Whether you agree with the accuracy of the statement “you only live once” or not, the meaning behind it is clear: make the most of what you do, and live life to the fullest. For me, as a FlameKeeper and a Kemetic, that means doing the following things:
- Living ma’at as best I can.
- Recognizing that we are all Divine* and acting accordingly.
- Taking responsibility for my mistakes (aka owning my shit).
- Trying, in future action, not to repeat the mistakes I’ve made.
Not very glamorous, I admit, and hardly the fodder to post on Twitter under a hashtag. In fact, when I did a little exploring (something I think you should do, at least once) of the hashtag YOLO (#YOLO) on Twitter, few seemed to be using it the way I do. People tag some amazing things with #YOLO – for every affirmation of friendship, or child’s first step, or road trip, there’s drunken Christmas caroling, and law-breaking, and -ist** comments. All of this is…well, you know what? It’s not my place to tell other humans not under my direct supervision what to do or how to do it unless they ask me for an opinion. And, no one has. So, I’ll give you a couple of cents on the topic and let you draw your own conclusions.
My religious path requires action in place of stagnancy, choice in place of passive-aggressiveness, and moving forward in place of looking back. I am much less concerned with what happens after I die than I am what happens in life. These things are piety in my practice – I am a pious person despite not doing the things that traditionalists would imagine because I adhere to the need to act, and choose, and move forward. YOLO, for me, fits right into that – I make a choice and follow-through and, if it backfires or goes horribly askew, I acknowledge it, regroup, and move on.
Now my choices and backfires aren’t nearly as adrenaline pumping as, say, a civilian pulling over a police officer, but they’re still the result of action. I’m not sitting back and watching things happen around me; I’m precipitating them. And that, I think, is really the point of YOLO: take that leap and make something happen in this life rather than waiting for the next. Life’s too short for regrets, even if you believe that we get more than one.
(Maybe the thrill seekers are on to something, after all.)