Why do teenagers think they are invincible? Adults ask with a sly smile smeared across their lips and eyes glass – condescending. As if dauntlessness was the worst thing in the world, as if life has no time for courage or spontaneity or risk-takers or adventurers.
Their invincibility lies in the millions of minutes of their life that are ready to be grasped. It lies in the possibilities that drift around them, university counselling sessions and internet searches that leave the whole world up to be explored, discovered. It lies in the limits that wait to be pushed, the rules that beg to be broken. There exists no fear of failure, no echoing voice inside their heads telling them they’ll lose. Just do it, their voice says.
Teenagers are young, testing alcohol flavours over their tongue, trying to wrap their heads around what it means to grow up. Doing things they know they shouldn’t just for that second of exhilarating thrill. It isn’t that they’re unaware of death; it’s that they’re not afraid of it. Because racing on empty, foreign roads at undeterminable speeds with the roof down and the midnight wind tearing apart the strands of your limp brown hair gives a sense of freedom like no other. It tickles your bones, spills through your veins. That feeling that you belong to nobody, that you yourself have every ounce of control. That’s enough to live for.
And that feeling is what makes us so ready to take a risk, jump at the chance to do something that makes our stomach whirl and skin tingle, something that makes our heart race as fast as our feet running away from trouble, or running right into it. And either way, it becomes an experience. Something we’ll claim to remember forever. Until the next weekend, that is.