Redefining #YOLO

Before I stopped drinking, I lived each moment like it was my last because #YOLO. The YOLO (You Only Live Once) mentality can be defined in many ways.  Drake defined it as get laid, get stoned, get money.

In my party girl decade years, I defined it as “You might die next month…be as ridiculous as possible NOW!”  Don’t waste your time or money on going to see a doctor.  Book that vacation with your last $500.  Snort that line off of the public toilet so you can get even higher.    Take a shot of Jack Daniels, so you can tell him how you really feel about him.  

I spent every dollar I had because I didn’t see any point in saving for a future that wasn’t guaranteed or a future that I was too drunk to plan for.  I drank to the point of blacking out because I didn’t care about tomorrow.  I left every relationship I had ever been in because I thought life was too short to get close to someone else.  In attempt to live each day to it’s fullest, I wasn’t even living at all – I was hiding.

Now, I define YOLO as “Life is a precious gift, be your authentic self in as many situations as possible”.  To be honest, I still live many moments as if they’re my last.  The only difference is now I try to see those moments through a lens of responsibility.  I’m aware that life is a blessing and I want to remember as much of it as I can.  I want to look back on those memories and know that I was true to myself.  You’re probably not going to die next month, go ahead and talk to your boss about a 401k.  Go to the doctor.  Go to the dentist.  Tell your friends you can’t make it to the event and be honest that it’s because you really want to finish reading Catcher in the Rye.  Tell him how much you like him; Jack Daniels is not a prerequisite to vulnerability.

As a recovering YOLO addict, I can’t believe I’m about to emphasize the importance of balance – and not just when it comes to headstands.  I tend to do things in extremes.  I don’t like something; I love something.  I didn’t drink; I blacked out.  By cutting out a significant extreme in my life – alcohol – I’ve indirectly learned the link between balance and productivity.  I am able to embrace YOLO in a way that fits me much better.  I’m not about to redefine YOLO, but if I were, it would be somewhere in the middle of Drake and Andy Samberg’s extremes.


Copy Editor: Alisson Wood


3 thoughts on “Redefining #YOLO

  1. Jackie Lara

    Reading these articles, though painful, helps me to see why you acted the way you did while you were using. The doctor/dentist thing finally makes (sick, but understandable) sense to me now.

  2. Mark Goodson

    Such an important distinction you make here. The YOLO craze always brings me back to the transcendentalists like Thoreau who wanted to seized the day by living alone with his thoughts for a few years. In his words he wanted to “suck out all the marrow of life.” So much of pop culture uses the sentiment to take bad and irresponsible decisions etc. What a great read this was…

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