I came out of the hippie closet about ten years ago. It was a bit scary. I wondered what people would think. Would they judge me for my hippie ways? Would they shun me? Would my successful corporate career suddenly end?
Like most of you, I learned the ‘correct’ path to take to growing up and being a responsible adult… go to school, don’t stand out too much, try to fit in… go to college, get that job, climb the corporate ladder… get married, have 2.3 kids (or in Utah, 5.3 kids. I have 6 since I’m an over-achiever), be a good citizen, go to church, try to fit in, don’t say inappropriate things, hide your emotions because you’re a man…. stuff like that.
I did that for most of my life. I was really good at it. I could check off all of the boxes. It wasn’t until after my experience of not dying that I started to even question the list. Once I did, all hell broke loose. I felt like I was walking down one of those roads at Universal Studios where the buildings are only facades, and there is nothing behind them.
Fast forward eighteen years, and here I am. I’ve come out of the closet and and am a self-proclaimed hippie. It has taken me a while to shed off those parts of me that really weren’t me, to find my authentic hippie self. At times, I pulled off the band aid way to slow, due to my fears. What’s funny is that all of the fears that I had never came true, which happens to be true for nearly all of our fears. **What fears?**
I feel free. I feel at peace. I feel empowered. I recently did a poll, asking friends what the primary emotion came up for them when they thought of me. The winners? Peace and compassion. I’ll take that. It reflects what I get to feel most often in my life.
So, what advice do I give those people that are closet hippies? What if they don’t even realize they are? This first step is a list of ten signs that you may be a closet hippie. See if any of these resonate with you.
Signs you may be a closet hippie
- You’re a free spirit in a cage- You feel confined living the life you’re living now. Freedom. Peace. True happiness. Right now, they feel just out of your grasp because of the cage you’re hiding in. The cage is safe, it’s known, it’s comfortable, yet still uncomfortable. There’s really nothing ‘wrong’, but it’s not quite right yet.
2. You’re ‘playing the game’, but you don’t feel like you fit in- You have the wonderful family, the nice job, big house, nice cars (or you’re on your way to having those things), and yet, at times, you feel like you’re in The Truman Show. It all looks and feels pretty real, but is it?
3. You are an extremely different person at work and at home- It’s no secret to those closest to you that you’re really a hippie in disguise. To some degree or another, we all have different roles, and that’s okay. But for you, it’s almost like you’re a version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
4. You know you’re not the tye-died, VW bus driving type of hippie, but you’re not the suit-wearing stiff either- It’s easy for you to poke at the ‘extreme’ hippies that wear crystals, go to drum circles and attend Burning Man. That is NOT you. What’s really cool about being a hippie is that there are a million shades of gray. It’s not black and white. Your version of hippie is what you choose. My version has long hair, is a minimalist, and is a badass with a motorcycle. My version also loves his eight children like crazy, looks for opportunities to serve and support single mums and the homeless, and keeps one foot in the corporate world and one foot in the hippie world, but on his terms. What would your version of hippie look like?
5. You find pleasure in simple things, like walking barefoot in the grass (of course, when nobody is looking)- Over time, you have realized that the important things aren’t things, and that you can measure the success of your day by the seeds planted, not by the harvest.
6. You long for deeper conversations than those had around the water cooler- You tire easily from shallow conversations about last night’s TV series or the last sports game. When someone asks you “How are you?”, you want to tell them about how tough a project is that you’re working on, or how concerned you are about your daughter and drugs, stuff like that, instead of the standard ‘I’m fine’ answer. Also, when you ask somebody how they are, you want to get into the nitty gritty aspects of their reality.
7. You realize that there is something more to ‘the real you’ than your body, thoughts, emotions, and your experiences- I think this quote from the movie The Matrix sums it up best:
You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind — driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
While you realize that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with your world, it’s just not quite right. You’re not sure where to look or what to do to make it right, but there’s an itch that just can’t be scratched.
8. The silence is your friend, or at least getting friendlier- You used to keep yourself in sensory overload with emails, TV, radio, news or other noise to keep your mind occupied, so you didn’t have to be alone with yourself in that awkward silence, where you began to think about deep, meaningful things that kind of scared you. Lately, however, you’ve been dabbling in this internal journey into the recesses of your soul. You’ve been thinking about all the deep questions that may or may not have an answer right now, and that’s okay.
9. You’re not a conspiracy theorist, but you’re also not a pawn moving the corporate and government agendas forward- You see both of these extremes, and you know that you’re not in either one of these camps…. but… there may be some things that the conspiracy theorists say that feel like there may be a titch valid. Of course, you’re not ready to admit that to anyone.
10. You want to be unique…. just like everybody else- You feel like you’re about ready to let your hippie-freak-flag fly, but you’re not sure what that looks like. Growing up, we were taught how to conform, how to fit in, and how to play the ‘adult’ game. There was no ‘Hippie 101’ class in college. There was no ‘Introduction to Authenticity’ course taught.
This is where your journey begins. This is where you get to choose your version of hippie. There are no rules. What feels authentic to you?
To one degree or another, we all wear masks and play roles that are not authentically who we are. We have believed things all of our lives that really aren’t true. Are you ready to start asking the difficult questions, taking off the masks, and being a little more authentic? There may be a little more hippie in there than you actually realize. In any case, it’s worth the journey.
If you’d like to explore coming out of the hippie closet, and enjoy more peace, power and purpose, you can download my FREE ebook “A Practical Guide for the Closet Hippie” and see if it’s time for your journey to begin.