YOLO is not new

A twenty-something explained on a podcast that her generation doesn’t believe in allowing things to pass them by.

“You know,” she said. “YOLO. That’s where that word comes from.”

Just for the record:

YOLO is an acronym popularized by Drake in his hit song “The Motto,” but it’s certainly nothing new. “You only live once” is a sentiment that has existed for a long, long time. Simply because the current generation of young people have affixed an acronym to an age-old expression doesn’t make them any more daring than previous generations.

When my friend, Bengi, and I decided to drive overnight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Myrtle Beach, SC to avoid losing a day of vacation to traveling after having already been awake for nearly 24 hours (and ended up seeing identical delusional clowns on the side of the road in South Carolina), we certainly could’ve been shouting “YOLO!” through our car windows.

When I agreed to compete in an underground, middle-of-the-night arm wrestling gambling ring in Brockton, MA , I could’ve shouted “YOLO!” upon descending the stairs in that abandoned elementary school.

When I decided to dam a river to see if I could cut off the supply of water to The Basin, an ancient rock and water tourist attraction in the mountains of Laconia, NH (and succeeded), I could’ve shouted “YOLO” when the first tree fell across the river.

When so many of my friends decided that it was better to work two or three jobs, sleep on couches, and eat ramen rather than living for a single second more with their parents, they all could’ve been shouting “YOLO!” from the windows of their cruddy apartments.

Simply because my generation and the generations before me didn’t apply an acronym to the sentiment or speak incessantly about the importance of living your life like you only live once doesn’t mean we weren’t doing so.

So just stop.