I might have been a hippie
If I’d ever had the chance.
I might have joined a commune
And learned to Sufi dance.
I might have found Nirvana
By intoning yogi chants.
But I missed the 1960s;
I never got a glance.
I was a stay-at-home mom in the 60s. Part of that time I lived on a farm, 12 miles from the nearest town and no neighbors that we knew. That does not seem like “isolation” now, when I start up the car and drive 8 miles to church or 15 miles to the doctor, or make a 54-mile round trip to attend a friend’s birthday party. But back then, I did not have my driver’s license yet, and we did not have a TV. All I knew about what was going on in the world was what I heard over the radio.
I listened to the Beatles singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” while I cooked supper with a baby on my hip. I even sang along, “…I can’t hide…I can’t h-i-i-de!” And my son asked me quite innocently, “Why can’t you hide?” 😉
It was in that kitchen that I heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. I had cast my first vote for him in the 1960 election, and I was stunned. I was not really a Democrat back then–I just preferred him to the other candidate.
I read Ayn Rand in the 60s, as well as the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads–a strange juxtaposition. Both philosophies have stayed with me, and now the “Atlas Shrugged” movies are finally being made and shown.
Rand’s philosophy energizes my self-respect and willingness to do what I have to, and what I love. The Hindu philosophy fills in the gaps that Rand does not care about: where I came from and where I will go when I die. She also did not believe that any of us were “put here” for a specific purpose, whether our own choice or God’s. It is up to each of us to make the most of our lives while we are alive. So, I have what I think is a logical belief that I am here because I am necessary. My influence will remain in the memory and DNA of those whom I have left behind, and my energy will become part of something else.
I have wondered a lot of late, whether it is better to embrace religion or to cast it aside as magic and superstition. Whatever the “truth” is, or whether it is even relevant, I know that when I die, I will either find out that there is an afterlife, or else I won’t be around to care. Either way, I have come to believe that it is better to leave this life holding someone’s hand, either a loved one’s, or an angel’s.
But I digress… Sure, back in the late 50s, I drank too much sometimes (but didn’t smoke any pot) and could have gotten into a lot of trouble if I had not married a good, responsible man, had several children, and left any possibility of a career undeveloped for 18 years. It seems that I always had to stand on the brink of disaster, or have a door slammed in my face, before I realized that I had to start off in a new direction. And the new door always opened as soon as I accepted the opportunity.
I finally became a hippie in the 1980s, just long enough to open up my creative writing, singing, and healing abilities. I also traveled a lot, went to retreats, met some fascinating people, and had a lot of fun before I went back to school and learned some marketable skills.
And yes, I even smoked pot a couple of times. (I didn’t like it.)