All we are saying…..

When I was in high school, aside from being a social outcast and an “artsy fartsy” type in a school that celebrated athelticism, I wanted to be a hippie. I mean I really, really wanted to be a hippie. I was in the ecology club and I loved anything tie-dyed. The problem was, we had no cause to protest! Well, there was the whole save the earth thing going on, but it wasn’t to the scale that it is now. No one really knew what living green meant, much less us! We thought that if we recycled a little and planted some flowers on the nature trail we could be really groovy, man. Yesterday I had the pleasure of eating lunch with a coworker who really was a hippie, As in the Haight-Ashbury type! I could sit and listen to her stories all day since mine mostly included singing Beatles’ tunes with my friends during our morning break and cleaning up trash around the school.

The problem, as I see it, was that we are generally well-educated, priviliged young people. We all came from stable homes, we had our own cars and nice clothes to wear. We lived in nice neighborhoods (except Ash, she lived in the boonies). We went to school in this bubble of a private school where we were sheltered from most social unjustices. The most discrimination we saw was based on where you bought your clothes. Of course, being that the school was relatively homogeneous, we didn’t have the opportunity to discriminate against anyone! Last weekend was the anniversary of 9/11 and I saw so many Facebook friends who recounted being in high school or college classes when they heard the news. I, of course, was way out of school when it happened, but I do remember another announcement that was made during my high school career. That was the elder George Bush announcing that we would be going to war in Iraq…the first time. I remember being in a restaurant with my mom and not really understanding what was going on, but I knew that I had a cause! Embarassing as it is, I will admit that I was a little let down when the whole war took place somewhere else and that we were generally unaffected by the whole thing. I was envisioning protests and sit-ins and burning our bras and such. It just didn’t happen. I actually found somewhere in a magazine that you could order a bracelet with an actual soldier’s name engraved on it! I thought here was my chance to do something!

Like many of those hippies in the 60s, I did find that as I aged, I lost a lot of those ideals I had when I was younger. I’ve become, dare I say it, much more conservative. I’ve even voted republican! There are times that I look back and kind of wish that young girl with the “Question Authority” bumper sticker on her car was still here, rather than the mom with my “My Kid is an Honor Student” sticker (which I don’t actually have, but will one day). I just wish that I had the kind of passion I did back then. I see people going to marches and rallies for marriage equality and I’m a little jealous that I’m at home making peanut butter sandwiches and driving carpool. I still long for social change, but I’ve decided that I line up more closely to conservative thinkers in many other ways.

Today I was faced with a situation in my job where I have the choice to do like many others and look the other way and I’ve found that passion. I know that the situation is messed up and I feel very strongly that a wrong was done. It’s just trying to find a balance these days. It’s a lot harder to imagine questioning authority when there’s a boss and coworkers who you really don’t want to alienate. Those choices were much simpler when mom and dad were footing the bill! I know the best decision isn’t ever the easiest, but I think it’s time to find my inner hippie and let her out!


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