The Problem with YOLO

Quite possibly the most annoying acronym of 2012, “YOLO” has taken teens and twentysomethings by storm. This concatenation of “You Only Live Once” is popular not only because of Drake, but because it allows people to justify this mentality: “I’m going to die someday, so this is my excuse to do something stupid.”

I know, it’s a bit harsh. YOLO is supposed to be a joke. But I think the popularity of this new word can reinforce and expand the problem that young people of our generation are guilty of: the inability to take adulthood seriously. To show you what I mean, here are some examples of YOLO mentality:

  • The student who misses his midterm by partying too hard the night before
  • Those who rejects the “9 – 5 corporate life” despite not trying it, preferring the “freedom” of waiting tables … 9 – 5 (or longer!)
  • The 30+ year olds still getting drunk every weekend, trying to reclaim their college years
  • The guys who are obsessed with picking up chicks and never think about sustaining a relationship

Sure, you’re only young once –but don’t assume that younger automatically makes you better. A 40 year old who’s successful, fit and adventurous is in a much more enviable place than a 28 year old who can’t hold on to a job and lives with parents. The thing is, setting ourselves up by thinking our 20s are our “glory years” does us no good. We’ve still got the 30s, 40s and on. The average American lifespan is 80 years old. If “living young” in our twenties means binge drinking, not having a career, and never committing to a relationship, that just means we’re going to have a failing liver, be broke, and disadvantaged in the dating market in our 30s. “YOLO”ing too hard can actually ruins our quality of life when we’re older.

Trying too hard to live out this half-assed notion of being gloriously young can ruin our chances of developing into the individuals we want to be. This doesn’t mean life has to be boring. In fact, tackling the challenges of adulthood early on means we can enjoy the fruits of our labor earlier and for a longer period of time. By making significant money early on, we can travel, contribute great things to society, and take on new interests. By seriously evaluating our approach to dating, we can find good marriage material earlier on instead of scrambling for a life partner when we see the rest of our friends getting hitched.

These are all things we can do to save and continue our youth. Having a youthful mindset is more important than being young. So let’s own our age, and champion what YOLO is supposed to be – living good lives not only from our twenties, but well on through the rest of our lives.

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