America’s new slogan

I believe we all possess the adventure gene, but most of us suppress it for one reason or another.

In college I went home to the farm for spring break while my friends did jello shots in Mexico.

Upon graduation, I landed an internship at my first ad agency.  There would be no backpacking through Italy, pub crawls in Ireland or drug trips in Amsterdam.  I had a career to build, and besides, there would be plenty of time for travel and adventure after I made my first million or two.

I was well on my way as the ’90’s brought prosperity and wealth to businesses large and small.  These businesses had brands to build and required ad campaigns to help them stand out from their equally successful competitors.  It was a great time to be an ad man.  Hell, it was a great time to be an American.  Bill Clinton raised taxes to encourage things like home ownership, 401k contribution, business ventures, capital investment, etc.  All good, healthy, economy-boosting ways to avoid paying any more of those higher taxes than necessary.  And still, even Uncle Sam’s budget got balanced, thanks to all the new and growing businesses–not to mention the 28 million new jobs–adding to government coffers.

Then we elected a “c” student from Texas who promptly lowered taxes, making it easier for the wealthy to bank their money rather than reinvest it.  He called these people the “job creators” because it sounded much friendlier than “greedy bastards.”  And over the next eight years, a measly 3 million more jobs would be added to Clinton’s 28 million; not even enough to keep up with population growth.

In 2008 the economy would finally collapse, clients would struggle or go bankrupt, and my personal compensation would be cut in half.  In less than a year I would go from owning a house valued at more than twice what I payed for it, to having the sheriff post a vacate notice on my door.  My 401k would get a 40% haircut.  Bankruptcy and divorce would soon follow.

Lately, every time I hear the phrase “The American Dream” I throw up a little.  I now understand that it was a marketing slogan all along.  The kind of slogan I’ve been writing for banks, casinos, newspapers, fast-food joints, power companies, grocery chains and ski resorts for more than a quarter century.

The good news is I’m over the idea of waiting until I make my first million or two before I allow myself an adventure.  And I’m also over the notion that this country holds some divine blessing for me anymore.  In fact, if I managed to land the United State of America account today, the first thing I would propose is a new slogan:

America.  It was good while it lasted.

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9 thoughts on “America’s new slogan

  1. How was your first day at work aftergiving notice? Did it feel different or the same?
    Love this entry, by the way. Kew

  2. I definitely have a bad case of short-timer’s disease, but it’s actually more enjoyable in a weird way because you know you won’t be putting up with it much longer.
    Glad you liked the post. I probably lost a few followers with that one though.

    • Or gained a few.:-) Glad to hear you don’t have “quiters remorse”.
      Your story is probably more familiar than you think. It’s time that people in this country think more globaly in regards to their personal experiences and sense of adventure. You’re right, that we supress that adventure bug in us, and even more so as we get older. Having the courage to take on the adventure can be as rewarding as the actual adventure itself.
      Keep the faith(and don’t worry about making budget anymore) 🙂
      Kew

  3. Can’t believe I found your blog just as it’s all happening… I think I, too, have reached my moment of peace, when it’s all clear… Time to move on. (although I’m not so sure I’m ready to move as fast as you have…). I am definitely into the purge and divest state of mind, suddenly I don’t want to acquire; I want to get rid of… I find great pleasure in matching my possessions with the person(s) who could use them.

    • Glad you found it. I remember that first morning–when it all became clear–realizing there have to be a million people out there thinking about the same, exact thing. My guess is now that it’s all become clear to you, your timeline may pick up speed. And yes, Diana and I were just discussing a similar thing about getting rid of possessions last night. We were standing in our typical overcrowded American garage, looking for a cooler, when she threw out the idea of simply inviting her four kids to come take whatever they wanted. Could actually be fun.

  4. If you read the numerous south american expat blogs, there are thousands of people (US and Canadian) who feel exactly the same way you do. Many, sadly, have to move or they won’t be able to afford basic necessities into retirement. I appreciate your honesty in speaking of losing your home. Many people try to hide how badly they were affected by the recession. I also appreciate you starting your blog while still in the US as opposed to already in a new country. It would be interesting to hear exactly how you chose your destination. Weather was a huge factor for me. I couldn’t face months of humid weather! When exactly is your move?

    Kim

    • Kim, Besides weather(which is a big one for me too), what were your factors in deciding where you landed? Would you change anything if you did it all over again? I’m still in the planning stages and would appreciate any information shared.
      Kew

    • We haven’t chosen an exact date, but in general the plan has been to enjoy our last summer here in the States, then move in the fall in time to escape winter. Today, we agreed that we need to sit down with a calendar and write down everything that needs to be done between now and our departure. Medical, dental and eye checkups, financial arrangements, garage sales, family stuff, etc. I may decide to post these milestones–with projected dates of completion–on the blog so you guys can follow along and apply pressure the way you did with the job quitting saga. That really was helpful! As far as choosing our destination, that has been ridiculously unscientific so far. We know we want the beach, and we both enjoy warm weather. I’m also not a fan of extreme humidity. Diana is less concerned about that. She likes the way it makes her skin feel or something. We will be taking a trip to Ecuador and possibly a few other locations during a two week vacation in August sometime. My guess is we’ll come back knowing exactly where we want to land. We are both extremely low maintenance, so we’re pretty good at not over-thinking stuff like that. In fact, we’ve discussed your village a time or two lately, and are pretty sure we’d like to stop by and learn about it, if that’s cool?

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