A lot of folks my age, who are also in their early twenties, are just trying to figure their lives out right now (including me!). One cultural maxim that’s become popular these last couple of years is the concept of Y.O.L.O., which stands for “You Only Live Once”, if you didn’t know. It was popularized by The Motto, a song by Drake and Lil’ Wayne that came out some time ago.
Not only did this song rock at all the college parties, but also had people screaming out “YOLO!” right as they were about to do something pretty questionable or irresponsible. Although I think the song is pretty catchy and I get the premise – you only live once so you might as well live it up in the here and now – there’s a part of me that really wants to look at the other end of the definition.
It’s so true – as human beings we only live once, and we have such a limited amount of time on this earth to make our mark. For this exact reason, we should make sure we’re spending our time, talents, and money on things that truly matter to us – not just in the short term but in the long term as well.
Find A Balance
Now, naturally we need to find a balance. It would be foolish of me to save 100% of my income and invest it all with the justification of, “I’m soooo scared and insecure about the future that I just need to save every single penny! The government is unraveling and the sky is falling!” On the contrary, it would be equally foolish to say “Wow I just got paid today…might as well blow every dime right now.” Have you ever noticed that people who say “Well, I can’t take it with me when I die,” never have any money anyway? If that’s you, don’t worry – I used to think that way myself.
Money is a tool, and as there are different tools for different jobs, so there is with money. Some should definitely be used for now, and some should be put aside for later. How you strike that balance is up to you – but it is important that you define it for yourself, and not let other people do the thinking for you.
This principle not only applies to money, but all other areas of your life where you expend energy. It applies to your talents. It applies to your time. When I’m in my YOLO mindset during my day I’m thinking, “Wow, what a long day at work. I’m exhausted. All I want to do is go to bed and sleep. But I haven’t seen the Mrs. all day and I know we should spend some quality time together. Well, I can manage to stay up a few more hours because investing in our relationship is important – YOLO!”
Time Is Finite
The center of the principle is that our time on this earth is limited. It really is so short. That’s really why I started this blog – to share my ideas about how, by thinking like we’re already at the end of our years, we can make the most of our time between now and then. Look at this number below:
What does this represent? It’s the average time, measured in days someone living in my country (USA) has to live. That’s 78.64 years average life expectancy. Of course, some folks will live longer, and some will pass away sooner.
That’s it. That’s what we have to work with. Barring medical crises or tragic accidents, that’s what you and I have got, on average. Shoot, I’ve already used almost 8,500 of mine. All the more reason to make today count, right? YOLO!
How do you feel about both interpretations of YOLO?