To Be American

I think the term “American” is very broad. Some might say that the very definition is that there is no strict definition. It isn’t about gender, race, or religion. It isn’t even about where you’re originally from, America or otherwise. It is an all encompassing term not simply to label a certain region of people, but rather a mindset that any person might hold.

To be “American” is to wake up every day and always have the thought of where you want to be in the future in the back of your mind. Along with it comes the understanding that the future you dream of every day is only possible because of either the place you were born or the place you currently live. To be “American” is to make use of every second granted. If you know that you aren’t where you want to be, then using those seconds to fix whatever it may be to make that place possible. The resilience to get back up and keep fighting for what you believe in no matter how many times you get knocked down. The boldness to step into a light that you are unfamiliar with, and make me the most out of whatever it is you find. Being American isn’t simply about living in North America and having the ability to eat ice cream whenever we please. (But by no means am I downplaying that incredible feat.) Being American is a feeling that I think every true “American” has. A feeling of thankfulness for all that you have, while still striving to have more. Whether it be the food we eat, the beds we sleep in, the city we live in, the type of car that we have, whatever it may be. We eat those Ramen noodles with pride, we sleep on that stiff mattress with the spring constantly poking you in the back, we watch ourselves carefully in the sketchy streets we may have to live, and we drive that old beat down 93′ car that only sometimes starts, and we do it all with fervor. For we know exactly what we have, and we are thankful for it all. We know that come tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, we will be better off because we have those maybe not so luxurious things. They are what is allowing us to get better each and every day, and get closer to where it is we really want to be, even if only by a little bit.

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2 comments

  1. I really like how you said that American’s take use of every second granted. Sometimes, I feel that we get lazy and forget that we have the same 24 hour day as everyone else in the world, and we have advanced technology and programs to do so. Measuring a second in an industrialized and updated America versus a second in an underdeveloped third world country would likely prove to be minutes apart. We should always be thankful for the little things we are able to enjoy- clean water, eating ice cream whenever we want, or going to a public playground on a nice summer day. America is sometimes seen as “privileged,” but I believe it is truly a product of hard work, sacrifice, and the love of our great country.

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  2. Great post Shelby! It really made me fortunate for everything I have good and not so good LOL the mattress with the springs poking out and ramen noodles. I think we have all been there before. Love your sense of humor. I love that your attitude isn’t about entitlement; it is about hard work & constantly getting back up. It’s about getting up at 4am to do homework before going to work and cooking your family breakfast. It’s about driving that beat up POS car- knowing your future holds more and one day you’ll have a car with AC and radio. Many Americans now take for granite all the freedoms and luxuries we have on a daily basis compared to other people in less fortunate countries.

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