Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. Remember the Sixties?
After turning 60 I began to experience Déjà vu on a regular basis. That “ we have all been here before” feeling visited me repeatedly. Finally it all became clear. I had been here before….in the 1960s. What a rush. It was like reconnecting with an old friend.
If you’re 60, you may recall the 1960s, depending on how many mind-altering experiences you had then. Some say if you can remember the 60s, you weren’t actually there. Well, I was actually there and I can remember. That’s how I came to realize how much hasn’t changed.
My 60s have a lot in common with the Sixties. Here are just a few:
- Sex. In the Sixties, “the pill” was introduced and it became a lot easier to have sex without worrying about pregnancy. In our 60s, some still use a pill to make it easier to have sex but we’re still not worried about pregnancy.
- Drugs. Marijuana returns! In the Sixties some of us indulged in a bit of recreational herb. Or as my friend Ronnie’s mother lamented in 1969, “How do I know what you’re doing? You might be taking grass or pot or marijuana, or all three!” In our 60s, some of us are partaking still or again or maybe even for the first time. Okay, perhaps it’s not so much recreational as medicinal. Perhaps we have a prescription for it. Perhaps it’s now obtained legally but still, the herb hasn’t changed much. Then again maybe it has. Do you know pot can now be ordered off a menu? Got a headache? There’s a pot to make it disappear. Dislike that paranoid feeling? This herb will ease you into tomorrow. Want a giddy high or maybe a mellower buzz is more to your liking? There’s a bud for you.
- Rock and Roll. In the Sixties we enjoyed watching Mick Jagger move like… well like Jagger. In our 60s we can still enjoy watching Jagger move (Once we get over the shock of the fact that Jagger is in his 70s!). And, some of us can still move like… well almost like Jagger. In the Sixties we watched as the Beatles embraced meditation and created music to match their newfound enlightenment. In our 60s we’re listening to New Age music while we’re meditating and doing yoga and we’re finding our own way to enlightenment. But from time to time, we still enjoy a good protest song.
- Shoes. In the Sixties, people started wearing sandals more than they had previously. I remember my mother stating strong objections to sandals, as if they were a gateway fashion leading to total anarchy. I pointed out that Jesus wore sandals and I believe she said, “When you’re Jesus, you can wear them too.” But sandals were cool, literally and figuratively. They made a style statement and a lifestyle statement, proving the wearer to be a free spirit. In our 60s, we’re still wearing sandals. But now they’re probably Birkenstocks and we wear them not so much to make a statement about our freedom as to make a statement about the joy of just being comfortable.
- Peace. In the Sixties people marched to protest fighting unwinnable wars. We wanted to convince our parents and others of their generation. In our 60s, many still rage against that machine but now we do it by signing online petitions and donating to causes that match our peacenik sensibilities. We still want to teach people of another generation to give peace a chance but now they’re our grandchildren.
- Ageism. In the Sixties we were afraid we couldn’t trust anyone over 30. I was morose when my beloved Bob Dylan turned 30 and I thought I’d have to find another musical genius to listen to obsessively. In our 60s, we wonder how we ever listened to Dylan obsessively and know for certain we can’t take seriously anyone under the age of 30. When I say to a young person, “I have shoes older than you are,” I’m not even joking.
- Giving a damn. In the Sixties we all cared about each other. So much so, we thought we could actually change the world so we marched, we volunteered, we sang, we studied, we voted, and we placed flowers in our hair to show our allegiance to the world. In our 60s, we still participate. We may not be trying to change the world anymore but we will make an impact. And a spectacular orchid always looks good in the hair… even when the hair is silver.
What did you love most about the Sixties?