Pandemic pushes some to embrace the YOLO movement

| May 11, 2021

If you have not come across the term YOLO, then you should take some time out to get up to speed because, as they say, “you only live once”.

The YOLO mnemonic is trending faster than fake news because it is increasingly being rolled out to describe a person’s motivation to push beyond their existing boundaries.

YOLO can mean to live for the day, to wake up and smell the roses, to make your life amazing, to pursue your dreams or to live your life to the fullest.

It may also mean to do something you rarely do simply so that you have a story to tell for the rest of your life.

Like the tag lines “just do it”, “have it your way” and “seize the day”, YOLO gives us permission to indulge in our lives quite simply because we do only live once.

The reasons many of us are joining the YOLO movement are hardly surprising.

With the pandemic restricting our day-to-day activities, many of us have had extra time on our hands to evaluate if the life we have been living is the one we want to continue to experience.

This process of reflection has led some of us to conclude that a new life direction should be the order of the day.

Others have spent months living in a state of anxiety and burnout and are ready for something different in their lives – like a new challenge.

Of course, not everyone can afford to throw caution to the wind. But as we nudge closer to a way beyond the pandemic, no shortage of YOLO stories are emerging to prove that age is no barrier to change.

Spurred on by the advent of COVID-19 vaccinations, a recuperating jobs market and bolstered bank balances courtesy of a past year spent stuck at home, our appetite for living a little dangerously has strengthened.

According to a recent Microsoft survey, more than 40 per cent of the global workforce is consideringleaving their employer this year and 46 per cent plan to do so now because they can work remotely.

Some are willing to ditch well-paid and reliable jobs to start a new business and others are turning a side hustle into full-time work.

Yet others again are downgrading from prestigious, influential careers that consume most of their waking hours to less-demanding roles which allow them to spend more time with their partners, kids and pets.

There are even those who have become more vocal with their bosses by dictating employment conditions and threatening to go elsewhere if their input is ignored.

But the burgeoning YOLO movement extends way beyond our working lives.

Many are proposing to plough through their “bucket list” – the dreams and life experiences they want to achieve or fulfil before they “kick the bucket”.

The 60-year-old gets a tattoo, the 30-year-old takes time out to write a novel and 80-year-olds enrol in their very first university degree.

Others hatch plans to learn a foreign language, go on a surfing safari, participate in a triathlon, complete a mountain climb or engage in an extreme sport.

There are even ambitions to make peace with an ex-partner or estranged relative, invest in the stock market for the first time, visit the North Pole and consume unusual foods like camel hump or pig’s blood cake.

Some, of course, argue that YOLO has a sinister side, too. The acronym can be a popular choice for those who need to justify a dodgy decision like blowing your life savings on a horse race or buying a luxury vehicle knowing full well that you cannot afford the payments.

However, as an overwhelmingly positive you-only-live-once movement takes hold of our lives, only one question remains: what is your YOLO story?