I grew up listening to my parents talk about “the good ol’ days.”
My dad grew up among hippies, and my mom, who was born just shortly after the baby boom, undoubtedly grew up in a vastly different world than I did. It used to bother me. It felt like no matter what was happening in life and no matter what was going on in the world, my parents preferred a time and a place in the past.
On top of that, to them, my generation is the cause of all the problems in the world.
Whenever my music was too loud, I heard constant belittling: “You damn kids and that damn music! You don’t even know what real music is.” My fashion sense was often criticized: “Holes in your pants again? What the hell are you kids spending money on ripped jeans for?”
Problems that did not even concern me, or my generation, were still somehow our fault: “This world has gone to hell. It’s nothing like it was back when I was growing up.”
It didn’t matter if my parents were commenting on gas prices or reminiscing about the ice cream cones that were only 5 cents at the corner store, they were always comparing, wishing and reminding me that the time of the past was the only good time America was ever going to see.
I don’t think my parents are right, and I definitely don’t think they give me or my generation enough credit. We may have gone through some cringe-worthy boy band stages and our wardrobes may have involved too many “gangsta” baggy pants, but our generation isn’t far off from theirs.
Like the hippies, Generation Y has undoubtedly been ignited and is calling for a revolution.
This generation has begun to question “the man.” Thanks to Bernie and others who have inspired social movements, we are no longer content with the rich controlling our world. We have no interest in standing idly by with no say. And when injustice occurs, we have no problem standing up against it.
Considering my generation wants a socialist to run our country, maybe we’re secretly hoping for the establishment to fall.
The hippies were most commonly known for their belief in free love and sexual expression. Gen Y has become a generation in favor of more casual hookups than marriage, and is falling away from traditional views of love and family.
However, despite the free-love vibe we practice, this generation is less promiscuous than others before us. Statistics have shown Gen Y to have less partners than baby boomers, hinting that although we may be encompassing the idea of free love and sexual expression as the hippies before us, we are doing it in safer and smarter ways.
The hippies were widely known for experimenting with drugs, and Gen Y seems to be following in their footsteps. Cannabis is the most widely used drug among younger generations, and with legalization spreading, use of the drug may quickly become part of the culture.
Recent numbers have shown an increased use of LSD among this generation, and although many experts believe it had faded away, Gen Y has found the drug of the counterculture that drove flower children and free spirits everywhere.
Gen Y also supports social movements that promote equality among populations that have long been discriminated against. My generation’s support for legalizing gay marriage, along with the fight for feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement suggests that maybe, just maybe, our free-love spirit encompasses loving everyone and everything in every way possible.
Plus we’re totally treehuggers who support recycling, water conservation and saving the ozone layer.
No matter how many music festivals we gather at, how many tabs of acid we drop, and how many rallies and protests we participate in, it would be unfair to say that we are the next hippies. No generation will ever be as great as the hippies.
But maybe, just maybe, this generation will be yet another to challenge the establishment, create new perspectives and ultimately create a subculture dedicated to love, peace and equality.
I no longer shake my head or roll my eyes when my dad begins reminiscing about the good ol’ days. He still sees my generation differently, just as I hold his fellow hippies on a higher pedestal than he does.
However, I think my dad may be surprised; there are a whole lot of similarities between his good ol’ days and mine.