YO(How)LO(Will U Go)?

Have you noticed that YOLO–the newest variant of our youth-oriented-society’s anthem–does more to stand for nothing more than it does to stand for something?

By saying, “YOLO!” we are making an admission of how senseless we are willing to live. (“Yo, it’s cool, I was just looking for a high!”)

We are confessing that we have made a leave-of-sanity and we need no excuse to maintain this state. (“After all, what’s life about if it’s not for wasting! I don’t want anyone to tell me what my life is supposed to be–I can make it whatever feels good to me.”)

Think of the occasions in which YOLO–You Only Live Once– is used:

It is a reason for driving the car through the garage door because, if I don’t, how will I ever know what that feels like?

It is a frame of mind that compels me to not waste time doing what only normal people do when I can be seeking out exhilaration in the form of binge-drinking, stifling every moral inclination and undoing my potential for greatness by merely settling for being startlingly cool.

It’s the avoidance of committing ourselves to the pursuit of a significant life legacy that we might, instead, be in favor of an easily-earned stupidity award!

The wonder of YOLO’s popularity is that, as humans, we don’t find it hard to act out a tragic misuse of our lives. Sad to say, even all by ourselves we’ve got that mission down pat! What we really need is wisdom, to seek to have our desires transformed, until we set ourselves on only the purest forms of good.

If you’re backing away from your computer or iPhone/iTouch/iPad as you read this, hold on! I’m not against fun and I’m not trying to condemn the enjoyment of oneself. Those things are part of what we were designed to experience as humans–God wanted them to be a part of who we are and how we live our lives.

It’s just that, contrary to what most of us think of ourselves, we don’t really know how to play to the full or enjoy pleasure in a lasting way. We have a relentless obsession with happiness that is only skin deep, recognition that lasts almost as long as a wisp of cotton candy once put in our mouths and substances that enable our souls to know peace only to the extent that they can successfully diminish our senses.

If we really knew what God intended to forever belong to our souls, we wouldn’t give YOLO a second thought. Rather, our steadfast conviction would be that YLAL is the fullness of human delight and significance: You Lord Are Life.

Youth–and the rest of the iceberg we enjoy while we’re on earth

Youth. (Considering this word applies to me more than its opposite, maybe I’m not really the one to be addressing this topic, but considering I’ll be there some day, I figured I’d give it some thought in advance.)

Youth. Is it a thing to be prized.

(Yeah, I know, look around, it’s a dumb question.)

But, in truth, I’m not really asking if it’s a thing that is prized, can be prized (living in our culture makes that immediately obvious). What I’m asking is if it is truly something that ought to be prized, esteemed above other things? Is it something that is a blessing, or is it to be considered the ultimate blessing?

Why is this something so special and even coveted in our culture? When you are young, do you have something that those who are not young do not have? I mean yes, I get that there are the advantages (or should I say, blessings) of youthful vigor, prowess, appetite, fervor, imagination, adventure and appearance.

As I craft the list above I keep adding items because I hear the random exclamations of a regretful individual: “That’s what I really miss now that I’ve been shoved around the bend!” This is the verse of many older people, it seems; or people who are afraid if they’re not careful they too will soon by older.

Now, I don’t want to appear to be an opinionated whippersnapper (Whoa! Where do these things come from?!) since I’m not there yet, but I would like to challenge the inordinate value placed upon youth today.

I believe it is wrong for several reasons. For one thing, it diminishes the value attributed to those who don’t have it. This is a problem both publicly–in the way others treat them and media represents them–and privately–in the way the not-so-young see themselves.

This leads to other problems. Youths are exalted to positions of prestige and primary impact before they know what to do with it. They develop a sense of entitlement and a neglect of others, possibly even scorn–especially of those beneath them on the scale of desirable age.

Maturity, good sense and wisdom are lost to us because they are left both uncultivated and un-exhibited. The growth and human development which comes with a great measure of experience and attention to life lessons is demoralized. Exalting youth says that you are not only just fine as you are, you are at your best right now. The idea is to not waste it all on trying to become holy and selfless–this would put you shamefully at odds with disposing of your present advantages.

Growing up and becoming responsible are now things to be greatly avoided. We must hold them off as long as we can. Yet, we fail to realize that growing up and shouldering responsibility are not things that merely come to us with age, they are things that must be consciously developed within us according to the choices we make about our direction.

Life here on earth is not a lengthy proposition and we should treat it as such. We should learn to treat the seasons that mark it as a gift, even as they mark us. They contribute to the meaning we have in life–they teach us how to make the most of our time. They remind us that seasons–childhood, youth, adulthood and old-age–don’t define us so much as they carry us along to who we are destined to become.

After all, the real living and being come after this. It is what we’re preparing for; the existence we’re made for. And I don’t know about you, but I want to get the most out of every season of living while I’m here so that I’m not ill-prepared!