Does a Sense of Invulnerability Hurt the Young? Or Help them?
Booze and Immortal Unkillable Adrenalized Youth
Proof of Life -
I remember when Billy Humphries stuck his head in a wall in a rented party house in Lubbock, Texas in 1966, because he was wasted and it was his last day before going to Vietnam. I remember thinking, "Well that's why he's enlisting, he doesn't think he can get killed. Why, he doesn't even think a vertical 2x4 stud hidden in the wall could knock him out. It didn't and he kept drinking. Proof of Life in the young is that they think they are immortal and unkillable. A deep abiding feeling of invulnerability abides in youthful human DNA and programmed brain activity. It is so deeply imbedded in us, it is awesome.
Its why we are willing to fight. The young are willing to fight. Its why we are exploding with hormones while we are partying and then have babies. So we can manage babies, while we are struggling and fighting and staying up late. The Homo Sapien is a partier, fighter, chance taker, survivor, trouble making, energy burning fireball.
Many of us went through our 20's in a blur - a vague recollection of fleshy, music soaked, booze-laced memories that are tied together with those work days on stimulants that all just blend in a video stream of burnt synaptic images.
And its the Girls too! -
They say its high testosterone in women that drives the sex animus in them too. Its testosterone in EVERYBODY. Especially in their 20's. This human characteristic got preserved over the ages, because the people with less of this drive tended to not replicate themselves, so we ended up being an entire species of "partyers in our 20's".
Everyone knows that if women are the reason the world is. They create the world and then become its virtue. Men are stumbling around figuring out how to impress and who will have them. And then by the time this tornadic life phase goes into the "settlin' down" period, we are both - men and women - spent and ready to live the rest of this thing called "life".
"Is that all there is?" -
The 20's have this way of hypnotizing you and deadening you and keeping you excited and mesmerizing you and then letting you completely down. An old Peggy Lee song said "Is that all there is? If that's all there is then lets keep dancing."
The reason we are worn out at the end of our 20's is because we all suffer from one degree or another of pure old "adrenal exhaustion". If we didn't stop our activities, we would die at 40. And actually, in older days of hard suffering we did. That's probably why we have this party til you die way of programming, because in days of yore, a lot of grog and stolen sin were extreme moments in very tough lives. But also, there is the boredom and tedium and over and over again quality that everyone knows they will face as the years go on.
John Adams at the end of his life complained about his "Ennui" - a cool French word for flat out bored and unstimulated. A sense of dull sameness that is sometimes killing. And so, there are probably lots of interesting reasons why we all feel IMMORTAL AND UNKILLABLE in our 20's.
But its still dangerous! -
I used to tell my kids: "If you fall into the hands of the law, be polite, say "yes sir" and do not get belligerant. Its when you fall into the hands of the law and act like a jerk that many peoples' charges double and treble." Life is like that in your 20's in general. The MULTIPLICATION OF TROUBLE, the possibility of pain going nuclear is a match stick strike away when you are in your 20's.
Simple Advice -
"Dont drink between Sunday night and Thursday night". Think about this, you can only get so depleted if you keep this rule. "Always start the night out with a lot in your belly". I spent my 20's starving to death so I could keep a super buzz on, one guy told me. Starting out any night with a full meal can't hurt. "If you're a fighter, pal around with non-fighters." Look, you know you are going to be a complete jerk past a certain level of indulgence. Keep a cool friend nearby and give them instructions about how to handle you when you get a certain look in yoiur eye. "When you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding, tell yourself you could die!" You won't probably. Its just the booze kicking your heart into high gear at 4AM, but let it scare you. You will be fine. The human race keeps going through this all the time, but you need to think about you as an individual. You could still be an individual statistic.
You Could Be The One -
Even though our brain makes it uncontemplatable, stats say: -- You could be killed on the highway. -- You could suffer an injury in a fight. -- You could get a life changing DUI. -- You could accidentally commit a worse crime. -- You could ruin friendships for the rest of your life. -- You could hurt your family for the rest of your life. -- You could get a bad STD. -- You could get AIDS. -- You could just feel bad about your past. -- You could end up in a different life position because of time served, enemies made, friends lost, lovers leaving, etc. etc. etc.
From a grandfather with four grown kids and 6 grandchildren who was once just a crazy guy in his 20's. "Its wonderful to have an adrenal gland and an endless sense of youth, but remember both of these are expendable."
In Near Contradiction to these Sentiments, a Researcher Takes a New Look
Patrick Hill has concluded that “(A) sense of invulnerability may in fact benefit adolescents, because it promotes positive coping and adjustment during the travail of ego and identity formation … and may in fact be adaptive whenever one encounters a turbulent life transition,” the researcher wrote.
“Psychological invulnerability can be a very protective factor with respect to bolstering one’s self-esteem, helping out with coping during the transition from adolescence into adulthood and helping make the kinds of important life decisions that people without an inflated sense of self may have difficulty doing at times,” Hill said.
“As we’re starting to separate from our parents and make decisions on our own, the separation/individuation process can be a very arduous task that often leads to maladaptive outcomes. You start making decisions on your own, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. And some individuals may get hung up on the fact that they’re making so many mistakes and may feel less adept in the future. They may get depressed or start to doubt who they are.”
The researchers suggest that rather than trying to deter adolescents from feeling invulnerable altogether, interventions should attempt to imbue a sense of psychological invulnerability and promote strong self-worth to help children be less susceptible to their peers’ influence.
Despite stereotypes, folk psychology and the suspicions of some exasperated parents, a sense of invulnerability is not universal among youth. Most teens don’t consider themselves impervious to risks or consequences, “in part, discounting beliefs that adolescents as a whole are reckless,” the researchers wrote.
When one realizes that feelings of invulnerability are indeed not universal to all youth, and that regardless of age, a feeling of invulnerability and high risking taking varies among all individuals, perhaps it is best to recommend a SELF TEST that leads to greater consciousness. Perhaps we all just need to ponder our coping skills.