“You are living the dream!” That is what a fellow told me recently. He has been in school for as long as he can remember. All his friends are living like adults, but he is still living like a student. He heard a bit about my life in a group discussion after a conference. It struck me that he is correct, I am Living The Dream.
I grew up in a rural area. I was ignorant and living in poverty. Our house was a one-bedroom squalid dwelling. We didn’t own a car. Not only did I not have exposure to doctors and other working professionals I didn’t even know anyone who went to college. My teachers and school counselors told me to forget about college since I wasn’t smart and didn’t have money. My mother told me I could be welder. My grandmother advised a job in insurance.
Fast forward a couple decades and you would see a guy who graduated from 5 colleges. I’m completely debt free (no student loan, credit card balance, car loan, or mortgage). My investment income exceeds my work income, which is quite generous. My work environment is not only pleasant and safe but fun, challenging, and supportive. I take great vacations with my beautiful family and return to a marvelous paid-for house. I am living the dream, indeed!
I am thankful to that resident who reminded me how blessed I am. All that struggling and studying and working paid off. I am also thankful to this country, the State of New York, and all the reformers who fought to provide public opportunities for its impoverished citizens. The public schools, need-based scholarships, tuition waivers, and PELL grants made this Dream Life possible. Since I have succeeded so well, virtually anyone with reasonably average faculties could do it.
For those of you who are hoping. For those of you who are struggling. For those of you who are planning for a brighter future, I offer encouragement. The American Dream is Alive and Well.