For the first time ever I got to feel what it felt like to fully love my children, my spouse, my home, my life, and my myself.
For the first time since childhood, I got to see myself…
I got to experience my life again with my breath behind it.
That was when reality set in. I had spent my entire adulthood racing from one thing to the next. Only to be made worse by having children. Out of breath and out of time. Never fully anywhere in life. The pace was a demand that I gladly accepted because those were the terms of agreement of the “American dream”. The slow down of the pandemic was what made me reflect for the first time ever about what the rush was about. I was sacrificing everything I cared about in this world to get a promotion at the end of the year. To someday be at the top of the food chain. To prove my worth in hopes of getting a raise. For money, I certainly didn’t need. Money that would lend itself to an expectation of an even faster pace. Money that would lend itself to more wants. Money that would guarantee my addiction to the pace. More money to pay for more dance classes which I couldn’t attend, more money to pay for the soccer, games at which I would spend on the phone, to buy more toys (that my kids didn’t have time to play with) than last year at Christmas…it wasn’t ever going to be enough.
The pace was unrelenting and the success was upon review unsatisfying.
When you slow it all down for a second you might just begin to see.
When you slow it all down for months you might just begin to breathe.
I had lost myself in the pace that had promised to pay off. It was supposed to be getting better. The next job was going to promise more freedom and more money and regardless of that being true it always came with a higher pace and production. The great resignation isn’t about corporations as much as it is about people finally getting a chance to breathe and actually enjoying that experience.
For the first time, American people finally got their breath back.
So you can’t have my breath back America for the “dream” is not as it seems.