Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

24 April 2012

Unthinking the American Dream

A place that used to be home.

This week I contributed an article to, which asked me to recount the torrid* tale of my financial life before and after France, a task that proved surprisingly very hard and felt almost embarrassingly personal. (Then again, until recently I was one of those people who felt that your character could be judged by your FICO score.)

The article was published this morning and is called "Unthinking the American Dream." Here's an excerpt.
Over the course of my short working life, a lot of money has come and gone. Most of it came and went in the U.S. I spent much of that time believing my value as a human was tied to my ability to consistently turn some money into more. I concede that this was largely driven by my own obsession for untold riches, but that’s also the dream we’re sold. Under the shadow of Silicon Valley, where I grew up, it’s a noble enough reason to neglect your family and friends: people who don’t support you aren’t really constructive elements, are they? And if you do it right, you’re putting in three years of endless work in exchange for 60+ years of leisure, aren’t you? 
In another country you don’t just learn a new value system, you learn new dreams: live within your means, do work you care about and still make time for the people that matter. To be able to find balance in work and life ought to be a definition of success, because it’s surprisingly difficult. Things come and go, ambitions change: I realized I wanted a life that resembled a rich, carefully-constructed tapestry, not a bar graph.

*Okay, it's not like I was a pirate on the high seas or anything.

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