A few bitterly sad things that have happened to loved ones recently, as well as the world reinventing the Nazis, has made me think quite hard about how I live my life. So often I feel angry over stupid things, resentful about what others have and I don’t, or like I have wasted my hours on nothing. It’s just such a colossal, not ok waste of energy. When so many have their time on earth cut short who the hell am I to be wasting the chances I have in mine?
This is the point that we need to talk about YOLO. For teenagers about five years ago this meant living with no consequences, doing utterly stupid teenage things and using ‘you only live once’ as the ultimate get out of jail free card. For the fifteen years olds this means sleeping around, getting tattoos, jumping off tall things and drinking every ounce of alcohol they can get their hands on. YOLO for adults is quite different. Well, maybe not the alcohol part says the girl with seven bottles of gin.
YOLO for adults is about making life count. It doesn’t mean success, or being the loudest in the room. It doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks (unless you want to) or pushing yourself beyond reason. It just means valuing the time you have.
Today I woke up with the best intentions of writing 6 blog posts. The next three weeks at work are going to be hella busy and I don’t think I am going to have time to write so I wanted to be prepared. But I just don’t seem to be able to focus, it’s taken me 3 hours to write 265 words. A snail could crap out alphabet spaghetti faster than I’ve been writing. The point is I am not beating myself up about it, regretting the time I have spent just shits all over those who don’t have any time left. Instead I have just done a full face of makeup for a casual dinner with friends; enjoying every single frivolous fucking colour that I put on my face, even that weird grey one that makes me feel slightly like a zombie.
Leaving this blog post to fade to a screensaver, I turned on Olympus has Fallen on Netflix and thoroughly enjoyed the outrageous silliness of it (while imagining what that plot would look like with the current President). No regrets, just making sure that I use my time in things that I enjoy.
No way in hell am I taking it easy this year, you only live once and I am going to grab it with both hands. I have three business ideas that I want to make work (hopefully you will see them soon) and a beautiful new niece that I can’t wait to hug in April. I don’t want to be pushed along in a current, I want to actively direct where my life goes.
Nothing can stop you from pursuing that business idea, or that relationship or that last bit of chocolate; you currently have the luxury of possibility and a chance to make it happen. Try not to waste time feeling that you are weak for being exhausted after a long week at work or like a failure when your mental health doesn’t play ball. Only living once means cutting yourself some fucking slack and allowing yourself to recover. Once you have recovered then you can continue the fight.
If you are in London think back to before you first arrived; what were your hopes and dreams for your time here? Are you adventuring as much as you wanted, or putting yourself out there to meet people? Why not, what is stopping you? Is it still important? What else have you discovered you want?
I think what this adulating YOLO comes down to is being deliberate. What do you actually want for yourself in the next year? What steps do you need to take to get there? If today what you need is to sleep and dream and eat then do it, but make it deliberate, make it indulgent.
Hug your loved ones tight, and if you can’t because you are on the other side of the world then make that Skype call to your parents that you have been putting off all week. Text your brother or sister and make sure they know how much you love and admire them, even if they are a pain in the ass.
Let’s do this YOLO thing right.