Jackson Five Friday: Whatever Happened to YOLO?

Hey Friends,

I am forty-eight and although the world has changed a lot since 1972, change in recent days is supersonic. I am not someone who is resistant to change. In fact, I enjoy mixing it up. I’ve lived in my current house almost five years, which is noteworthy because I haven’t lived for five years in one place since I was seven years old. I am game for new adventures and making new friends. But I think we should resist the brisk winds of change that swirl in our culture today.

Don’t you wonder whatever happened to YOLO? How was the truth that indeed we only live once so swiftly abandoned? The cowering in homes because of a virus is mind-boggling to me. If we could stomp out viruses I’m sure we would’ve done so with the common cold, or AIDS, or the many coronaviruses that have come before. I’ll concede that you can have some success with delaying getting it, but at what cost? I appreciate the many old people who choose to continue living instead: “well, they died doing what they loved: LIVING.”

I realize that opinions are all over the map on this. I think it’s interesting to talk to people who say things like, “Well, my parents are not concerned, but his parents are ultra-cautious.” In the last few months I’ve had numerous conversations about how friends are navigating the divergence of opinions amongst their own families. But just like YOLO is a thing of the past, so is “You do you.” Instead, people are suddenly entitled to berate you about how to do you. The golden rule itself has been co-opted. It used to be you needed to consider how you would want to be treated, and then act like that. But now, it seems the winds of destructive change have re-defined it. Now, it’s you get to decide — not how you would treat someone like you — but how I should treat you. And worst of all, love has dropped out of the equation entirely. But I’m not kowtowing to this absurdity. You aren’t telling me how to live. And whether you live, cower, or bury your head in the sand is totally up to you. I’ll pray for you. I’ll even share my opinion if you happen to want it. But I will not tell you how to live your life. I’ll also, by God’s grace, continue to love you and respect you because you are an image-bearer of God. The culture demands we weigh in and affirm or condemn x, y and z. But that’s not motivated by love either. It’s motivated by the push to conform. And I’m not kowtowing to that absurdity either.

The scary thing is not just the rapidity of the fundamental change, but the lack of any pushback. Meanwhile, two friends from college have died this year. Both of them appeared to be vibrant and healthy but dropped dead — one of a heart attack and one of an aneurysm. That could be me. That could be you. We are never promised another breath, and if you haven’t experienced devastating loss, maybe spend some quality time with someone who has. Maybe they can re-light your YOLO spark.

I have a chalkboard over my kitchen table. When I bought it I envisioned myself often writing new memory verses on it. The lettering would be beautiful and the truth always new and profound. I think I’ve had the same verse in my own wretched handwriting up there for three years now. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy and terrible at follow-through, but it might because we all still need this verse, desperately.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

So, my friends, I pray you are watchful and discerning. I pray you will stand firm and strong. And I pray we will all be motivated by love, all of the time.

With Love,


P.S. I do not know the swimmer in the picture above, but she was quite advanced in age and it was 7pm in October. She was alone on an unguarded beach. I’m not sure I would take YOLO quite that far, but I let her do her.

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