When I was little, my mom always told me to live my life to the fullest. That I was going to grow up and be an adventurer, someone who got out and made my life out to be the best it could. Something she never got a chance to do. So she would tell me ‘YOLO’ when I couldn’t do something. When I was scared. When I was nervous. When I had the chance to do something, and didn’t. When someone tells you ‘You Only Live Once’ it makes you think.
There are many incidents where people could think to themselves ‘YOLO’. Especially when there is something spectacular that is a once in a lifetime chance, that maybe you’re too scared to accomplish. And if something went wrong, well at least you did it instead of wondering for the rest of your life “what if”. I guess there is always two sides to a story. In this case you could say its ‘YOLO’ or ‘what if?’ … Which one is it going to be? You can’t live your life wondering what if when you could’ve had the time of your life.
There was one particular time where I thought to myself ‘YOLO’ and it paid off. My first roller coaster. I was deathly afraid of roller coasters. Always the ‘what if’ point of view. The rest of my family loved roller coasters. I was always thinking that as soon as it goes in for that big turn that someone was going to fall off. Someone was going to come hauling down to the ground like a comet. So I didn’t want to take any chances. But how many times does that ACTUALLY happen? So one day my family and I went to Worlds of Fun. So I thought, “Well this should be fun!”. WRONG. They all wanted to ride the big roller coaster. And being the party pooper I was, decided to sit it out, making one of my family members disappointed having to sit with me rather than on the ride.
My mother was the one who sat it out with me. “Honey, nothing is going to go wrong. You need to think ‘YOLO’ and just go for it. Be the adventurer I always knew you’d be.” So I thought ‘YOLO’. You only live once … live life to your fullest … do what you can while you can. She always told me I was an adventurer but I wasn’t proving it. Not today. I must have been a disappointment. I didn’t want to be a disappointment. So the next time we were going to ride the roller coaster, I sat front seat. Gripping the railing until my knuckles were white, the ride started. Gaining anticipation from the slow speed of the roller coaster on the way to the top. Then we hit the top. “Oh no …” I thought. But it wasn’t that bad. It was actually fun. I didn’t fall out of my seat. I didn’t go hurtling to the sidewalk like a comet. No. I could feel the wind on my face and the feeling of free fall like when you’re in an elevator. Oh the freedom! So when the ride was done, I smiled to my mom and said “On to the next one!”
She always told me that I was going to grow up to be an adventurer. To live my life to the fullest. To take chances when I could and find an adrenaline rush out of everything. I was going to make my life out to be something great. I was going to think ‘YOLO’ because that’s who I was. And that’s what I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.