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Some people who come back from the brink of death would sometimes live by this motto. Now that the world is recovering from the pandemic, more people are making the most of these words.

An acquaintance told me about their friend, Samuel. He was isolated in his apartment during the lockdowns, which led him to reflect on his life.

What if I get the virus and it kills me here and now? I’ve lived a boring life. I haven’t really done anything fun, exciting, or out of character. I’ve always been too scared or lazy to step out of my comfort zone.

He swore to change the way he lives his life.

As soon as it was okay to travel again, he booked the trips that he kept postponing. He finally went to places he always promised himself he would one day visit. He went diving, jumping off cliffs, driving ATVs, and trying out other outdoor activities.

Samuel traveled alone, which was part of stepping out of his comfort zone. It led him to meet new friends. After all, the plan was to be more open to new experiences including people. He also joined dating apps. He was a single guy exploring the world of modern dating.

“You only live once” became Samuel’s mantra. It guided his short-term decision-making process.

He indulged in things that the past version of himself would often mentally and emotionally struggle to buy—shoes, clothes, gadgets, etc. He prioritized comfort and convenience over money.

Is there anything wrong in this picture?

Some would say, “Nothing. Let him live his life as he pleases. He’s not hurting anyone.”

Others would disagree. “He needs to tone things down or he might end up hurting himself.”

There is nothing wrong with living our lives to the fullest. In fact, this is something many wise people encourage.

I came across this line in a novel by Ellis Peters, “He had never made the most of his blessings, always feared the loss, like a miser with his gold.”

Remember, we can’t bring our money with us to wherever we’re going in the afterlife. It would be a waste not to enjoy our blessings while we are still alive.

On the Other Hand

The YOLO expression peaked in 2012. Over the years, along with its positive impact, there have also been negative consequences. It became a justification for risky and self-indulgent behavior. Maybe it’s not the best reference for long-term plans.

Remember, our lives also include what lies ahead. Present overindulgences might cost us our future. “You only live once” doesn’t mean “live like you have no future.”

The key is balance. How can we presently live our lives to the fullest while making sure we get to keep doing it in the years to come? It helps to keep in mind our goals.

Perhaps instead of self-indulgence, we can focus on self-fulfillment. Maybe instead of exhausting our blessings, we can make calculated investments. 

The Parable of the Talents

We all remember this bible story.

A rich man had three servants. He gave each servant an amount of talent based on each’s ability to manage and care for them. The master gave the first two servants multiple talents and the third servant one, then told them to put his money to work so it can make more. The first two used their talents to trade and earn profit. They returned with double their talents. The third servant buried his, afraid of losing it. He ended up returning the one talent. 

Let’s not bury or exhaust our blessings. Instead, let’s use them to create more good fortune.

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