On Nov. 29, 2011 one of the most influential songs started streaming the American radio stations: “The Motto” by Drake ft. Lil Wayne. The rich baseline of the song and the witty freestyling was worthy of blasting in your car and attempting to rap along. On 16-year -Katie’s first listen of the song, she, and many others during this time, ironically used the term “YOLO.” “You only live once” was used and continues to be used in many ways. Getting guac in your Chipotle burrito even though it’s extra because YOLO. Going skydiving even though you’re afraid of heights because YOLO. Planking in random locations even though you look ridiculous because YOLO (side note, I truly hope planking has died out because that was actually ridiculous). I know personally, the more times I ironically used YOLO, the more it unironically started getting embedded into my language and personality. Many things I have done, especially recently, have been out of sheer “you only live once,” and that’s honestly not a terrible thing.
See for example: the Stevens Dramatic Society’s production of Rumors. Having done the technical side of the shows since my freshmen year and having not acted in a production since high school, September auditions had me like “YOLO.” I took the risk, auditioned, and sure enough, got a part. After this weekend, I finally reaped the reward of my impulse decision, and the Society put on an extremely successful production. Was it the most life-or-death decision to audition? Absolutely not, but the “you only live once” mentality truly paid off. Similar to many other “YOLO” decisions, there was something special about experiencing something new and rather irreplaceable in my life. The “you only live once” sort of lifestyle forces you to consider something you haven’t done previously. As many people have said, life begins when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. I know it sounds super cliche but “YOLO”ing a decision by inherent nature causes that push of your comfort zone. Prior to this, I was more comfortable with power tools in hand, building the set than with a script in my hand, acting. I feel like I have gained a new rush of confidence from this experience that I would have missed out on without the impulse decision to audition.
“You only live once” really embodies doing what you personally think is unbelievable and proving yourself wrong. As someone who constantly tries to push herself harder and harder each day, you might be seeing me try the Cluck U 911 challenge even though I hate spicy food, or running a marathon even though I haven’t hit the gym in years. The task you “YOLO” could even be something small like ordering hazelnut in your coffee instead of caramel. Proving you can actually motivate yourself to run or you actually like hazelnut (free fact: tried it last week and hated it) is one more experience for yourself to grow upon. “YOLO” isn’t about ironically doing something because life is too short to not experience it, it’s about doing something because life is too short to not constantly develop yourself.
Not going to lie, “YOLO”ing life can lead to potential reckless decisions. Your bank account, health, and more could be affected. Sorry, not sorry. If I could insert some sort of disclaimer that I have nothing to do with any aftermaths of encouraging the “YOLO” lifestyle without the endless jargon that people just scroll through and hit accept anyways, I would. Nonetheless, time is too short to just sit around. Drake was right: you truly only live once, and whether it be auditioning for the fall play or doing something major with your life, there is no time like the present.