YOLO is everything, everything is YOLO

by LesleyG on June 12, 2013

I was talking with a friend the other day and she told me that she is afraid almost all the time. Not paranoid, but afraid. Afraid of being a good wife/mother/friend/driver/worker/everything. And though fear isn’t my constant companion (assuredly my frequent companion, however), I understood. I think many of us are afraid all the time.

For me, I am more doubtful all the time. I doubt what I can do, I doubt who likes me, I doubt what I deserve. I wrestle with it, almost always. Since I’ve had lots of practice, I often win over the doubt, but it is a life-long habit and it may take at least the rest of my life to completely extinguish it. Practice is as much as I can do. But I think many of us are doubting ourselves all the time.

We are doing a lot of things to ourselves all the time. We’re feeling a lot of our feelings ALL THE TIME. We are feeling less-than for our feelings, all the time. We are feeling not quite right, all the time. And we’re letting that tell us what our value is.

This is the part I catch upon. The idea that achieving a goal, or having more money, or possessions, or perfecting a yoga pose, or getting a PR in a race, or marrying someone, or mothering someone, or falling in love, even, is what makes you worth your life. The truth I know with absolute certainty is that none of that makes you worthy. You are worthy because you are. You are just as miraculous on the days you try as on the days you do not try.

We are surrounded by the idea of “YOLO” right now, aren’t we? Work hard, play hard. Do Tough Mudders and CrossFit and get promotions and live like you’re dying, damn it. And this is such a tricky balance, because there are things I believe have saved my life. I believe I ran marathons at a time when I very much needed that in my life. I believe yoga saved my body, and my knees that would no longer bend properly at the age of 27. I get it. I get we need these challenges and, sometimes, distractions. They mean something.

They also don’t mean anything when it comes to how we value ourselves. One of my biggest dreams is to help people say “I am ____, and I run marathons and make my own cheese, and always drive the speed limit, but I am not defined by this. These things my body and mind do are just my story, they are not my value.” Because it is SO easy when we have had a great day or year to say we are great. And it is SO MUCH EASIER to tell ourselves we are not great when we’ve had terrible days and years.

Simply put, you are worth every wonderful and beautiful thing. You are not less because of a lack of wonderful and beautiful things. You are a miracle because you are. That is all.

So, yeah, doing ten one-armed push-ups is a beautiful thing. “Killing it” at the office is a beautiful thing. Sometimes I feel like the days I decide to get an iced coffee and sit with my grandmother for two hours while she talks about selling Avon for 40 years is pretty dang YOLO. YOLO it up, y’all. But YOU are the actual beautiful thing. And you’re just as great on the days you stay in bed, or reach out for help, or sigh a lot. Because you are human and breathing and HERE. I love that about you. I love that about me. We are meant to be.