Courtney E. Martin, in her new book called The New Better Off argues that our society is moving away from what was once considered “the good life.” For years, people said things like “well, I want my kids to be better off than I was,” and often times that meant hoping those kids got a steadier job, or a nicer/bigger house, or into a better financial situation. But perhaps there’s a cost to putting all of life’s meaning under the old definition of “better off.” In her introduction Martin says,
…what’s more, some of the things we have associated with success actually endanger our health [and leave us unhappy.] Underneath the appearance of uplift, a complex [success] story weighs us down. This could play out in a number of ways…like when people set aside authentic career ambitions in favor of more lucrative paths; or when a father knows his colleagues better than he does his own kids; or a mother leans in so hard she falls flat on her face. Pressure and debt, missed get togethers, living for the weekend, living someone else’s dream. “Better off” left uninterrogated, can be fucking dangerous.