The American Dream is being remade into a new happiness after the Great Recession.
Money, and all of the stuff it can buy, doesn’t lead you to a new happiness.
Connect the dots on statistics and the picture of a more relationship-oriented America is starting to take shape. So says Courtney E. Martin, journalist and author of “The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream.”
Just as necessity is the mother of invention, the recession appears to be the father of consciousness.
The silver lining of the Great Recession? A critical mass of Americans have sobered up about where they can find happiness. It’s not nailed down by white picket fences or guaranteed by signing bonuses. It’s in relationships — with our neighbors, coworkers and friends, with our families, with our purpose.
Americans today are constructing a new happiness, a completely different framework for success.
Martin has termed the new thinking collectively as the “New Better Off.”
The “New Better Off” puts a name to the American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure—illuminating the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and success.
Americans are trading so-called security for flexibility: Home ownership rates are at their lowest since 1995, and it’s estimated that half of the US workforce will be freelance by 2020.
There’s been a soaring interest in alternative living arrangements like co-housing communities and naturally occurring retirement communities (NORC if you are searching for more information.) Over 50 million Americans are living in multi-generational households, and studies show that people actually like it, despite the stereotype of lazy millennials living with their parents past 30.
People are reweaving the fabric of neighborhoods, too. Super-powered by the Internet, we are sharing more and trusting a wider network of people. There are 10 million registered users on Nextdoor, a regional app that allows neighbors to connect, share things and ask each other questions. Eighty million people in America have shared something — from a car to a pet cat — online. Those who haven’t yet soon will; according to Nielsen, more than two-thirds of people want to share or rent out personal assets.
Sounds pretty good to me. What do you think?