Y.O.L.O. – You Only Live Once

Y.O.L.O. – You Only Live Once

The YOLO phrase has definitely made a lasting impact in our culture.  I first heard about YOLO probably back in 2012.  As an alumni advisor to my Fraternity chapter I would see the college youth often enough that I catch a lot of slang and idiomatic expressions.  I absolutely love it.  Growing up and moving up through high school and the college, you’re not only immersed in the youth culture, but you’re contributing to it and helping it evolve. So it’s great to see the next generation do the same – generate new words, new fashion.  They are the ones that also taught me what twerking was, but that’s another story.

Anyway, once I learned what YOLO meant, I started seeing it everywhere.  I don’t #subscribe to twitter (yet), but I saw online posts taken from twitter, instagram, and other social media.  The common motif that surrounds all of these posts about Only Living Once is living hard and living fast.  I would see pictures of insane stunts and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone living a life of burning their candle from both ends, but sometimes it can be dangerous?

Spoiler: This post isn’t about what the young generation is doing wrong (or right) but what I’m doing wrong (and definitely not right).

Before I keep going with this train, let me divert it for just a moment.  Have you ever heard the phrase “drive it like you stole it”?  When I first heard that line, I thought they meant drive it slowly and carefully so as not to attract unwanted attention, from, lets say, a cop.  Obviously to you (not to me) it means drive it fast and maybe recklessly.  I was even on a delayed flight where the pilot came on and said “since we’re delayed…we’ll be flying it like we stole it”, presumably to make up lost time.  Well, we made up that lost time and then some, waiting on the tarmac for a gate to open up.

So, when I first heard the explanation of YOLO, my first conclusion was: ah, you only live Once, so you should invest in your future!  Put money away for savings, Roth IRA, 529’s if you have kids, reward your future self with hard work, etc.  It would seem like I was pre-wired for conservatism.  Great.  Awesome.  Just what I wanted: be a safe and cautious actor on this stage – not to sound overly and overtly poetic.

I should put a “/s” in there too to identify my sarcasm – yet another thing I had to learn online.


Be like this guy – get yourself on a monetary note

But it was #YOLO that made me realize that I’ve been living too lightly on the experience side.  It made me snap out of the zombie routine of eat, sleep, work, repeat.  I need to learn some new cooking techniques, I need to do more at my job and grow my career, and I need to repeat, moving upwards and onwards, (and I need to improve sleep too /s).  “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

I’ll finish by leaving with a statement my boss once made, “You can’t take it with you”, it meaning money, and you meaning me.  But this statement can apply to you too!  If you save all your life like a hoarder and pass before your time, you’ll never enjoy all the saving you’ve earned.  On the other hand, you need something for your dotage or else you’ll have nothing.  Sounds like a good balance of “carpe diem” and sagacity.

You only live once.  Twice if you’re lucky.