The American Dream (Revised and Expanded)

The American Dream (Revised and Expanded)
To me, the American Dream is to be able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.
— May Lin

The American Dream has always been energizing and elusive, but for many it has lately become confounding. Part of this may stem from the fact that notions fixed in our mind by tradition, advertisers, and past experience, no longer reflect the lives we lead, the goals we strive for, or the communities we are building.  

Replacing the image of a tract home and the nuclear family, we face a changing demography. A higher percentage of us live alone, while a majority of households are comprised of just 2 people, as the growth of the nuclear family flatlines. Affordability, density, and replacing cars with alternative transportation are now primary planning initiatives sought to accommodate the popularity city living, rather than commuting to far-flung suburbs.

My own story illustrates larger trends. In my early 20s, still single, I never thought to question the ingrained assumption that home ownership was tied to marriage and a starting a family. The cultural idea was so fixed I never even questioned its validity. But that all changed when a close friend bought her own property and told me how she’d done it--all on her own.

– Michelle Jackson, Denver home-owner.    Bloomberg News

– Michelle Jackson, Denver home-owner.
   Bloomberg News

Once I flipped the script in my head, it worked out that owning my home became the gateway to a career in real estate and the foundation of building financial security. Had it not been for my friend, how much time would have passed before I reexamined my thoughts? Today 17% of homebuyers are single women, and the trend continues to grow.

As homebuyers and households change, we see the shift reflected in our neighborhoods. The notion of who your neighbor is, or what makes a family or a community is becoming more diverse. Still, prevailing, entrenched ideas can be hard to re-imagine, just as it was in my case.   

This is why Living Room celebrates the stories of our clients, understanding that every single one reflects the resilience and transformative power of the American dream. By revealing the experiences of buyers and sellers we serve, we are affirming that the dream remains relevant for all of us, and that this is the time to invest in one’s own purpose.   

– Bethany, North Portland home-owner.

– Bethany, North Portland home-owner.

To be sure, our ideals are being tested. Affordability, discrimination, and lack of equal opportunity, are among issues that challenge our complacency and move us to action. But we also see growth and the promise of tolerance and equity moving into every neighborhood. At Living Room we recognize the meaning of the American dream is being examined, revised, and strengthened, and it’s our clients who are taking the lead, showing us the way forward.


What's your American Dream? We'd love to hear from you. Give us a ring at 503-719-5588, email at or stop by any of our offices.

507 Laneda Ave, Ste 4, Manzanita, OR  |  908 Esther St. Vancouver, WA

Jenelle Isaacson, Publisher
Davia Larson, Contributing Writer
Ashley Fungone, Editor