It was a cocktail of sex, confusion and ideas served with a slice of naiveté and a over-confidence. I thought I had everything sussed. You see I was part of the generation that was brought up in one of the biggest booms in economic history. The education system had been redesigned so all negative feedback was eliminated and the models of parenting that existed discouraged doing anything that might undermine that ephemeral elixir, self-esteem. The upshot of this was my generation (and yours too) were raised to believed the sun shone out of their ass.
There is an inherent trait of narcissism in most of us and it is probably one of the more common neuroses in my peer group. 50 years ago the prevailing neuroses might have been up-tightness, not today.
Human culture would not be able to survive if its members all thought they were God’s gift… the consequences for society would be dire. So our culture has evolved ways of dealing with the narcissism of the young and can be summed up in the proverb, “pride comes before a fall”.
There are some archetypal roles in society specifically designed to pop the inflated egos of the young. I remember a handsome business women belittling my ill-deserved swagger in a job interview. The older members of society often take on the role of bringing the young down a peg or two – it is one of the consolations of aging (I say at the ripe old age of 27).
Sometimes life itself seems to have at you if get too big for your boots. Unless you are big enough for your boots and you are genuinely brilliant but that still does not make you immune. The humbling effects of illness and old age will affect us all at some point.
So, while I look back on those days of inhibited libertinage I do so fondly but with no desire to re-live my college experience. My comparable maturity as compared to the person I was then is too hard won a gift to give up.