Urban Dictionary Defines “You only Live once (YOLO)” as a stupid motto that countless teenagers live by, because it gives them the excuse to be promiscuous, commit crimes, drink underage, do drugs and deny responsibility for their actions.
Everywhere I go these days I keep hearing about this “YOLO Revolution” that is taking place among young people today. “You Only Live Once” is being used as a mantra among teens and young adults in an effort to justify what can sometimes be thought of as risky behaviors. Whether you are contemplating engaging in unprotected sex, or in an irresponsible night filled with binge drinking, young people are cheering one another on with words of “YOLO” encouragement. Has this expression that was once meant to spark ones courage now being taken way out of context?
When I think of the expression “You only live once” I always thought people used these words to help them make sometimes difficult or challenging decisions in their lives. I recall repeating these very words to myself as a young girl when I was faced with a very traumatic experience. A family member had been unjustly taken from me and I yearned for a sense of control. The situation had a tremendous impact on my life and the way in which I was moving forward. I had begun to allow what others had done to impact the course of my life. I lost interest in the majority of my goals and began to question the purpose of it all. Why work so hard all your life to have it one day ripped from your grasp? This negative way of thinking had spiraled me into a pretty deep depression. I was angry, resentful and wanted answers as to why this all had to happen. A few months went by, and I began to notice the damaging effects my thoughts were having on my life. I couldn’t recognize the person I saw in the mirror. Once full of ambition and an endless amount of passion for life, I now saw a negative thinking bitter young woman. I didn’t like the person I had become and realized that I had done all of this to myself. I had allowed the events that had occurred to take control of my life. When I sought guidance from a loved one on the matter I’ll never forget the words that helped to bring me back. I was told that the decision to let the people who had done my family wrong affect my life was mine and mine alone. That by doing this I continued to let those people win. This person then said you only have one chance at life. Instead of sabotaging my future I needed to forge ahead on the original course I had plotted for myself. I need to take back the power and continue to be the sole author of my story. People will come in and out of your life with both good and bad intentions. The way in which you respond to these individuals helps to shape the course of your life. Till this day ill never forget these words and I continue to live by them today. If you only live once then I plan on making this time I have matter.
“You only live once” is not an expression that should be used as a shield that excuses irresponsible or self-destructive behavior. It should be used as an expression that empowers you to make important life decisions that will mold and push you forward. Seizing the day is only good if what you are engaging in will bring about growth, enlightenment, or positive change. This concept can never replace a person accepting personal responsibility for their actions. Especially if what you are choosing to engage in is ultimately a form of self sabotage.
I can only hope that this expressions current definition is just a passing fad. Our time is limited and therefore should be used wisely. Life wouldn’t be much if it were not filled with opportunities to make significant life changing decisions. One can only hope that todays young people have enough support and guidance around them to learn early on that the decisions they make today whether large or small will shape their tomorrow’s. -Ambition In The City
This post is dedicated to my mom. I am always amazed by your strength and determination. We have experienced some very tough moments in life but you always help me to persevere. I love you. Young people today need more mothers like you.