You might have heard our generation be referred to as new-age hippies. If you haven't, allow me to elaborate.

It seems as though certain parallels have been drawn between the free-spirited hippies of the 60s and the emerging young adults of today — and I'm not just talking about flower crowns and drugs.

I've personally observed a renewed, yet overdue, interest in the environment, emerging equal rights activism, drug reform and an increased emphasis on love and acceptance. Millennials reflect a rejection of "the man," or at least working for him, as more and more leave conventional jobs to pursue their dreams and venture into personal startups.

This empowerment has created a greater sense of responsibility, leading to heightened awareness and naturally more skepticism among a subgroup of people who have been referred to as modern-day hippies.

I used to refute this. In a world where our generation also displays such exorbitant levels of narcissism — where we've literally created an industry around the need to indulge in our own vanity (i.e. selfies) — are we truly becoming more aware and socially empowered, or are we merely copying a culture that has been celebrated through the years?

Of course, we have observed some blatant imitation, particularly in fashion. High-waisted shorts, fringe, long dresses and headbands have all made a comeback.

And when it comes to music, we've seen more open declarations of support for the bands of that time, including The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

I hesitate to buy into these latest obsessions, which can sometimes seem as a superficial quest for coolness. Not to say that there aren't real fans out there, but a crop top with Janis Joplin's face on it doesn't cost $60 at Urban Outfitters for no reason (well maybe it does — that's the point).

But if music and fashion are a reflection of a community's ideals, then maybe these iconic trends are making a comeback because the message that surged from that generation truly does resonate with people in ours.

There are phonies and imitators out there, and there always will be. But what I've come to appreciate is that the subculture that has grown out of re-adapting that free-spirited mindset does place emphasis on some important values.

We have grown up in an environment in which technology has given us the world at our fingertips, and we have since fostered a culture that encourages the pursuit of personal dreams and innovation. No longer do we find it acceptable to work a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job we hate for some big corporate "man."

We are seeking our passions and promoting societal growth through personal fulfillment. Ultimately, this wave of new-age hippies is incorporating past ideals with modern-day advancements and discoveries to create a unique outlook — an outlook which I believe has caused a shift away from today's materialism, and created a preference to owning experiences as opposed to things.

As festival season continues, would you agree with me in saying that people in our generation would rather drop $300 on seeing their favorite bands instead of buying a fancy watch?

With an increased interest in music festivals and traveling, not only do we crowd surf, we couch surf. Rather than paying for an expensive hotel room, the millennial would rather spend money doing more things, even if it means sleeping from couch to couch.

We've promoted the business of sharing, as more services such as Uber, GroupMe and Living Social allow us to split costs to do things with others, instead of buying things for ourselves.

There will always be exceptions, and much like the hippies of the 60s, these people are part of a subculture that does not necessarily reflect the majority.

While I won't go as far as saying we're a generation of new-age hippies, there's no denying the parallels. In a world of narcissism, materialism and more –isms, I am glad to see my peers gravitate toward experience over ownership.


Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Coordinator for the Central Florida Future.

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