There’s a four letter catchphrase that many “bros” seem to call out these days: YOLO! I first heard this phrase three years ago and wrote it off as “stupid”, because people were using it to excuse very stupid things or behaviors, Obvious logic is obvious. :-P
Anyway, the term is an anagram that means, “You only live once”, which is an intelligent idea that I do believe in. Even if a person believes in a “heaven” or an “after-life” (I personally believe in reincarnation), I do believe that the real truth is that we have only one life to live on this planet. And no, it’s not a contradiction to my overall religious beliefs, I shall explain!
I do believe in reincarnation, but not in terms that when a person dies they become a caterpillar, a leaf, or a rock. Humans are reincarnated as other humans, via infants born into the world. Animals are reincarnated as other animals, plants as plants. Race, gender, and location is varied. For example, a white American male may be reincarnated as a Japanese female in the next life. Or a child within a tribe in Africa. Or a child of the royal family in Britain. It’s just a spin of the wheel, either done by the soul or the gods, I don’t know. >_>
The fact is, no one knows what really happens to the soul or consciousness (ignoring the “white light” accounts of those who were dead for a few moments) when we die, because no one has ever died long enough to reach the “other side” (or not) and come back to tell the tale. And if they did, they would be ZOMBIES! And who would stand around long enough to listen to a zombie, without trying to flee or chop off their head? Feets, don’t fail me now! O_o
Joking aside, the fact is not even science have definitive proof that there is no after-life, nor is there any proof that there is one as well. Scientists are careful to state that it’s their opinion that god or an after-life doesn’t exist, not that it’s proven set-in-stone fact yet. And many have said that if there is proof of either god or an after-life, they would change their personal opinions accordingly to match the new data, which is pretty open minded and awesome of them. Remember, in science, a lack of definitive proof doesn’t mean something does or doesn’t exist permanently, without any possibility of new data changing already set beliefs or facts. Otherwise, we’d still believe that the universe revolved around the Earth and that Pluto is still a planet. Sorry, Pluto. :-(
So, pretty much, it’s safe to assume that for now (with our current data) we have only one life on this planet. until proven otherwise either way. Even if I were to lean on my religious beliefs of reincarnation, I just so happen to view that idea in the way of the Doctor’s regeneration (a character from the sci-fi show, Doctor Who).
He dies and then regenerates into a new Doctor after some time, but as the Tenth Doctor puts it: “Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away…and I’m dead.” In the same exact way, reincarnation is often viewed in stages; We die and everything about us (our personality and memories of our previous lives) die with us. We are reborn as a “clean slate” and the old “self” is long lost and forgotten.
Thus, that’s my personal beliefs on life and death. Everyone else is free to believe in whatever they wish to and I respect that. This is not the lesson, but just a complete explanation on why and how I believe that my life today is the only one that I’ve got. Whew… now for the lesson I’ve learned. ;^_^>
Although I still regard the term YOLO as a battle cry of nitwits, used in order to shrug away risky or downright dangerous choices (ie: “eating sushi in an airport… YOLO!”, “covering myself with honey and charging into a cave full of bears… YOLO!”, “gonna tell my mother-in-law that she looks fat in that dress… YOLO!”), the overall meaning of “you only live once” is a nice reminder to not walk around with my head up my butt!
Life is short and I refuse to spend it worrying about “What will everyone think of this? Oh, I can’t do that in life, because it’s not impressive enough to everyone else. Oh… I shouldn’t have this much fun, because it’s dorky and people will not understand it!”
When I was younger, I use to believe there was one set way to be happy in life. I spent all of my childhood, teens, and part of my adulthood trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be. OR what I thought everyone else wanted, as I never actually asked them “Hey, do you guys want me to dress this way, act this way, have this or that career, or have interests in these set things?”
The fact is, I am the one who has to live with my choices or non-choices (missed opportunities) and with my overall self. Even though I love my friends and family, they’re not the ones who will have to answer the crucial questions that I’ll have to face on my deathbed someday: “Did I do all that I wanted to do in this life? Was my life happy, more or less? Am I leaving this world feeling satisfied and with the least number of regrets?”
We all have to answer those questions in the end. I rather not parish from this life having answered: “No, I was too afraid to do what I really wanted, because I worried more about what everyone else would think of me. No, I wasn’t happy at all in my life and I’m leaving with so many regrets and missed opportunities.”
Therefore, I will live my life doing what makes me feel happy and whatever else I am sure I want to pursue within it…YOLO! As long as it doesn’t harm me or others, it’s all good. ^_^
Thanks for reading!