I hate this whole “YOLO” fad. And I hate when people talk in hashtags in actual, verbal conversation. Has our society become so dependent on social media that we must speak in texting lingos and hashtags? And what’s more: most people are using “YOLO” as an excuse to do stupid things that will quickly change “You Only Live Once” into “You Only Die Once.” “YOLO” is a fad that promotes reckless behavior, particularly in teens and college-aged individuals, but is it possible that #YOLO may actually have a point?
The one viable point that #YOLO makes is the part of it that lines up with Carpe Diem: Seize the Day. And that point is that you should live your life to the fullest potential possible. The end is inevitable, and you do not know the day nor hour that the good Lord will call you home. Chances are, you’ll have no way of stopping it either. I’m not trying to be morbid or anything, but really, I think people need to have an understanding that they could (God forbid) die tomorrow. They really, really could. I’m not pointing this fact out to scare anybody or give them anxiety about death or anything; I am actually intending quite the opposite. I aim to motivate you to live by Carpe Diem, to seize the day so that if you were to die tomorrow (again, God forbid), you would die without regret.
This also reveals fundamentally why I do not like #YOLO. The connotation of #YOLO is that “I can do whatever the heck I want because I only live once and I may as well do it. Who cares what the consequences are or how it affects other people? I only live once, so I have to take my chances now and think later.” Carpe Diem’s connotation is so much better: “I am going to conquer this day by living it to the fullest.” Some people would read those two statements and try to tell me that there isn’t a difference. And you, my friends, would be sadly mistaken.
Seize the Day is an everlasting feel-good message. It outlasts #YOLO because it isn’t superficial like YOLO is. You would never hear someone who is going down to the Dominican Republic on a missions trip say, “Oh, you know, I’m just going ‘cuz YOLO!” That person has a Carpe Diem attitude because he is seizing the day to make the world a better place. And there’s the difference: Making the world a better place. Carpe Diem is about making the world a better place by baby steps or leaps and bounds. Carpe Diem can be as simple as seizing the opportunity to try a new food or as grand as taking that mission trip to the Dominican Republic. YOLO is an impulse reaction, an excuse to not think things through. It is the basic teenage claim of invincibility and being untouchable. The joy that YOLO brings is short-lived because it doesn’t feed the soul. In 20 years. you’re going to look back on those YOLO moments and say things like “Man, was I stupid teenager back then!” or “I could’ve gotten seriously hurt. Thank God I didn’t!” When you look back on those Carpe Diem moments in 20 years, you’re going to be proud of yourself, and those are going to be stories you share with your kids and grandkids to teach them the right things to do, not the wrong things to do.
So, how do you tell the difference? Ask yourself how your actions will affect yourself and others. If negative consequences come up, particularly if they come up almost immediately, you probably shouldn’t do it (that’s usually YOLO). If it’s just something fun and harmless, well hey, YOLO! (or maybe, in that case, it has become Carpe Diem! ;)) All living life to the fullest means is taking the good chances put in front of you to have a happy, healthy life without regrets. Bypass the bad risks.
So, live life to the fullest. That’s what God intended. Just think about what you do before you do it.