In 2013, the average American #YOLO (You Only Live Once) is a filtered, low-fi picture on instagram “liked” by 76 of your closest frenemies and, for some reason, your aunt.
You are dressed like a bunny, collapsed on the floor of an off-campus apartment by a keg after your second failed attempt at upside down-twerking. You are soaked in beer and you are dusted in what hours earlier may have been… Cheese Puffs, I think. Your roommate has drawn a penis on your forehead in black Sharpee, and you are laughing, still, because these are the greatest years of your life. You flash an ironic gang sign. CAPTION: rage, lol #mystruggle #college #yolo.
Okay. I mean, Jesus Christ, people. But okay.
Now pick yourself up and towel off. Here are 19 better #YOLOs for 2014.
1. Today I bought a samurai sword. #YOLO
The best time to begin ninja training was probably 25 years ago. But the second best time is today. Plus, while it may take you a while to develop your skills to the point of Quentin Tarantino’s Bride in Kill Bill, you can start carrying it around with you right now. And “Go ahead,” you can say to the snarky asshole laughing at you on your way to work, “make fun of the guy with a katana strapped to his back. I fucking dare you.”
2. I’m reading Les Misérables. In French. #YOLO
Language, bitches. Learning a new one, conquering an incredible work of fiction forged by its native culture, and seizing every opportunity afforded you to remind your trust fund-y third cousin Sara that “Oh, yeah, it’s such a great work. But Hugo is really so much better in French, you know?” She doesn’t know, because she doesn’t know French. But who’s fault is that? (Bitch.)
3. I entered that strange shop with the white rabbit painted on its door this morning. #YOLO
For the last three years, you’ve passed it every day on your way to class. Today, you finally went in. There was a man at the counter in a top hat, a velvet coat, and tiny, silver spectacles. He put down his hookah and smiled. You weren’t scared. This all felt so… familiar. You knew this man, somehow. You liked this man. But why?
“You made it, after all,” he said. “We’ve been expecting you.”
4. I’m having a drink with my father in the name of my father’s dead friend. #YOLO
You’re both laughing, though, recalling the story of him, and honoring the man’s memory, this crazy teacher friend, Zed, who needed your dad to drive him to work because he lost his license drunk driving. It was just the one time, but still.
“What did he teach?” you ask.
“Oh,” says your dad, “drivers’ ed.”
5. I chased a criminal down the street with my samurai sword this evening. #YOLO
Your friends told you not to do it ever again, holy shit, what is wrong with you?! He could have had a gun, that guy! He could have hurt you, that guy! But you realized ‘that guy’ was just, you know, a guy, and you were just a guy as well. A guy with a motherfucking GIANT sword because #YOLO. Once victimized by criminals, you are now their greatest nightmare. And what does a world look like where everyone fights back, you wonder. “What does a world look like where the criminals are afraid of US?” you shout-ask your friends in a poorly-lit basement before your weekly fight club.
You will chase a criminal down the street with a samurai sword again, probably.
Next time, you decide, you will do this at night, in a mask with bat ears.
6. I’ve started dressing like the protagonist of a science fiction novel. #YOLO
You are girl — wearing leather boots and a sundress. You are wearing black lipstick, black nail polish, and thick, black eye liner. You are wearing what looks like an old revolver that hangs from a leather holster on your waist. If you were actually the protagonist of a steampunk novel, it would not really be an old revolver. It would be a painful noise-making thing, and you would also have a little wing-type contraption hidden underneath your outfit that would produce for you, whenever you said the word “SKYMODE” very loud and intensely, a pair of giant, metal wings. Since you are not actually the protagonist of a steampunk novel you have simply amplified the already-awesome nature of your leather boots-and-sundress outfit with a script tattoo — “sonic” in lightning-wild black script on the inside of your left wrist, “boom” on the inside of your right wrist. You wear a wing charm on a long chain that dangles from your neck and tell people that it was a gift from Hermes. You do not laugh when you tell them this.
You are a boy — dressed exactly like Neo from the Matrix. You have also started speaking more purposefully.
7. Oops! Bought a motorcycle. #YOLO
The real reason that there are no seatbelts on motorcycles is people who drive motorcycles are agents of death who fear nothing, and especially not ‘The Man.’ If the government told people who drive motorcycles to start wearing seatbelts, people who drive motorcycles would laugh in their face and then burn the entire country or maybe the entire world to the ground just for fun. That is what comprises the character of people who drive motorcycles.
You are now ‘people who drive motorcycles.’
You know what’s at risk. You could die at any second. There is a very good chance that driving a motorcycle is terminal. “But guess what,” you scream at the top of your lungs, “LIFE IS TERMINAL.”
And you want to feel the wind on your face.
8. The entire concept of dating is a farce, so fuck that whole thing, actually. #YOLO
Collapsed on your bed, drunk and very stoned and everything was spinning and is that door… pulsing, there, kind of?, you considered your most recent failed attempt at dating. It was time consuming. It was emotionally unrewarding. The worst part seemed to be that people were feeling sorry for you because it ended in this pretty messed up way where the guy you were dating is now dating a friend of yours (lol?). You were in that place. You were stewing in that, sort of, looking at the kind of-pulsing door. But then out of nowhere it hit you.
“Wait,” you said. “Wait just STOP. OKAY?”
To the kind of-pulsing door, you said this.
Because you now understand that all you really want is to be awesome at shit. You’re already kind of awesome at a lot of shit but you could be far more awesome, at far more shit, given enough 1) time, 2) resources, and 3) will. Dating is the exact opposite of all three of these things, which you see clearly for the first time. Dating is, at its perilous Loki core, the lobotomy of aspiration.
How will you ever be able to build a robot the size of your house that you can ride in if you’re dating? The answer is, simply, you will not ever be able to do this thing. And you don’t even want to date! Society wants you to date. You want to build a giant robot.
This is the year that you will build that giant robot.
9. And love is pretty obviously a psychological disorder, while we’re on the subject, so fuck that too, probably. #YOLO
Let’s be real, you guys.
10. But at the exactly right moment, when our eyes met and I felt that cold drop in my gut, I grabbed that guy and I kissed him. #YOLO
Not for fear of being alone, not for lack of control in love’s blind grip, but because you found yourself in a moment, and you knew that it was yours to claim.
After the impromptu pillow fight that everyone after-the-fact made fun of but only because they didn’t know about it, probably, because what kind of dark-souled monster from hell doesn’t like a pillow fight in the park with friends?, you stood warm, spent, and covered in a heavy mat of sweat-drenched feathers. He was wearing a Starting Line t-shirt. You were standing very close.
“That was fun,” he said.
“Yeah, that was really crazy,” you said.
You were sort of allies for a while in the pillow fight. He swallowed. You stepped a little closer, but were very smooth about it. He didn’t move. You touched his hand, but were SO smooth about it, holy crap. He didn’t move. There was nothing to fear, here, you realized. There never was. You leaned in, and you kissed him.
“Break’s over,” you said.
Then you turned around and walked back to the shed where stands the half-built giant robot of your glorious future.
11. I learned how to roast a chicken. #YOLO
Time on this planet is short, and you are tired of eating like an orphan, okay? Your name is not Annie. Your name is not Oliver Twist, for god’s sake. And you did not “cook,” today. Today, you prepared a meal.
Then you ate that meal with a fork + samurai sword because “the question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” (Ayn Rand)
12. Sorry, I only hang out at clubs with an elevated throne at the edge of the dance floor that I can chill on. #YOLO
Reminder: ninety years of life, MAYBE. If you’re going out, you believe that it had better be for something good. Is a club owner somewhere willing to acknowledge that you are basically royalty and also love, love, love True Blood and especially the way that Eric sits on his thrown and watches Sookie with such intense, sexual longing? Then fine, it’s been a long while since you spent an evening surrounded by drunken fools. “Let’s get nasty,” you say, and you roll out with your crew in a bright yellow Hummer. But if this club is not respecting your next-level status on this planet, you don’t need to be there, is your point.
You have a three quarters-of-the-way built giant robot to finish and a short ass human lifespan to do it in. You do not. have time. for bullshit.
13. Hi. I shook a kangaroo’s hand this afternoon. #YOLO
You loved it. The kangaroo loved it. The shy little girl with the funny hat watching you behind her mother’s skirt especially loved it.
The zookeeper did not love it but screw him, honestly, it was worth it.
14. I’m a professional DJ, now. Please adjust your conception of me accordingly. #YOLO
Sure, you have a lot of irons in the fire. But you only get one shot, “do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo.” If you don’t do this now, you never will. So if anyone needs you, you’re dancing like a freak on a small mountain of speakers with an astronaut’s helmet specially fitted to pump in headphone-quality sound while you ride that chill ass flo.
“Oh by the way,” you casually drop the next morning over coffee. “Starting immediately, my name is Charmageddon.”
15. I worked out like a freak for a year, ate right, and now I look like Captain America. #YOLO
You have six-pack abs, now, and it makes the world uncomfortable. But you haven’t had a piece of cake since you birthday three years ago, so, to be quite frank, you don’t give a shit how it makes the world feel. You didn’t do it for the world, you did it for you. You’re taking off your shirt. Literally right now, you are taking off your shirt. And you are maybe NEVER putting your shirt back on. (unless it’s pretty cold out; yolo, dude, you have to be careful — you don’t want to catch a cold!)
16. I’m having lunch with my mother, and we’re imagining the future together. #YOLO
You think it might be pretty nice!
17. I’m spending the night in with a pint of bourbon, listening to the White Stripes, and unfriending with vigor. #YOLO
Life is precious. Your time spent associating with people is precious. Why would you waste it FOMO-battling basic bitches in your newsfeed? You don’t like these people. Where did they even come from? Are they friends of friends? Are they from that time you — wait no seriously, you can literally not remember how this person became your “friend.” Elementary school? Were they from… no, never mind, you don’t care.
Glass, rocks, whiskey. Volume up. Whoever it was who said that one should never burn down bridges clearly never had a Facebook account.
18. I went swimming naked in a hot spring in a haunted-looking forest in Japan. #YOLO
Travel! New experiences!
You’re a little dehydrated, now, and you can’t find your pants. But you regret nothing.
19. I got up this morning, and it was exhilarating. #YOLO
Because on this rock that falls around a star, in a swirling mass of billions more, a cosmic spiral of size unfathomable to man, itself dwarfed by millions, perhaps billions more, this great, impossible thing we call the universe, origin unknown, destiny unclear, you have awoken with life. It is wild. It is unexpected, sometimes, and serendipitous. It is carefully, painstakingly planned, sometimes, and designed. But it is strange, and it is beautiful, and your hunger for it never ends.
“I want to see it all,” you shout.
The mountain and the monument alike, to climb and to build. To laugh, to dance, and to adventure on.
“Show me everything!”
It’s 2014, friends. Make it shine. #YOLO.