YOLO: I used to hate that phrase with every fiber in my being. It seemed like a cop out for people who didn’t want to take responsibility of their life. If you only live once, why risk cutting it short with crazy antics? But lately I’ve found myself questioning the deeper meaning of our time here on this Earth.
I question if maybe, just maybe, we really are wasting away our most precious resource…time.
Now I’m a college student. Despite what old timers might say, we face our fair share of dilemmas. Whether it’s constantly second guessing our educational decisions, navigating the world of discovering self-identity or pursuing a career that seems unattainable, college students struggle. Some of us seem to not care at all. You know who I’m talking about; the delinquents who seem to just barely meet their expectations yet seem to not fear anything the world may throw at them. Would you call it blissful ignorance or a hopeless surrender to fate?
Truth be told, I almost admire them sometimes. I’ll sit at my desk reading through my paper five times over thinking that if I get a mediocre grade, it’ll spell my downfall. In reality I know damn well that the sun is still going to rise even if that paper bombed. Other nights I’ll lie awake overthinking the smallest imperfection in myself. If you really think about it, our education system prepares us for our careers. Elementary preps you for middle school, middle for high, high for college and college for careers.
I know that everyone heard, “You think this is bad? Just wait till college,” at least once in their high school lives.
While we become enveloped in these expectations for the future, we begin to lose sight of the present. People claim they wish to live a good life yet devote their entire livelihood to scholarship. That’s not to knock them either, to those doctors of tomorrow, I applaud you. However, I don’t think I got the memo where it says that today starts tomorrow. Life began awhile back; the clock continues to tick on. Yet again, it’s difficult to just drop everything to lead a life of pure joy. It’s practically impossible unless you hit the lottery. Therefore, what choice do we have other than to continue hoping that we reach our goals?
My life carried on as such for quite some time, at least until a health scare rattled me to my core. I woke up to the terrifying news that someone dear to me could face a severe illness. My world came to a screeching halt as all my other concerns became an absolute waste of time. Nothing mattered in my world other than the wellbeing of the person I love. Each moment of the passing day was occupied by dread and misery. Despite whatever grievances or minor issues existed between us, it didn’t matter. School didn’t matter, work didn’t matter and tomorrow didn’t matter. That’s because for this person, tomorrow might not even come.
Thankfully, I eventually received the news that the latest tests revealed no cause for concern. The weight on my chest evaporated. The immense joy I felt in that instant couldn’t compare to anything else. Only those who have experienced such situations can relate to the feeling. The best way I can describe it as is “rebirth.” We all know the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a sour, despicable man turned into a charitable lover of mankind. It felt the way he must have felt upon learning that he got a second chance at life.
This here blessing became my second chance, a chance I wouldn’t squander.
Life can change on the drop of a dime. You hear stories all the time of families losing children in a tragic accident or a young student getting left for dead at the hands of gang violence. These stories constantly pass us by. I admittedly became numb for some time to such atrocities. It’s easy to look past a subject unless it directly impacts you. But please take a moment to understand that these names were human beings like you and I. That girl caught in the crossfire woke up thinking it would be another day. I could go to sleep tonight never to see this article go live on the site. Don’t lose the time that we live in. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, sing that music a little louder and stop caring about what your classmate thinks about your shoes. This blessing of life can go away in a moment.
I’m not here to promote anarchy or civil disobedience, or saying to go throw your life away pulling off a stupid stunt. I’m saying to adopt a sense of gratitude. Appreciate that which you are fortunate enough to have. Strive for the future, fight for what you believe in and embrace yourself. Worry not about the little things. Wake up with a smile knowing that you get to see that blue sky because there’s people in their death bed. Dance on those two feet because there’s someone out there who can’t walk. Love each other because there’s people out there wasting this short time on hate.