The YOLO challenge

Differentiating your own decisions versus the pressure of a motto


This term, meaning “you only live once,” has been spit out, retweeted, and even printed on shirts lately. But it’s only a scapegoat.

All around me, I’ve been watching people getting sucked into its web. YOLO this, YOLO that—as if that simple word is justification for everything. While in reality, people are only playing along to reassure themselves that they can do whatever they’re about to do. Supply that extra boost of confidence. And that is not where the problem stands; it’s the decisions that YOLO leads to.  

Yes, it’s true that you only live once. That is, unless your personal beliefs advise you otherwise. But sugarcoating decisions with the motto YOLO parallels with a common theme of regret.

Now, we all make mistakes. And in the end, I truly believe everything happens for a reason. The hard times do make us stronger, and maybe even hit you with that light bulb you’ve been missing. This all seems so generic, and borderline boring. So yes, I’ll be honest here, and admit that I’m referring to myself. No hypothetical friend will be involved in this article. 

YOLO has recently finagled its way into my vocabulary. (Even altered into similar words such as YOPO, as avid Glenbrook Confidential readers may recognize.) But instead of having this word help me live life to the fullest, I feel like its swerving it in unwanted directions.

I made a pact, with myself (is that weird?), that these last few months in Northbrook, with these friends, with these peers, would be ones to remember. I’m determined to simply enjoy the little things; random bike rides and cuddled up heart to hearts on my friends’ back porches. The smell of bonfire lingering on my clothes, and further, the bold stench transferred into my room. Boy, that smell is one tough one to rid of. But you get the gist. Enjoy, that’s it.

But as I reflect, YOLO’s message has dropped me into more negative situations than one may desire. It’s as if these four letters are taking over my personality, somehow hijacking me from inside. My summer bucket list in filled with uplifting ideas and adventures, no where does it advise that I hurt the ones I love the most. Yet in the YOLO state of mind, that common theme occurs.

It’s time to take control of our own lives. YOLO should not suddenly lead you into a situation that you would not have been in before—those four letters cannot be that powerful. You can take them. The decisions you make should be for you, not simply in the mind frame that you may never get this opportunity again. Want to ride the scariest roller coaster? Do it. Don’t YOLO it though. Because although we may only live once, that reason alone is no justification for anything. Think you’re going to see your breakfast again, hyperventilate, and cry for a week straight after riding that roller coaster? Well, uh, DON’T DO IT. 

In reality, YOLO is just another bully. And we don’t like bullies very much, do we? We stand up to them, just like we need to stand up to this crazed obsession. Do what you want to do, do what makes you happy, and never let a few letters alter your perception, morals or values. Love and appreciate those around you, because YOLO isn’t your support system, but those around you are.   

If the term YOLO is correct, don't we want to make that life the longest, most fullfilling life yet? No regrets, but rather acheivement. And those will happen due to your own decisions. What you choose to do, and how you choose to fulfill your life. No need for the peer pressure of YOLO, because your life in is your own hands.

bonnie hanna June 11, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Brit - you are one of the most amazing people we are fortunate to know - you are still and will continue to be a person I would want lyndsey to emulate - life is all about roadblocks and pushing through - you will go far and do big things - keep writing and inspiring - love you xoxo


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