YOLO. You Only Live Once.
Here we have another recently popular saying that has a not so recent history; although the Canadian rap artist, Drake, would like to think he invented this catchy phrase (good luck trying to trademark it). He is, however, credited with the new popularity of the phrase which can be found on all kinds of merchandise. For all of you “Walking Dead” fans, try this on for size.
“So, if Drake didn’t come up with these words of wisdom, who did?” Hey! I’m so glad you asked!
This phrase can be found in slightly varying forms throughout history. In an epistolary novel, Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson around 1747 – 1749, Richardson writes, “…we live but once in this world; and when gone, are gone from it for ever.”
In the 1860’s novel ,Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky (yay for cliff notes!), Raskolnikov uses the phrase, “I only live once, I too want.”
There was a 1937 movie starring Henry Fonda titled “You Only Live Once“.
There are many more versions of this popular phrase in history. Even Schlitz Brewing Co. used the slogan during their “Gusto” campaign in 1966, “You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can!”
If you think about it and will consider all variations, the poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC) in his Odes Book I uses the phrase “Carpe Diem” which most of of have learned means “Seize the day”, but is more accurately translated to mean “Pluck the day”. Carpe diem…. pluck the day….enjoy the now…you only live once. See?
So, this simple phrase stating a simple truth has gotten a lot of use and I am sure, as we see the popularity of YOLO wane, another version with the same meaning will be ready to take it’s place.
Carpe Diem, y’all!