One of the things I’ve most admired about America is the attitude that anyone can become anything. It doesn’t matter from where you come, there is opportunity for everyone to forge their own path. I’ve believed the myth that as long as I remain authentic, and true to myself, I too can be great.
America breeds entrepreneurs, risk-takers, and dream chasers. We firmly uphold the right to pursue happiness. But, too often, we seek happiness at the cost of it. We seek money, status, or material things, thinking it will give us the permanent smile we desire. We confuse happiness with pursuit of purpose. What we really seek is meaning.
I sit on a bar stool, left behind by the previous renters, at the breakfast bar of an outdated, 90’s style kitchen, complete with a fake green marble countertop. Behind me is our family area, only TV, and two large french doors that overlook the back patio. Hundred year old trees hang over the fence and I can hear squirrels fighting one another under the branches. Probably over a nut that fell to the ground.
I don’t know where the squirrels hide, but I suspect a few might do so between the walls of my bedroom. Sometimes I hear a faint scratching sound over my head. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Silence. Scratch, scratch. The ceiling over the couch in our family room is starting to show damage. Maybe they are there as well.
As the new one on the street, I feel a mixture of welcoming and ambiguous attitudes. Once they learn I’ve just returned from frolicking across four continents, their knee-jerk comment is, “Oh, so you must be renting.” At first, I thought they must be a bunch of realtors! But, really, what I think they are doing is figuring out how much they want to invest in me.
Yes, I may be renting. But, I may also call this home. Owning a home for me carries a lot more weight than the average American. It’s permanence. And, that’s not something I know too much about right now. Let me ease my way into this new life; this new phase. Perhaps I will surprise you!
It isn’t much easier when it comes to the search for a job. This is where I want to seek the first amount of stability for myself. My kids and my husband already have theirs. My husband has a position, an identity carried from his overseas life. My kids are enrolled in their schools, finding their stability in a classroom. For now I write; my security blanket.
The hardest part of adjusting to life in America is realizing the advantage I’ve been given to see the world, and understand the world, doesn’t actually give me the world. It is not at my fingertips like many try to convince me.
I try telling myself it’s because I know too much. I’ve seen more than those hiring me. Little impresses me these days. And, they must feel threatened. Diversity challenges the status quo.