Like most Generation X ers, I probably enjoyed my youth a bit too much. We were the generation of raves - spiritual parties that were organic, uncommericalized, and cultivated community and comradeship. Most importantly, they were fun and provided a brief moment in time to liberate ourselves from the confines of society.
Many Gen Xers can recall more than one night of being covered in absurd amounts of glitter and sweat, watching the sun rise in some field or deserted location, with a group of close friends. The feeling of love and connection with the universe that would overcome us is indescribable. We felt like a tribe and everything highlighted our desire to become a collective, collaborative, primitive whole - or rather - one single, enlightened, pulsating organism of diversity.
The music was tribal. The outfits were tribal. And we acted tribal.
Our priorities were exactly as follows: dance (I mean hardcore, all out dancing), spiritual connection with the gods through mental trips (many times induced through drugs), physical and emotional affection towards our "family" of spiritual brothers and sisters (the security people felt is comparable to being in a small village)..... And, of course, we can't forget the outfits - crazy combinations of color, patterns, and shiny make up, complimented by glow sticks, lollypops, and lots of water.
We believed in pronia, many of us identified ourselves as Zippies, and we all practiced Technoshamanism. Acid House started it all, Robert Miles made us cry when he released Children, Enigma made the music mainstream, and women wore comfortable shoes. London and Chicago were the meccas, but New York and Ibiza were more fabulous. We were looking for answers, spiritual purity, and alien encounters, and we found them all. We were starting a spiritual revolution, breaking the barriers, and trying to bring the world back to zero....back to our primitive, human roots...and in many ways we accomplsihed just that.
Raves eventually changed (think South Beach). From places of acceptance, freedom and spiritual growth, they became places to simply get "messed up "and show off designer duds. Even the drugs changed - they got more dangerous and less potent. Eventually, the rave party metamorphisized in simply being another club experience, with meat market tendencies and all. (And women reverted back to wearing torturous foot wear)
Now at 34, the only thing I can do is remember and feel grateful for those experience and memories, holding on to them stronger than ever: To the ravers of the past and the ravers of the future, may the light continue to shine on you, and may you continue shaping the world with love.
If your an old school raver, I would love it if you shared your memories in the comment section below - I would love to make a collection of diverse memories to post for memory sake. (remember Gen Xers, we are getting old!!)