YOLO: A Reason to Dream Big, or Party More?

I keep hearing the term “YOLO” thrown around.  My friends have told me where it came from, but I’ve heard it so many times since then that I don’t remember.  Regardless, it is all over the Internet and quoted in many many meme’s.  I cannot decide what I think about it.  Part of me gets annoyed about this ubiquitous phrase and tonight I have begun to understand why.

While watching American Idol tonight, I realized that it’s not the phrase itself that bothers me.  It’s the context.  Jason DeRulo performed a new song called, “Undefeated” on the show.  It was filled with cliches about living your life to the fullest while you can.  “Dance while you have the chance” and “Gravity cannot keep me down” aren’t bad pieces of advice, but I have to wonder what DeRulo’s performance really encouraged.  Following your dreams, reaching out of your comfort zone, fighting for your cause, these are all great goals.  They should not be procrastinated to the next week, the next day, the next hour.  But every time I hear “YOLO” or a similar message in pop culture, it seems to be surrounded by blaring bass and lots of sexy dance moves.  They aren’t telling us to follow our dreams; they are telling us to forget all responsibilities and party our lives away.

I’m not against forgetting about the world for a while and relaxing, but I think that is an easy task for my generation.  It’s difficult to work hard and go for the goal you don’t think you’ll ever reach.  On a television show like American Idol that encourages people to reach for their dreams against huge odds, I would hope that they present “YOLO” in this context.

Regardless, I’m going to keep living out my dreams like there is no tomorrow.  Even when I would rather be belting “Raise Your Glass” and dancing with my best friends.

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About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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