You only live once, a phrase and sentiment that I didn’t believe to be new at the time, but when Drake (okay, I do like a bit of Drake) created an acronym for it, it felt genius and familiar, warranting an obsession by millennials and social media users.
I remember the first time I heard YOLO like it was yesterday. “The Motto” by Drake came out the fall of my freshman year, just in time to make an appearance at every frat party as they were in full swing by that point. I was walking with a friend down the perfectly manicured sidewalks of Furman and she used the term YOLO. She explained it and its origins, and so it began, the age of YOLO. It was a motto that I believed would live forever. That was in 2011. In my heart of hearts, I think it was loved for a year, displeasing for another, and hated the next.
So here’s my argument for why we should resurrect YOLO. Unlike many other popular acronyms or tags at the moment, YOLO at least embodies a sentiment, something that I can get behind as a non-social media lover (maybe a post in the future about my complicated relationship with social media?). I googled the most popular hashtags of the moment and most either had to do with the way someone’s photo looked #cute #selfie #girl #pretty #ootd #model #nofilter, or they had to do with food #food (really, internet?) #foodporn #healthy #yummy #instafood. I’m not sure if this is me being overly sensitive to hashtags, which are basically just words after the artist formerly known as the pound sign, or if I’m just at a time when I wish YOLO was still alive because I need a bit more YOLO in my life. I’m not doubting that there are other people out there besides me that secretly use YOLO and still want it to live on, but the last few times I’ve said YOLO out loud, my friends looked at me like I had two heads, confirming I should stop trying to make YOLO happen again.
This made me sad on many accounts (RIP “The Motto”, but Drake lives on with Passionfruit so I’m satisfied), but the main one is that I really think we could all use a bit of YOLO in our lives. This may come off as a satirical piece, because it partially is, but I’m also being somewhat serious. You only live once is something I’m trying to remind myself right now. It’s so easy to get swept up in a routine, as I’ve discussed in my last post, and forget that life should be enjoyed. Sure, we should go to school or work and try our best. I’m not saying to neglect all responsibilities and say YOLO, but I’m not saying to not do that either. It’s a tricky balance this life business. We’re supposed to be functional members of society, but then to what point have we functioned enough and can decide to act spontaneously and do the things that make us happy?
Sometimes when I feel like life is just passing by and I need to make a change, I stop and think what if I found out I had a terminal illness and I only had a year to live. This may seem like a very morbid thought, but just go with me a second. Would I still be doing what I’m doing now? Or would I immediately change paths and go after something else for that year that would make me happier in my time left? While this sounds depressing, and I don’t think it’s healthy to ask what if all the time, it does help me to be honest with my goals and myself. This exercise makes me realize you only live once.
So even if my real life friends find it embarrassing or dated that I’m still using YOLO, I like it. I like shouting that life is short so we need to make the most of it, we need to not lazily waste it away, we need to do what makes us happy, and any other clichés that you can come up with.
If you only had a year left, what would you do differently? You only live once.
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