You Reap What you Sow. After all, YOLO!
With so many new abbreviations, text lingo, and language breakdowns these days, it took me awhile to figure out what exactly the term YOLO means. I know I could have “Googled” it, but I wanted to get to the bottom of this on my own. After a few days of running through a list of terms this acronym could possible be, I finally asked one of my students.
“Mrs. G. –You only live once! Woohoo!”
Puzzled by the passion and excitement in his voice, I mulled around the notion in my head for a bit and did a little more digging to find out what exactly does “YOLO” mean these days? The expression kept baffling my mind and apparently the Boston Globe was curious as well. According to the article titled: What is YOLO? Only teenagers know for sure writer Ben Zimmer explains “ YOLO is an acronym for “You Only Live Once.” It shot to fame earlier this year thanks to the rapper Drake, whose song “The Motto” has the hook, ‘You only live once, that’s the motto…YOLO, and we ’bout it every day, every day, every day.’ After a video for the song was released in February, the buzzword spread quickly among the high school and college-age set by word of mouth, not just in person but through the turbocharged vehicle of social media” (Zimmer).
This definition had me trying to apply examples of YOLO in my own life. I thought, is it victory when my youngest son successfully climbed to the top of his brother’s lofted bed? YOLO! Or when my daughter jumped off the high dive even though she’s afraid of heights? YOLO!
“But as the term has circulated over the past several months, a YOLO backlash has set in. Jason Salcedo, a high school senior from Stuart, Fla., recently blogged that YOLO is now ‘used by teens only as an absolute justification to do dangerous or harmful things.’ As he pointed out, those who use it might not appreciate that you only die once, too.” (Zimmer).
Salcedo’s response had me thinking of some backlash YOLO examples: Teenagers who “Tweet” or “Post” their daily life (the bad boy image of drugs, sex, and drunkenness or the girl who is selling her body short-Yes, they really post these things.) YOLO!
Or, a mother who left her husband and kids for a man she met on the Internet. YOLO!
How about I just express my opinion and spit in your face and I don’t care because YOLO! If I don’t like the life I have chosen, I will go start a new one and leave this wreckage behind. After all, YOLO!
I have to agree with Salcedo especially since the whole concept keeps rubbing me the wrong way. Although the initial idea seems positive in nature, it is the first word in the abbreviation that I have contentions with-“You”, that’s the one. Why is this a thorn in my side? For starters, the expression is gratifying only one person-you. It also gives people the perception that they can express whatever is on their mind including hurtful, rude, and unmoral comments using the rational that You Only Live Once, so why not tell them how you really feel.
The one true way I can decipher this whole YOLO vision is to take the information back to the only place that gives me truth-God’s word. The bible. James and John of Zebedee were fishermen; their entire life had been by the sea until they were called “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him (Matthew 4:19-20). YOLO! How about Rahab who risked her life to do God’s will and keep Joshua’s spies safe? “Then the woman took the two men and hid them” (Joshua 2:4). YOLO! Even more so were the believers who “sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” (Acts 2:45). YOLO!
These examples and many more lead me to the conclusion that when I go by man’s version of YOLO, I am only living for myself-no worries, no consequences, just live. Yet when I apply God’s words as the foundation, I am able to not live for myself, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”(Philippians 1:21). I have only one life to live here on earth. Am I spending my life for Jesus? How about you? YOLO!