YOLO

Community Foundation Higher Ground 0 Comments

Today’s texting and tweeting world is experiencing an unprecedented, and rapidly spreading, epidemic of acronyms. One of the most frequently used is LOL, which can mean either “lots of love” or “little old lady,” depending on the context. For the record, I am too tall and too young-spirited to fit into the latter category.

The acronym phenomenon may or may not be a VBD (“very big deal”) to you, but there is no doubt that it is here to stay. For instance, before you have finished reading this blog, the likelihood is great that YABA (“yet another bad acronym”) will gain traction in cyberspace.

Next to LOL, the most commonly used acronym these days is YOLO, which stands for “You only live once.” In hashtag parlance, YOLO is interpreted as providing the rationale for taking risks, doing whatever you want, grasping for all you can, for, after all, you only live once.

May I suggest another approach? Since we only live once, why waste our one shot at life with silliness and self-indulgence?

Instead, why not live the most authentic life possible? Why not ask what needs to be done in the world, in my city, in my neighborhood that only I can do?

Making a contribution to something that is larger and more enduring than oneself is, I believe, really the only way to live. This life that we have is, after all, the only one we get. Let’s not spend it being all closed in on ourselves, not caring about anybody but ourselves, not being what we could and should be.

Howard Thurman, one of the great preachers and moral teachers of the 20th Century put it like this, “Nobody like you has ever been born, and nobody like you will ever be born again . . . you are the only one. And if you miss the sound of the genuine in you, you will be a cripple all the rest of your life, because you will never be able to get a scent of the genuine in you.”

Finding the genuine in yourself and living into it is a VBD. Your future depends on it. So does the future of Atlanta. So does the future of the world.

Joanna M. Adams

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