I don't think I'll ever lose my capacity to be surprised at the way some people that have known me for a large portion of my life appear to have little idea of the things that have shaped me into the person I am today. I suspect I'm far from alone in this regard. If you relate, i.e. you've wondered how some people close to you don't seem to really get you, I hope you'll tell me and others whichever part of your story you are comfortable sharing here.
To cite my most recent experience with this phenomenon, I was dumbfounded to hear someone close to me say they never considered me a hippie during the years that word was widely used to describe the youth of that era. In fact, at my core, I've never stopped being a hippie, particularly with respect to my values. Without a doubt, there were a few superficial tenets of the mid-late 60s that I rejected: free love, recreational drug use, "dropping out". And though I did not support the Vietnam war, I didn't demonize returning soldiers. I also never did battle with law enforcement or unthinkingly followed any misguided leaders.
But foundationally, I embraced the ethos of that time and have tried to live the last half-century of my life aligned with values I was first exposed to then. Free love? No. Women's equality and agency of their own bodies? Yes. Recreational drug use? No. A belief in legalizing drugs? Yes, especially in light of how governmental agencies - State & Federal - support and/or subsidize the tobacco & alcohol industries, both known to wreak havoc on far more lives. Revolution? No. The need to continually re-calibrate capitalism, a commitment to never-ending social justice, supporting an unapologetically progressive agenda? Yes, yes, more yes. What are the alternatives to those three beliefs, all of which I adopted in my first iteration as a hippie?
Without continual re-calibration, unregulated capitalism is a voracious, unsatisfiable beast. Growing economic inequality festers, environmental concerns and justice are ignored; return on investment is paramount. Without a never-ending commitment to social justice, the status quo reigns supreme. How does institutional racism or sexism ever get dislodged? Who benefits when the voices of marginalized or poor or oppressed people are silenced? Supporting a progressive agenda helps ensures that these concerns remain on the radar of my elected officials. How else to hold them accountable as stewards of natural resources, champions of the collective good, believers in the sacredness of education?
OK, call me a hippie, 2.0. I've clearly been called worse.