Musings on my American dream

In the hour before my workday, as I sip my cup of Happy Hippie brew (no joke – my favorite local coffee roaster titled this luscious roast), I muse on a few quotes attributed to Einstein like so many others that may or may not be what he said.

Be a loner.  That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth.  Have holy curiosity.  Make your life worth living.

In order to be a perfect member of a flock of sheep, one has to be foremost, a sheep.

I have come to the conclusion that the best part of mid-life is perspective.  You can review your life in a new way.  You’ve experienced enough that you marvel you still exist, yet there is so much more you want to do and you see the horizon drawing closer.

I have a lifelong tendency toward loner-ness, and for the first time I am appreciating the value of this.  It allows me to strive for my own truth.  As a woman in American society, this means working toward freedom from every media image I have absorbed since birth about how my body the way it is is unacceptable if I want to be loved or successful.  I am grateful to have bountiful examples in my own family of strong intelligent women (doctors, community leaders, businesswomen) as role models for my daughter, and even though I tend to doubt I am among them, I do hope I’m teaching her to strive toward listening to the beat of her own drum, her own life purpose.

For men in America, striving toward their own truth may mean working toward freedom from the Knight in Shining Armor ideal and pressure to provide for self, women and children in their life while fixing and repairing everything in their wake and somehow going on a hero’s quest to prove themselves all at the same time.

My American dream is a lifestyle that involves walking 10 to 15 miles a day and sleeping under the stars.  Before I leave this earth, I want to learn more about the plants that could help me heal if I need them on my journeys.  I am grateful to a Native American woman botany teacher in high school who taught me to see the abundance of desert plant life, but one of my goals is to learn more.

While my dream may not involve a home (well, maybe a modest resting place to return to from a life lived mostly on foot), a car, 2.5 children, and a master’s degree, I do think it will be possible to incorporate more of my dream into reality once I am no longer responsible for providing food, consistency, shelter, health care for my child.  So. . . my future feels bright, at least inside my heart.

This year, I had the good fortune of befriending a man who survived one of the most horrendous childhoods I have encountered and spent much of his youth homeless, growing up quickly to support himself and find his way.  What I learned from his life was that freedom to “loiter,” even sometimes in National Parks, is often restricted in such a way that my dream may be less than realistic and I do not want to glorify homelessness.  But my intention is to find some way to experience the freedom, physical fitness, and connection to the truth from which our human neurobiochemistry evolved than I can in any of the other alternatives I have experienced as possible for my life.


About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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