Chances are that you have heard it before in some way — you only live once. It has appeared in songs, books, and memes across the internet.
But the history of the phrase, and its contemporary usage, is complicated.
Even the full meaning behind the phrase can be complicated, depending on your perspective. To learn more about the phrase “you only live once,” just keep reading below!
“You Only Live Once” Dates Back Hundreds of Years
The first time that the phrase was used dates back to the 1700s, in a novel about a woman’s struggles in her private life. In the novel Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, published between 1747 and 1749, the main character uses the phrase. She is struggling to find happiness in her life, and describes her emotions.
“Since we live but once in this world; and when gone, are gone from it for ever,” she says. The meaning is clear — your life is precious. Always try to make the most of it.
Since then, the phrase has appeared in magazines and even in the classic “Crime and Punishment.” Finally, Drake used it in his iconic song that inspired a generation to live their best lives.
Hundreds of People Adopted the Phrase as a Way of Life
Drake, Dostoyevsky and Richardson aren’t the only creators who used the phrase to inspire others. Millions of people used the phrase, and you only live once quotes can be found in almost all kinds of media. It just goes to show that people need to hear it sometimes, to help them keep going.
Throughout the years, many people have also taken the words to heart and used them as a way to live their lives. The meaning is at the root of many philosophies that explore self-exploration and diligence. It’s akin to the Latin phrase, “carpet diem,” which inspired poets and artists everywhere.
Seize the day and make the most of your time while you have it. The next moment is never guaranteed, so make the most of the one you have.
#YOLO — Social Media Helped Bring the Trend to Life
The most recent iteration of the phrase culminated on social media, where audiences took a new meaning to it. On Twitter and Snapchat, people started posting the hashtag, #YOLO, along with videos of them doing crazy antics. The phrase would be seen next to hilarious answers on tests, and bizarre messages.
The phrase translated to social media likes. Using the hashtag, people could spread their accounts across the internet and get millions of views. The newest iteration of the hashtag had some positives and negatives.
On one hand, it encouraged people to live their fullest life and simply have fun with everything they do. On the other hand, it encouraged people to act out and cause havoc for the sake of social media engagement. The hashtag has also died down recently, but many people still use it ironically.
YOLO: Just Do It
With everything, remember that you only live once! You should try to make sure everything you do is worthwhile, since you will never get another chance to do it. If that sounds hard, that’s because it should.
The core of the philosophy says that you need to work to be happy. And to learn more about how you can achieve happiness, and learn more about the history of YOLO, just keep reading our website here!