You hear and see it everywhere, whether on a forum or as a graffiti tag on the wall. When you see people in the area doing the craziest things, they shout ‘YOLO.’ But what is the meaning of YOLO? Some explain that it is a lifestyle; others see it more as an internet slang cry such as SWAG or LMAO.
The truth, however, is that YOLO started living a separate life as a word, thus demonstrating a new movement and vision of experience within the youth generation. You only live once!
The meaning of YOLO as a slogan:
Y ou O nly L ive O nce
Literally translated, it means: you only live once. The slogan mainly implies that when people doubt a risky activity: doing something crazy, something dangerous or shameful, people remember that they only live once and that they can, therefore, actually make everything.
You often hear the cry in combination with a word related to indifference, such as: ‘care’ and ‘buoys.’ An example is that someone is challenged to empty a glass of vodka in one go, who thinks about it, a friend shouts: “buoys, YOLO!” The term is so powerful and inciting that the boy drinks the glass.
From internet slang to daily spoken language
In response to the word YOLO, you can indicate that today words or expressions are created on the internet and that the same terms trickle down into the daily spoken language. Think of expressions such as ‘YOLO’ and ‘SWAG’ but also ‘LOL’, a fully integrated word in society. “LOL” is only an abbreviation for the term “laughing out loud.” Nowadays, these expressions mainly come from sites such as 4chan or 9gag, where many people spread cries and take over through funny pictures.
A good example is a quote from the movie “Lord of the rings” with a picture of a character who says: “one does not simply ….” + a funny and original addition. The comic effect of this is the repetition and the fact that only the people who are members of the circle understand it.
This expression also seeps through to the daily language use of young people, and the use itself is a form to identify yourself with people with the same language and, therefore, also the same humor. A group is created in which young people use the same internet slang that other people do not understand.
The YOLO lifestyle
The rise of the YOLO cry has created a new lifestyle. Many young people start living irresponsibly or risky with the motto: you only live once, and you have to make the most of it. For example, some people see it as a positive motivation to go on great journeys or finally address the girl from their dreams. On the other hand, there are people who, because of the YOLO institution, drink that glass of vodka too much or go into bed with the first one.
This way, you can see that many interpretations are possible within the term. The agreement is that you do risky, adventurous things that you would not normally do so quickly. The lifestyle is at odds with a bourgeois ‘safe’ lifestyle and can thus be described as revolutionary. Nowadays young people want to ‘live,’ experience,
The YOLO paradox
There is, however, a principal contradiction within the YOLO lifestyle. If it is so important that people live only once and therefore take as many risks as possible, they increase the chance of ending one life soon. One could also connect YOLO to the value of life: you only live once, be careful with experience. However, at the moment, it is mainly an excuse to do the craziest and irresponsible things.
Often it causes funny situations, but sometimes things go completely wrong with rapper Ervin McKinness, he tweeted YOLO before he got into his car drunk and died in an accident. This indicates once again that one must be careful with such revolutionary irresponsible lifestyles.