The phrase “you only live once,” better known by its hastag #yolo, seems to be the best excuse for having done something stupid. For instance, getting wasted on a weekday night and falling down the frat basement stairs: #Yolo. Dyeing your hair orange and then crying over it for the next few weeks: #Yolo.
But YOLO isn’t just “Carpe Diem” for stupid people. At least, it shouldn’t be. To me, YOLO is a way of life—a way of enjoying finite life to the fullest.
It means being yourself, focusing on your life and doing the things you want to do, no matter what others think. It means spending less time on the lives of celebrities and more on your own life. It means understanding that you come into this world by yourself and leave the world on your own. Throughout the course of your life, the lives of many loved ones will cross paths with yours, but the one who will always be there for you from start to end is yourself. So love everything about you, cherish your life above all else and make time to spend on yourself.
"Only" implies urgency. It means that 80 years isn’t actually long enough for those nightly Netflix binges to be worth it. It means that eventually you and your entire existence will disappear forever from the face of this world—and all of your hopes, loves and feelings will also one day die with you (unless if you believe in reincarnation or you are actually a cat). If you are 20 right now, you have already spent up half of your life where you are the most healthy and youthful. So make every day matter, not just the occasional reckless actions.
Living is not the same thing as “existing.” A lot of people—by their own poor choices or due to helpless circumstances they were born into—never get beyond the stage of existing. There are so many people just trying to survive and also so many others who think that they are alive by eating and breathing. However, they could make their lives more significant. Their lives could be role models for others, a leader of this world, a seeker of the ultimate truth—so stop right now and think for a moment. Are you actually living your life? Or are you simply existing?
Once upon a time you lived, you loved and you laughed. Once upon a time you met the love of your life, you climbed the tallest peak in the world and you had so many friends because you were in college. Yet, nothing stays constant; everything is bound to change. Most of the time, you only get one chance. When you pass up on it, you will never have the same opportunity again. So preserve every second of your life and always do your best.
I do not fear death, but I hope to have lived every moment of my life to the fullest. What about you?