I’m not sure when I became a hippie. It must have been a slow evolution.
Apparently as a toddler, I returned home from my neighbor’s singing Vietnam protest music. I don’t remember this event. I’m sure it was a catchy tune. I still like catchy tunes.
I took a break from being a hippie until I went to college at Grinnell . I did choose the place after all. It was far enough away from home for me to feel independent and close enough to family for support if I needed it. Turns out Grinnell has a stellar reputation and turns out academics and bleeding heart liberals like no one else. I remember liking the feel of the campus and the support system in place. You know? All those things that you can’t type up in a book. Yes, there were admissions books and flyers in those days. I saved one as a keepsake.
As I progressed through my time at Grinnell I learned all about the life sciences and so much about people and relationships. I learned about the injustices of commercial farming as well as the injustices of shaving and deodorant. I also learned about free beer and house parties and vegans and freegans (even though that’s not what they were called then). I dutifully went to Disco in costume every year and didn’t shave my legs for an entire semester. My legs looked like man legs and I didn’t care. I wore the same red flannel sweatshirt on most days and the same pair of pants for so long that they probably could have stood on their own. I wasn’t indoctrinated at any one event, but over 4 years the spirit of the modern hippie must have just seeped inside. I went to lectures and talks of people who were passionate about their studies, goals, and lives. I had turned into a hippie and didn’t even know it!
Immediately upon graduation I found myself working in what some might consider a less desirable area of my city. I worked at a school in an area with high crime coupled with drug use and gang violence, all while at the time boasting the largest percentage of pregnant teens in the US so much so that my school had a program for pregnant and parenting middle schoolers. Let that sink in for a moment. That’s where I worked. I’m an optimist and the kids were enthusiastic about learning. They took in every program we offered. I loved the work, but the pay was stereotypically low. This is total hippie stuff. Think AmeriCorp/ Peace Corp . Many of my coworkers worked for them. At the same time I moved into a home in similar neighborhood on the opposite side of town. My garage was tagged with graffiti on such a regular basis that I purchased spray paint several cans at a time. The neighborhood was lively to say the least. I loved it. Again more hippie stuff.
I moved 11 years ago. I now live 4 blocks away from that location. The neighborhood is still lively and it can’t shake me. I routinely find things that I don’t want to pick up with the trash grabbers I purchased for weekend clean up walks. See I go on weekend trash pick up walks. When did that happen? And not just for Earth Day! I go every week in nice weather. In cold weather I just mumble through my scarf.
I cook lots of my own food like a hippie. I’ve experimented with low-glycemic index diets, low FODMAP diets, Paleo diets, even removing sugar from my diet (which is complete crap and I have to keep restarting because I have no willpower). I don’t drink out of plastic and don’t own plastic glasses (this isn’t entirely true because I got one for the bathroom after I broke a pint glass one night and had to clean it up in my jammies) or plates; even those that claim they are BPA free because I don’t trust plastic. See what I mean? I transport my food in glass containers. I don’t own plastic wrap. I don’t use pans coated in Teflon and I don’t cook in aluminium. It causes cancer/alzheimer’s. I don’t wear antiperspirant. Cancer again. Don’t stand next to me on a hot day. I’m a hippie. I grow organic heirloom vegetables and pick up my CSA box on time every week
But now that I’m pregnant it’s official. I’m a hippie and I don’t care. I want the world to be a great place for my son and I’d like to live long enough to see him be a quirky and strange adult. I dig bottles out of the trash and put them in their neighboring recycling. It’s cool. I’ve got lots of good company.