Dear Hannah, Rachel, and Rylon,
I overheard someone use the phrase, “YOLO” today for the bajillionth time and it got me to thinking. YOLO. You Only Live Once. Boy it sure is true… I was at the library when I heard this phrase roll off a young ladies lips and on to a pile of other excuses. YOLO. It reminded me of the flippant phrases, “Oh well!” and “Life is short, then you die…” that teenagers used for excuses when I was young and it made me a little sad.
You Only Live Once. Yep, that’s absolutely true and because it’s true, please don’t ever use it as your excuse. Use it as your purpose! Life is short, and you do only live once, so make all of your experiences along the way count! Live in such a way that you are seeking meaning from each experience, good and bad, that comes your way. Don’t couch things that are hard under a flip, “YOLO” as if to say, “This is too hard to deal with, I’m out of here!” When homework is hard, when you don’t want to practice your guitar, when you are afraid of a looming deadline, don’t throw in the towel with a YOLO. Proclaim them YOLO because they are things worth doing with purpose and things worth doing well! Don’t be afraid of the hard stuff in school or your future job, or relationships. Seize the day! You are smart, you are kindhearted, and you are filled with a purpose! Don’t shy away from it, claim it and make it your own. YOLO! YOLO like there is no tomorrow! Do your best in what life brings you, so that when that preparation meets the opportunity God has for you, you will be able to pounce, my tigers! You only live once, so don’t live complacent and content to let your best pass you by. Don’t use that for an excuse, use it for a battle cry!
All this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have a little fun! Go ahead! Sometimes throwing caution to the wind is pretty cool, and especially when there isn’t a pile of “to do” waiting when you come back to reality. So don’t be afraid to live in the moment. You Only Live Once, so read a book for fun, put the phone or video game away when your with people you want to spend time with, splurge on something that isn’t so practical once in a while. You’ll only go to the Prom when you’re in high school, so who cares if you have a date. You’ll never have as much free time again as you have now, so spend time exploring the world. You’re never guaranteed another day with those whom you love, so you aren’t a dork if you want to like your parents. Be my otters, and make a splash! It’s a fun pond, this big world is!
I haven’t always been very good at taking risks. There have been opportunities missed because my fear got in the way. Sometimes I have made desisions based on what was easier than what was right. Thoughts like, “What if they think I’m a nerd for liking that?” “Sure it’s a bad situation, but now I’m stuck!” or “I could never be as successful at school as that guy…” have carried on inside my brain for far too many times. Sometimes it’s a challenge to embrace YOLO. I’ve found that those are the times when faith has carried me through. Faith will carry you through as well, so go ahead, my little chick. My nest is warm and will always be here, but I have not raised you to stay here. Your wings will be strong and more magnificent than mine! You can do it and when you do, I’ll be here supporting you in all your endeavors (and grinning… and probably bragging too, because hey, you’re my kid and I’m so incredibly proud!!!).
You Only Live Once… Do it with integrity and faith and with out fear.
I love you!