Recently, rapping (in the sense we used back in the day) with a close friend, my call to revive our generation’s youthful ideals and dreams came up. She posited that perhaps Boomers are not that way now. We kicked it back and forth for a while discussing the natural tendency of people to become more conservative as they age and the evidence that most people live in Santa Claritaesque settings (check Santa Clarita, CA to get my point).
“No question few Boomers live in the bohemian/ communitarian way these days, if ever,”, I responded “but I believe that a spark of youth still resides in that older body and that youthful spirit wants expression.” So much is learned and deep brain grooves are laid down in our twenties, which explains why as we get older the songs of our youth evoke memories. They are familiar and deeply embedded in our sense of identity. Spirit in the Sky is still one of my all time favorites.
I continued, “Perhaps when individuals are released from the inhibiting structures of a job and career, that new freedom opens up space for the old feelings, memories, and values to emerge. Just maybe, some of the new seniors will want to revive their love of music, or community, or social justice, or ?”
A quickie research on Wikipedia revealed that among the antecedents of the hippie movement of the Sixties and Seventies were a similar counter-cultural trend in Germany in 1896-1908—Der Wandervogel (or wandering people). They also sought a simpler life style in reaction to the rapid industrialization of that time. Eventually, some of that group moved to southern California and a local group developed called Nature Boys. At one time they lived off the land in Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs, CA.
When I read that, a personal full circle was drawn linking my experience of a hippie bacchanal in Tahquitz Canyon in 1968 while I was in high school. That wild Easter break week, included the first Palm Springs Pop Music Festival, starring Eric Burden and the Animals, Blue Cheer and other rock luminaries. After the next festival in ’69, the local authorities freaked out, evacuated the canyon, and shut it down to all visitors for decades. I took a guided tour of the canyon a couple years ago and the Indian tribe who ‘owns’ that land states it had to spend a pile of money and many years to clean up the crap. Yes, there is a shadow to all that youthful rebellion. But law and order returned to Tahquitz Canyon and Palm Springs and most of us kids settled down to LIFE— eventually.
I don’t do that stuff anymore, but I DO remember the joy, fun, excitement, and camaraderie of those times. And I seek it out regularly (last weekend I drove a Ferrari on a simulated race course) I believe it is possible to revive that youthful spirit (with modifications) and couple it with our wisdom (hopefully earned in life) and make the last third the best yet.