Now that I’m 40 and a parent, and I have had too much time alone on the road lately to think about such things, I have come to the realization that I am the oxymoron known as an aging hipster. Because, if you are 40, can you really be hip?
As for my hipsterhood, I’ll have to explain so you can get an accurate picture of me. I was never the popular girl or the party girl, but I do know in the past I’ve fancied myself hip in the sense portrayed in the hilarious blog “Stuff White People Like.” I’ve got super-short spiky red (dyed of course, not natural) hair, wear chunky black-rimmed glasses, and my weekend wardrobe is a t-shirt (often a v.v. cool Yo Gabba Gabba! concert shirt), cardigan, and black Chucks. Yep– total hipster uniform. Love hipster music, too– the only Sirius XM station I listen to is The Spectrum, the total hipster hangout. I carry a loud Vera Bradley quilted bag as a briefcase, because you know, a regular leather one would look too much like I’m bending to the man. So, yep, I’d fit right in in hipster hangouts like Seattle or Asheville, NC.
Now I don’t have any illusions that I’m unique or anything like that. I may be iconoclastic compared to my coworkers in the legal profession, but let’s fact it– I’m just conforming to another set of societal norms. It’s just that these fit me. Different personas fit different people, and this has always worked for me. It was just a side benefit that it was deemed “hip.” 😉
The realization came to me last week. Like I said, I had too much time on the road, which is lethal for me. I engage in way too much navel-gazing when driving through open spaces. And it hit me. Can a 40 year old ever be hip? Do I have to change my persona away from the hipster? Do I look pathetic with my cropped spiky hair? It is pitiful that my favorite band is Mumford and Sons, and should I just listen to the 80s station? Do I need to make myself more, for lack of a better description, middle aged?
The good thing is about the drive time is it gave me some time to sort all this out. What I’ve concluded is that I’ve not aged out of hipsterhood– hipsterhood has aged out of being hip. This really is who I am. I’m comfy, and though I know I am a laughable stereotype I haven’t chosen this to conform to the hipster masses. But what hit me is that when 20- and 30-somethings are looking to be hip, though, they aren’t emulating what I and my generation chose. They have found and will find another way to be hip. So, what 40-something hipsters are doing really isn’t hip anymore anyway.
I don’t know what is hip nowadays anyway (true to my age), but maybe I’m ok. Maybe my aging hipsterhood is appropriate after all. It just shows me for what I am– a 40-year old just being myself. Just like the entire population of Asheville, NC.
And to leave you with a nugget of 40-something hipsterhood, here’s my current hipster song fave, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” by Jerry Douglas and Mumford and Sons: