Author – Science, Environment, Travel, Children's Books
No, I did not join a band. I’m not even following one around. Yet. I took an unplanned two weeks off due to illness, vacation, kid’s spring break, March Madness, Candy Crush Saga, mild quarter-life crisis, and lethargy.
But I’m back!
Ya know, some people snatch their kids out of public schools and plop them into Airstreams to be homeschooled on the road. They travel from place to place neglecting to wash their hair. They eat vegan, raw even, perhaps in part because they don’t have a reliable way to cook anything. Oooh and did you know they can even get little power-generating windmills for their RVs that telescope up, Up, UP to power CDs of Buddhist chants and yoga DVDs? They leave but the smallest trace of a footprint upon the landscape they explore and they witness firsthand the incredible diversity and beauty this country has to offer.
Now what the HELL is wrong with THAT? Where do I sign up!?!
Sometimes I get into a mood where I’m just very nearly ready to flake out. Usually in the spring. Usually after coming home from vacation. Usually when the vacation was somewhere in a high desert where the pretty towns overflow with creativity, free spirits and new ideas. Sometimes seeing how others live is dangerous because you start to reevaluate your own priorities and environment.
So I did. I have. And it’s all good. Now that my quarterly freak-out is subsiding, I can reaffirm my commitment to living the huppie life. “Katie, what is a huppie?” you ask. It’s a term I made it up when we moved to East Lawrence. Or, as the City Commission is rumored to call it, the LCZ (Liberal Containment Zone). Well, I thought I made it up when I first published this post… I have since learned that it’s a real term! Huppie per Urban Dictionary My own interpretation is that a huppie is a yuppie that tries to be a hippie OR a hippie trying to be a yuppie. It’s when you “simplify” and “minimalize” with a $32,000 hybrid midsize and $50,000 worth of solar panels. It’s when you eat tofu for lunch and McDonalds for dinner. It’s when your child takes yoga on someone’s lawn on Saturday and barrels across town to gymnastics in a $40 leotard on Wednesday, slamming fruit snacks en route.
The world of the huppie is one of conscious, well-intended efforts to expose yourself and your children to the best life has to offer. You don’t want your kid to miss out on presweetened cereal and Disneyland. But you want them to rise up into the world with good health, compassion, an open mind, a clean soul… can’t we have it all? Well, I think we can. I think we will. But I think one world will sometimes pull harder than the other. So the goal must be for me and my family to find comfort with who we are. We should be able to muscle through labels believing with confidence that we are finding a logical balance rather than betraying any one ideal.
When tempted to attend some conference to further my career, take steps to network or enroll in extra classes, I know myself well enough to rein it in and resist more money and fancier titles. I am already absolutely as far into this job as I ever want to be. I have all the responsibility I want, probably more. Moreover, if I were to climb any higher in the world of Healthcare Informatics, I know I would encounter corporate and political influences that I would find abhorrent. Naw, I’m good where I’m at. No thanks, GE, thanks a lot. I need to funnel my competitive nature and work ethic into writing. I need to put energy into securing work that does not insult my soul, that challenges and makes a difference.
On the flip side, this quality of life to which I have become accustom cannot be maintained with Mr. Bieker’s salary alone. I cannot quit my job, wax up some dreads and follow music festivals all over the country. Not yet at least. When tempted to sell it all, join one of our lovely local communes or disappear into the mountains, I am able to recall fairly quickly that my job is entirely tolerable most days, I love having friends and family near, and I love this bustling, progressive community. I love this house. It is a place of refuge. The kind of old home that is a keeper, an heirloom, a treasure. I see the little details and love to imagine what they will mean to our children as they reminisce about the antique space they were raised in. I love our car… I mean, really, let’s be honest, the Prius-V is tight. And… okay, here we go… I love McDonalds, Kohls, Dunkin Donuts, Ziplock bags, petroleum-based shampoos and FD&C Red 3 (it makes food purdy).
I will never be a yuppie, dammit. But, alas, despite a few tears, fears and meditations during the past couple of weeks, I’ll never be a hippie either. But we’re not stuck. We’re willingly planted on the dividing line and it will be interesting to see what grows. The progress of our barefoot, Target-clothed, dirty-haired, Dairy Queen fed, folk song singing huppie children will be the indicator of the viability of this lifestyle. Keep reading and I’ll report back with our findings.