By: Teresa Peterson

You’ve probably said it or hate hearing it and if you’re like me your feelings on the “catchphrase you’ll learn to hate” fall right in the middle.

In Music

The catchphrase became popular in Drake’s “The Motto” but was first used in music by The Strokes in 2006. Of course there’s also the The Lonely Island parody, which speaks to the various extreme and hilarious interpretations of the term.

Popular Usage: The problem

We’ve all heard YOLO compared the Latin carpe diem, “seize the day”, but the difference in the phrases is about how we use them. One is an explanation whereas the other is a statement.

For example, if you skipped work because you had a bad hangover, you would not chant, “seize the day” or “carpe diem” you might however, Facebook, Tweet and Instagram something like “@Drake Drank enough to kill a horse last night. #YOLO”.

It’s awesome to seize the day and claim only living once as a reason for doing it, there is no harm or foul there. But the issue that seems to come up for me, is that instead of seizing the day, people #YOLO to rationalize or explain away responsibility for less than conscientious actions. It’s like giving yourself personal permission to be a juggernaut. And the issue with not being accountable for our actions is that we inevitably impact the quality of our lives and the lives of other people.

An Addition to the Phrase

The Live Hard—Die Young/ YOLO mentality is tired and pretty unrealistic. In the world we live in people aren’t really dying until around 78 years old, says the US Center for Disease Control. This is important because that tells us how the live hard-die young mentality is more like live hard-die slowly and likely taking all kinds of pharmaceuticals and maintaining an overwhelming calendar of hospital visits to keep you clear of your diabetes, heart disease, or stress induced illnesses like cancer.

Souls in Action Boulder Flood

Souls In Action Boulder Flood Clean-up 2013

That scenario sounds daunting, huh? Let’s avoid that outcome all together. I propose we YOLO like Souls in Action — through service and strength of positivity in art, music and social activism. In terms of our mental health it turns out that giving freely to others increases our own personal level of happiness, a lot. It’s also true that there is no time like the present to take care of our physical health, so in between sets, blog posts or whatever is keeping you behind this screen, hop up for two minutes of activity periodically through the day (find out why this is good for you in my next post).

#YOLO but, Live Well Now

A Little About Me

Teresa's two cents on getting the most out of life.

Teresa’s two cents on getting the most out of life.

8 degrees Fahrenheit, real feel -19. It’s more than frigid out here in suburban Berwyn, Pennsylvania and it took traveling across the country to get started on my ridiculously long awaited Souls in Action contribution. Most of you don’t know me yet, but I know you.

I’m Teresa. I hail from Edwards, Colorado originally and until recently spent the last 5 years or so bouncing around between Boulder and Denver. My background is in communication, I worked for a long while in health and wellness publishing, I sing, and I believe that the power of meaningful face-to-face interaction trumps all other forms of connection. As far as my Thursday contribution to the SIA blog expect a wide range of social wellness posts. This means you can keep your eyes out for my take on anything from social issues, to health tips, to social activism.