Once upon a time, before Drake’s The Motto came along, YOLO wasn’t really part of the everyday vernacular. Whether people use it ironically (which I’ve been guilty of every so often) or legitimately using it as a guiding principle in life, YOLO just annoys me.
For one, when people use YOLO all the time and in all seriousness, that’s about as annoying as when people say “I could get care less” – which annoys me because it should be “I couldn’t care less” and if you say you “could care less”, that means you’re still caring. But that’s besides the point…
And as a mantra, the principle of YOLO, while on the surface sounds kind of inspiring because it’s illustrative of how precious every moment in your life is and the importance of living without regrets, it’s also rather flawed.
Recently, ABC News did a story about the “dangers of YOLO” where it documented a series of incidents or coincidences of young people tweeting #YOLO and then doing something stupid like driving drunk or speeding. Now, whether the before act (tweeting or thinking about YOLO) and the resulting act (doing something stupid) are actually causation or correlation will never be known – let’s face it, young people do stupid things, I can attest to that. It wouldn’t be fair to account this behaviour entirely to a meme.
For me, my main point of contention is that YOLO is such a “live in the present, ignore the future” way of thinking. It’s like tunnel-vision in looking at every life decision through the lens of RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, WILL THIS MAKE ME HAPPY? YEAH, COOL, DOING IT THEN!! Okay okay, sure, I’m often guilty of having my worries impede me from doing things and it likely stems from the way I always go through the “what ifs” incessantly in my head. I can’t help it, I’m just more on the rational side and with one foot firmly placed in future scenarios. I call it making informed decisions 🙂 And yes, that may lead to regrets in life on things I shoulda, coulda, woulda done. But on the same accord, if one always pounces on doing whatever floats their boat in that particular moment in time in a YOLO kind of way, wouldn’t that same spontaneous decision-making also result in the same regrets? Like, perhaps, making a stupid decision on whim because, eff it, I’m only living once?
I say this because I have people around me (a former friend of mine and my mom, for instance) who just look at the “now”. My mom doesn’t scream YOLOOOOO all the time but she will say things like, “oh don’t worry about that,” as I mull over the list of negatives of a potential new job. “You haven’t even gotten it so why are you panicking?”, she’d exclaim. And when I start talking about renovation ideas in my forever-delayed condo, she’ll always tell me to stop thinking about it because it’s “so down the road”. Or on a more extreme case, I have a former friend who dropped out of high school because it was “more fun” to hang out downtown instead of going to school and eventually went the way of a hobo/transcient, and whom I’ve never heard from again in over 8 years. There’s many more examples but each and every time I hear someone telling me I am thinking too much about everything, I just think that they are not thinking enough and it’ll bite them in the butt eventually.
Of course, there is a happy medium between thinking too much about the future and appreciating the here and now. Is YOLO the same sentiment? I don’t know, to you, maybe. To me, I’d argue no. Maybe that sentiment wouldn’t be as well-named an acronym that rolls off the tongue like YOLO – it might be like LLFART. Live Life For a Regretless Tomorrow. #LLFART