I have serious issues with the in-vogue motto “You only live once,” or, as Drake says, “YOLO.”
It’s all well and good to enjoy your life, create experiences and pursue your dreams. Because life is so short, no one should waste it on things–and people–they don’t care about.
My problem is with the notion that YOLO is a license to tat your entire body (mucous membranes included), drink Ciroc with your Wheaties, booty-call your best friend’s boyfriend, let your daughter wear shorts on an 18-degree day, and snort packets of Splenda.
The fact is that, yes, while we do only live once, our actions have consequences that we’ll reap in this lifetime. I, for example, like to talk on the phone all night. You only live once, right? But my body pays for those consecutive late-night gabs. And that’s only a teeny-tiny example.
Any gossip blog offers myriad images of the “live fast, die young” mentality. Almost every day Rihanna gets a new tattoo, another ZZ-list celeb gets cement in the hind parts, and a singer throws 5,000 dollar bills on a stripper while throwing back Henny. But no matter how much money, popularity, or talent any of us has, a life lived too far on the edge can be fatal.
One of the most beloved singers ever, Whitney Houston, is an unfortunate example of this fact.
Of course, we should extract and inject as much happiness, peace, energy, joy, excitement, and purpose from and into life as possible. We should be ourselves unapologetically. We should chase our lifelong dreams even when others think we’re better off staying home.
We should not, however, think that we can do what we want without consequences because we’re young. Or sexy. Or rich. Or cool. It’s not cool to hurt others or eat, drink, smoke, and party to excess and stamp YOLO on the deal.
Though we only live once, we–hopefully–will have to live with our choices many more days. We’re free to “do us,” but we’d all be better off making choices we won’t someday regret.