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Yolo: What’s Wrong with It Essay

The day we had 30cm of snow, a couple of my friends and I were itching to get outside and make the best of our snow-day. Traveling up the highway was treacherous as the snow was barely cleared, creating a sheet of white along the road. When we reached the top of the hill, the north wind slapped our cheeks with coldness and heavy snow blinded our vision. Despite the bleakness, one by one, we sped down as if we were escaping from the engulfment of an enormous avalanche. The last daring member of our group shouted, “YOLO!!” and made it for the ramp and flew into the oblivion.

“YOLO” is typical acronym, internet slang, meaning “You Only Live Once.” Like all other internet vocabularies, there is no clear origin, but rapper Drake popularized this term through his song, “The Motto.” He sings, “You only live once: that’s the motto, YOLO.” The message here is clear that in our journey of life, there is only one end, so we should put ourselves in challenge to live our lives to the fullest potential.

Having such a seemingly profound message, one might ask, “What’s wrong with saying YOLO?” My real concern is due to the inane interpretation of this commonly used catchphrase. I understand that it can be a ‘cool’ and alluring term where one can spit out to conform to the majority. Unfortunately, most people have a perverted and distorted notion of YOLO. Due to its simplicity, the “YOLOers” think that this term can be used as a simple excuse –I’m doing this because I want to live my life –to their thoughtless action. Moreover, it is used so often that it has reached to the point where it can be used as a verbal filler to explain any type of our personal experience: “I failed my math exam, YOLO”, “I’m going to smoke, YOLO.”

As a human being, our natural tendency is to be happy from knowing that every action we do is meaningful and truthful in any possible way. Yet, from time to time, we make mistakes in our lives that poke our self-conscience which eventually leads us to feel stressful and unjust. To regain our happiness, we often take one of the following paths: 1) Accept our faults and get back on track for success in future endeavors 2) Conform to the “YOLO” attitude. When we take path #2, we put a blindfold called “rationalization” around our head from searching for the right path. Moreover, we eventually justify our decisions to be correct; almost like hypnotizing…no joke. Having this manner “helps you make it ok to hurt yourself by justifying the very things that defeat you.”(Taylor, 2013) Furthermore, YOLO encourages one to be ignorant about their consequences in their unforeseen future; soon acting as a catalyst to deterioration of one’s thought-provocative decision. But wait for it, it gets worse.

In the world of IPhones and fast wireless internets, young generations easily divert away from something time-consuming and effortful. Instead, they once again shout “YOLO”, to find something exciting and pleasurable to live in unrealistic instant thrills. But do you know what is ironic? The Globe and Mail recently reported an unfortunate incident of a promising young rapper, Erwin McKinness speeding and drunk driving, posting “Drunk going 120 drifting corners #F***It. YOLO” on his twitter moments before the car hit a wall in Ontario, Canada, killing everyone inside. This tragedy demonstrates the possible repercussion for taking the foolish YOLO stance towards life. Moreover, it bodily portrays how contradicting this slang is. We aim to live our lives to the fullest, but ironically, this slang puts our lives at greater risk for it to end quickly.

Why would you want to live fast and die young, a.k.a YOLO? Life is about cherishing every moment. Although risk taking is an accepted part of life, we should be certain that they are worthwhile.


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