Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Zen: Is YOLO Actually Bad Advice?

I was happily minding my own business on social media, trying to catch up with what everyone was doing, when the ad for this hoodie popped up on the right hand side of my screen...

Needless to say, my little hippie heart just went nuts. Gorgeous colors, fair trade and the purchase would also support animal welfare? It had all the stars and pluses usually necessary for me to spend beyond thrift-shop prices for an item of clothing. However, I resisted.

Why? Because my mother and my niece's birthdays are coming up, as well as my son's in a few months and then the Christmas holidays. That can easily all add up to quite a bit of spending, and I'm really trying to concentrate on the financial goals I set for myself earlier this year. In addition, I bought a nice hoodie back in spring, and I really don't need another. However, it was so lovely I sent the link to my sister with fingers crossed as my own birthday is just a few weeks away (hooray!)

How does any of this relate to YOLO, the fan-favorite acronym for the popular mantra, You Only Live Once? I happened to randomly mention how lovely the hoodie was to a friend later that day, and her response was, "Oh just go ahead and order it, it's only $30. You only live once, you know!"

This made me think of how often that I see YOLO as a hashtag on social media in reference to purchases, lavish trips, or often simply reckless behavior. While I am all for embracing the idea of living fully, is careless spending, constant traveling, or a predilection for extreme sports what constitutes a fully-lived life?

I'm not so sure.

My financial goals are important to me, and while no, $30 is not going to break the bank, it would be an unnecessary expense during a time that I'm trying to save. I'm often surprised to the point of bewilderment at how much money people spend on seemingly unnecessary items. Do we really need new clothes constantly? How many pairs of shoes can we honestly justify owning? Is this what propels us out of bed and into work every day, the acquisition of things? I don't know about you, but it certainly isn't what gets me up and going. (Check out The Story of Stuff and take a moment to consider how you spend your earnings. Personally I am all for working less and living more through living simply.)

And while I love to travel, I don't need to do it constantly or lavishly to feel I'm living fully; I equally love being at home, exploring the natural beauty of my own region, and attending local fairs and festivals. As far as anything extreme goes, well, I kind of shifted out of that mindset when I became a mother and solely responsible for the life I'd brought into the world. Still, I wonder how many people are prepared to spend, travel, and do somewhat crazy things because they are trying to follow our society's current YOLO mantra?

I don't know that it is inherently bad advice, but I do know that encouraging someone to spend money on something they really don't need because 'you only live once' is not really a practical suggestion. And while I'd be thrilled if my sister or parents took the bait and got me the hoodie for my birthday, I know I'll still be able to live fully if I never own that hoodie, climb Mount Everest, or attend Trapeze School.

What do you think? Has YOLO become a mantra that we now use to encourage fun-but-maybe-not-so-wise choices, or is it sage advice we should all heed? Love to hear your thoughts on this!

***Sunshine Daydream Hoodie video courtesy of The Animal Rescue Site Store. Every purchase supports the care and feeding of rescued animals. The Animal Rescue Site Store is part of The Greater Good, where your dollars help support everything from breast cancer research to the Rainforest.

1 comment:

April said...

To me, YOLO is not a encouragement to spend lavishly on myself or do things irresponsibly, but to remember that we only have one life to live and to make a difference in the lives of others.