Appreciating The United States December 2014

After spending three months in Europe, three in Canada, and two weeks in Japan, I felt like I got an amazing new perspective on the United States.

Until I left this country, I had no idea what made it special. I wasn’t that appreciative of my country. Now I am. But I also see it’s blatant flaws. Here’s a few thoughts on what makes us different:

  1. We have an absurd level of political stability. 300 Million people spread across an entire continent with the same government for over 200 years? Yeah, have fun finding many governments in history with that level of stability. They existed, but they are definitely not the norm. I wouldn’t be surprised if our raging economy had nothing to do with low tax and everything to do with investors trusting that the country is going to be around in 5 years.

  2. We are obsessed with money. Because we can. We work our asses off to get rich. And it works. But we’re not optimally effient as we could be - after the first thirty hours or so of work each week, the efficiency (output per unit of work) drops off quickly. No other country felt as capitalistic or consumeristic as the US. People are just as happy elsewhere.

  3. We are globally unaware compared to most other countries because we have so much to occupy our attention here in the US. The bigger the country, the less their populations tended to focus on the world outside the country. It’s not that the US is especially unaware of the world - I think that any country of our size is.

  4. Americans have strong personalities. We are freedom lovers. We are full of ambition and passion and beleive we can do anything. I love this about the US and missed this dearly while I was away. We are really smart and want to change the world. But the flip side to this is that we take things personally and we overreact to things. I was shocked to notice how Americans take small things so personally when I got back. And we also go so far to seem friendly - fake smiles, insincere “how ya doing?”s.

  5. This is an awesome country. We have every biome and climate imaginable. If you like the cold, great! Go to Boston. If you like the warm, awesome, go to Florida. If you like the city, take your pick… we’ve got NYC, SF, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Denver… etc etc. There are endless options, each with its own personality and industry. If you hate the city, you’re still in luck! Go live in the mountains in Colorado! Or find a beach house on the outer banks of North Carolina. Take your pick.

  6. Americans are weird about guns. We love guns. It’s this strange obsession that I have yet to fully understand. Don’t get me wrong - a day at the shooting range sounds amazing. But I’m not sure where we got this idea that we should be allowed to walk around with a gun anywhere. And most foreigners that have visited the US are surprised by this too. What’s with these Americans and their guns?

  7. Our primary and secondary schools might be shit but our universities are spectacular. We have some really great universities that many people are drooling to get into from all over the world. They are absurdly expensive, but they are good.