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You only live once

October 8, 2012

I got a text message the other day.  Full stop.  Now I know that for most of you that first sentence sounds crazy.  For people who get, and send, such messages all the time it is about as weird as saying “I saw a car the other day.”  You are probably thinking “Of course you did, who doesn’t?”  Or maybe you are wondering what was so important about that particular text.

But I don’t really live in a texting world.  I’ve sent a few and received a few but I don’t use it as a primary communication method.  Right now most of the texts I get are from my cell phone carrier because they are distressed that I haven’t renewed my contract.  They are offering me all sorts of “free” stuff if I will renew but I am holding out for a 56-inch flat screen TV.

I don’t think I am any good at sending a text message.  It would probably take me longer to send a ten-word text than it will to write this blog post.  But every once in a while someone, unaware of my appalling ignorance of this important communication method, sends me a text.  Or is it “texts me”?  Is text a verb too?  The fellow I mentioned above texted (?) me with a tidbit of information about a plan of his and ended his text with “YOLO.”

YOLO?  What in the world did that mean?  I mean, I had just gotten to know LOL, BFF and TTFN and a few others and now here is another.  Once again, Google came to my rescue.  I went to Google and was quickly able to find out what it means.  I’ve convinced that Google’s primary social service is the way it helps us to not look like idiots when a subject that mystifies us comes up.  It turns out it stands for “you only live once.”  But you already knew that I am sure.

As a Christian I would have to agree with that message.  I mean, doesn’t Hebrews 9:27 say “…people are destined to die once…”?  But it turns out that this is not an anti-reincarnation phrase being bandied about.  YOLO, made popular by rap stars and teen icons, seems rather to promote that it is OK, even good, to take extreme risks because “you only live once” and you might as well live crazy.  The tag has become the excuse phrase for all sorts of stupid stuff.

Is it?  Well, since it is a youth-oriented phrase a lot of people say it shows lack of judgment among teens.  I am not sure I agree.  Teens that I know are very capable of making judgments.  They don’t make wild decisions without a thought.  Rather, it seems to be that often what they value and give weight to in making those judgments is skewed.  Looking cool or being popular is more important than being safe.  So, yes, YOLO, becomes an excuse phrase.

The problem with YOLO is not that it is wrong but that it people use it wrongly.  We do only live once, but there is nothing temporary about life.  So I agree…YOLO.  But that life is going to last forever.  YOLO is a call to make our lives count forever, not to live recklessly.  And I am glad because, at my age, living reckless has come to mean exceeding my daily intake of fat calories.

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From → Christianity

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on HELPWITHTHEHARDSTUFF and commented:
    Something to think about when you are texting or talking to those older and wiser than you… Plus “YOLO” needs to go!

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