I make documentaries and I’ve recently attended some cutting sessions at our editor’s house. The editor’s 8 year old son came outside to play and saw me stood on the patio, fag in hand. He asked me why I smoked and I didn’t have much of a reply for him. All I could tell him is that he shouldn’t do it, to which he assertively asked why I keep up the habit.

It’s a fair question. But then he asked: “is it because YOLO?.” I wasn’t sure how I should respond. My cigarette dropped from my mouth and fell into the dogs water. Needless to say the boy ‘told on me.’ But it didn’t matter – even if I was at risk of being punished by my own colleague for contaminating the dog bowl, the editor’s son had committed a far worse crime. The non-ironic use of YOLO is quite rightly classed as aberrant, nay amoral.

Here’s why. To some people YOLO lends as an excuse for them to do something otherwise seen as mindless and I don’t think that’s a good use of the word. YOLO shouldn’t be about drinking yourself to death or smoking or jumping off a cliff “because YOLO.” I think YOLO is as it says on the tin.

You only live once. So don’t waste it doing stupid stuff.

I’m only going to live once so I want to do it well and I want to live for as long as possible and have as little to no negative impact on my fellow human beings. I don’t want to smoke anymore, I want to eat more healthily and I want to be kinder to everyone around me because I’m only going to live once. I want to experience new things but I wont compromise if that new thing will harm me. I have more respect for someone who smokes a joint because they like weed than someone who does it “because YOLO.” If you know somethings harmful but you still do it, do it because you like or benefit from it. Not just because you want to “live your life to the full.”

In the future I want to be able to look back on a long life and celebrate the people I met and the things I did, regret the mistakes I made and admire my friends and family for supporting through them. And then I’ll die happy because I’m only gonna live once.

The boy was only a boy: I forgive him for his dangerous misuse of our subtle language. I just hope he doesn’t become influential amongst his peers in the playground or we’ll have another epidemic of YOLO. A new wave of hipsters; could this actually happen? If so what is the cause for such young children to be infected? Is it popular culture in general? Or did Drake put something in their juice boxes at lunch time?

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