Why Everyone Should Live By the Phrase YOLO


Partying hard, Jack-Ass-esc feats of stupidity, or to simply summon the bravery to ask that clearly-out-of-ones-league girl out on a date, many youth have invoked a simple acronym—YOLO! When in doubt about smoking that joint, hooking-up with that guy, or simply jumping off that roof into a pool full of people, YOLO is yelled and all know and understand—You Only Live Once.

YOLO is a term which embodies the ethos of this generation of youth. Whatever impulse is felt, from the mild acts of bravery to the obscenely foolish and nonsensical, YOLO is the rallying call that emboldens the individual to do as they wish.

Should I hook-up with this girl? YOLO

Should I get piss-drunk and streak down the street? YOLO.

Should I hit this bong and blaze-out? YOLO.

And while not summoned for uniquely immoral or illegal activities, YOLO embodies the already present sentiment among many that “If it feels good, do it.”

Of course the problem with such an ethic is that no one is asking whether certain actions are  actually “good”?

God is dead. Friedrich Nietzsche knew this at the turn of the last century. And when God is dead, so too are universal laws of good and evil. Without a moral law giver, there is no moral law. In its place, humans have become the arbiters of morality.

Man is god.

And with this mantle upon our shoulders, each of us may determine what is right and good for us to do. Thus, YOLO dictates all actions. Whatever seems good at the moment to any individual is the action one should take.

Even those ignorant of the term YOLO live the meaning of this acronym. Having only one life to live, I need to make it count. By tooth and claw, I need money, comfort, and pleasure in excess.

Ironically, few reflect on the pleasures they didn’t get to indulge in on their death-bed. Rather, the majority wished they had lived their lives differently in the possibility that they may meet a supreme Judge on the other side. And as the dread and darkness of death sweeps over them, whether young or old, most invoke one supreme deity or another to have mercy.

YOLO should be a rallying call, not to indulge in temporary pleasures or acts of foolishness, but rather to embolden one to act in light of eternity. You only live once—once to make a positive impact in others lives, once to curb the global suffering of billions, and once to prepare oneself to face a perfect and terrifying judge.

And when the path of doing things right and moral becomes difficult, as it always does—embolden and remind yourself by saying YOLO.


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  • Barb

    Excellent post! As an older reader looking back on life, I totally agree!  And there is still more life ahead to be lived-YOLO!

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