What is a Trustafarian?
A number of children born into extremely wealthy families have access to special accounts known as trust funds. These so-called "trust fund babies" often lead a privileged and extravagant lifestyle, with or without the benefits of a higher education or gainful employment. A few even drop out of regular society in order to pursue a more bohemian or counterculture way of life, drifting from house to house, following cult rock bands, and indulging in recreational drugs such as marijuana. This casual use of marijuana and adoption of a free-spirited, Rastafarian-inspired lifestyle has inspired a new description, trustafarian.
A trustafarian often wears his or her hair in dreadlocks or other natural styles. Although able to purchase fashionable designer clothing, a trustafarian prefers to wear thrift store clothes, inexpensive t-shirts, worn jeans and other hippie or bohemian accessories. Many trustafarians studiously avoid fashion trends or expensive jewelry in order to maintain their low maintenance hippie or slacker image.
While many young people would envy a lifestyle without the pressures of work or financial support, a trustafarian may become bored with his or her role as the son or daughter of a wealthy industrialist or celebrity. This is why a number of trust fund recipients decide to rebel against the trappings of materialism and become slackers or social dropouts instead. A trustafarian knows he or she will never actually run out of money, so adopting a more hedonistic or Bohemian lifestyle for a short period of time would be relatively risk-free.
A trustafarian has the means to pursue activities many of his or her peers could not afford to do on their limited budgets and time restraints. Following a popular band around the country for an entire summer tour would not be problematic for a trustafarian. Attending counterculture events such as Burning Man would only be a matter of buying tickets or arranging for transportation. A trustafarian may offer to pay the expenses of his or her friends to join him or her on the road.
Perhaps the most famous prototype for the modern trustafarian would be the late country-rock singer/songwriter Gram Parsons. Parsons was one of the heirs to a large citrus plantation in Florida, and had access to a generous trust fund. Instead of living the pampered life of a rich white trust fund baby, however, Parsons chose to pursue a music career while living in Los Angeles. He preferred to live as a struggling musician, and very few of his friends actually knew he came from a wealthy family.
The term trustafarian is often applied to a trust fund baby or other privileged white person who deliberately affects the lifestyle of a true hippie or Rastafarian. A trustafarian who uses his or her wealth in order to finance a self-indulgent, drug-fueled slacker lifestyle is often dismissed by others as a poser or spoiled rich kid. A trustafarian may be in a position to experiment with a slacker or bohemian way of life for a short time, but eventually the price of living such a dangerous lifestyle can prove very high indeed.
Upon realizing that trustafarians are born of wealthy families, less fortunate peers and acquaintances may resent the former trust fund baby. For those who are raised with money, there is often a complete inability to understand why anyone who is born wealthy would deliberately choose to live without money and face the struggles of the underprivileged.
In modern society, trustafarians often begin their transition from pampered to bohemian while in college. Perhaps the social diversity of college campuses is the original inspiration to shirk a priviliged existence.
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