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Saturday, April 5, 2014

On Finding My American Dream And Minding Your Own Business

We're on the home stretch with my lit class now! Being American lit, one of the main themes we've focused on throughout the year is the American Dream. While every book and every character's definition is different, that's what makes them good. The Puritans in The Scarlet Letter want religious freedom; Ishmael from Moby Dick wants adventure and a break from monotony; and Huck from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn wants to make his own decisions, and be independent.

While the definition of each dream is different, they still have some major things in common: freedom of choice, independence, happiness, and, most of all, a break from the status quo. 

Due to lit class and a bit of 'coming of age' thoughts, I've been wondering what the American Dream is for me. While there is (obviously) lots I don't know and haven't figured out yet, I've come to a comfortable place of knowing who I am, how I work, and what I need. I know that skating's my life, blogging's my outlet, and taking walks is my medicine for everything. I know that I'm happier when I've worked hard and accomplished something, that driving alone isn't scary but quite awesome, and that my best friends and I don't need to be in each others lives every second to be close--give us a skype video chat, and we're all caught up again. :) 

Another thing I've discovered about my American Dream, though, is that it absolutely does NOT involve listening to other people's 'advice'. Now, I'm all for advice. Seriously, just the other day I called my mom to help me decide if I should get regular coffee or cappuccino. But what I don't like, is people who have no connection to me, who don't really care about me, and who are not affected by my life, giving unasked for 'advice' about areas that are none of their business. Yeah. My American Dream is to live a life that's right for me. I don't need others to sanction it or accept it. 

I've grown up getting lots of flak for lots of different things. People don't like that I'm Christian. They don't like that I'm conservative, and they certainly don't like that I'm homeschooled. They don't like that I've dedicated my life to an 'uncommon' sport, or that I'm not planning to go to college directly after high school. I've gotten flak for wearing pencil skirts instead of jeans, not having a boyfriend, and not following pop culture. I've gotten weird looks when I talk about talk radio, or vintage fashion, morals, hard work, and goals. Apparently, I'm not right. Something about me is simply not socially acceptable.

But, I'm sort of past caring. And Lizzy Bennet agrees with me:

Lizzy Bennet Pride and Prejudice quote make your own happiness live your own life ll Young Yankee Lady
"I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness,
without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me." -Lizzy Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

And that is exactly what I think. If what I am doing is right with God, then all I have left is to decide what is best for me, and those family and friends who I care about and whom my life actually affects. If you're only an acquaintance who is seeking to bulldoze with your own opinion, rather than actually help me, then I have nothing mroe to say to you. My decisions are my decisions, and are absolutely none of your business.

The other week, a certain person challenged me about my family's decision to homeschool. It caught me off guard, mainly because it had nothing to do with what we had been discussing. I'm at the point where I don't even feel the need to be defensive anymore. I mean, why would you, someone I hardly know, have any say over a personal decision that is between my parents and I? In the past, I've let things like that bother me, but not anymore. If what you're saying isn't going to change my mind, them I'm not going to let it bog me down, either.

My American Dream is going above the status quo, to do what is right, and what makes me happy. I want to live a life that is busy, loving, and chock full of skating, reading, traveling, friends, to-do lists, and sweat. There's more than one way to do something, and everyone must find what works for them. But I'm done with being told what to do, and done with doing things simply because that's 'what you're supposed to do.'

The truth is, I love being homeschooled. 

I know there is a God that we are all responsible to. 

Skating's my passion, and I have a chance of doing it professionally.

Being creative, hard working, and unique is more important to me than a college degree. I'm not saying I'll never go to college, I'm just saying that I'm not going to believe I'm only worthwhile if I have gone to college.

Being single isn't something I worry about anymore. After all, alone doesn't always equal lonely. 

And I always, always have the chance to change my mind. Switch things up. And try again.

I'm not saying people should do things my way, but I am saying they should mind their own business. Isn't 'worry about yourself' the number one thing we were told as kids? I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start putting that into action again. 

Thanks for reading! What is your American Dream?

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