Defining a Modern Day Hippie

Woodstock, flowers, drugs, love, music, and many more words come to mind when hearing the term “hippie”. The political counterculture movement that developed in the 60s has become a sort of subculture in today’s modern world. It is not so typical to find such a hard-core counterculture happening today, however this movement has definitely left its impression on the American ways. Today, we are seeing various types of new wave hippies, still holding the values of those in the past. The typical peace, love, and happiness still remains the main concern. Growing up, my father was sure to provide my 5 siblings and I with an in-depth understanding of the greatest times for music, American culture, and overall the the “good days” he had experienced and had heard about growing up. I was taught the overall basics of rock and roll, and eventually began to live and breathe the genre, specifically the era of rock in the 60s. I dug deep into the 1960s. I watched movies, read books, and listened to the music of these icons who were at the head of this overall turn in society. For some reason, I latched onto the conventions and values shared during the movement for peace. The abundance of love everyone held for one another in this moment, along with the innovative art and music, captivated many then and still does now. In a time of intense political turmoil in the United States, many were able to rise above and just​ love.

With all that being said, I feel as if there is a type of hippie renaissance occurring today. Let’s be honest, the country is divided more now than perhaps it has ever been. It makes sense that this type of “love everyone” approach would come back around. However today, it is appearing in new and different ways. A term used often today is “granola”. Granola is eerily similar to the counterculture mentality of ultra down-to-earthness. Urban Dictionary defines it as:

“A​ new-age/more civilized hippie who can usually be found journaling in an Eno in the middle of the forest, wearing ​Chacos​ or Birkenstocks and athletic shorts (always ready to hike or go on an adventure at any moment), a backpack with a ​CamelBak​ water bottle attached by a carabiner​, and with dreadlocks (all over or just one or two). The phrase "save the world" in their vocabulary is interchangeable with "travel the world and meet cool people from different cultures.”  

Now, do you have a certain person in mind after reading this? Probably. With the new age of social media and overt awareness of every catastrophe happening around us, it is possible to be super socially and politically aware. Personally, I do not think this is a bad thing and wish every person would have a “save the world” mentality. In a way, granola is an updated version of a hippie. The educated hippie, if you will. Not to say that hippies before were not educated, but today it is possible to voice these opinions more often due to the vast connections made on the internet. We no longer need gigantic free-for-all festivals like Woodstock to make a statement. As awesome as that would be, beliefs like those held by the counterculture are voiced a million times every day now.

As for music, there are certain artists that have been deemed granola status as well, meaning they appeal to that audience. Artists such as The Lumineers, Hozier, and Mumford & Sons (just to name a few) have established this neo-folk era of sound, thus causing some to be reminiscent of the sounds of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, or Simon and Garfunkel.

Also, the awareness for political and environmental problems is needed now more than ever. “Tree huggers” are becoming more prevalent in society, and honestly it’s amazing. Maybe we all need to go live in the woods for a little and live naturally. Another aspect that continues from the counterculture today is the resilience. Change is still very much needed today in order to better our environment and our society. That fire is still very much so burning within today, and it is demonstrated through various protests, strikes, and social media campaigns. Hopefully, this time people will recognize and listen sooner than they did in the 60s and 70s.

All in all, the torch is being carried! The counterculture lives on! ​Now go, listen to your folk music, eat organically, use your metal straw, wear your Chacos, hug some trees, and keep the love going.