My generation—the Millennial generation—has been given many labels. We are tech-savvy, self-centered, educated, entitled . . . the list goes on. But perhaps most associated with my peers and me is not a word, but an image—a lanky, unsmiling, young adult wearing thick-rimmed glasses and holding a mason jar of organic loose leaf tea: the hipster. The generation before us was characterized by go-getting and career-motivated yuppies. But my generation is characterized by the hipster who, along with buying organic food, wearing thrift shop clothes, and listening to indie music, is defined by not having a real career path at all. Some would say that my generation is carelessly killing the American dream. But I believe that at the root of the hipster persona, beneath the organic and the vintage, is a desire to live in a way that makes the world better—a desire to change things for good.
Birth of a Hipster
If we use this definition, I was a hipster before I knew what the word meant (before it was cool, if you will). As a senior in high school, I volunteered at an all–fair trade store, had two pairs of TOMS shoes, and prided myself on being our family’s recycling police. (On my careful watch, many envelopes and empty yogurt cups were rescued from a bleak landfill fate.) I rejected a conventional career for dreams of going to a far corner of the world and making a difference. I knew in my head that God uses businesspeople, teachers, writers, and other professional men and women for his kingdom, but in my heart I believed that those who loved God most would take the big risks, go the distance, and do something huge—like eradicate human trafficking. When I packed up to go to a Christian private college, I carried all of my dreams with me, confident that—no matter what was printed on my diploma— I would graduate to make a difference.1