What do bad girls do well? I would say bad girls do bad things well. MIA’s “Bad Girls” suggests that they “live fast, die young.” In fact, the song repeats this like a mantra over and over; almost like MIA is trying to convince herself she is right.
Why is living fast and dying young something to glamorize? By now most of us have heard the term YOLO: “you only live once.” We are living in a YOLO society. I did not, please take note, say a YOLO generation. The YOLO mentality reaches beyond certain age groups and engulfs everyone. This lifestyle is about being able to claim a certain reputation – sometimes even just subconsciously. It’s about wanting to be considered a risk taker, which we’re trained to interpret is living life to the fullest. Nothing is wrong with spontaneity and broadening your horizons. Actually, those are great things as long as the focus is improving yourself and experiencing new things instead of just being able to take the best picture for Instagram.
I reject the notion that haphazardly racing against the countdown clock is a “better” lifestyle than taking time to marinate in the moments that make life memorable. I think it’s better to focus on prioritizing the creation of memories and accomplishment instead of chaotically checking things off a bucket list just to say you did them. I propose we live at a reasonable pace and die at a reasonable age.
Usually when I say something about rejecting this “you only live once” mess, someone tells me that life wouldn’t be any fun. To that I say, poppycock. Going at a practical pace really just means that you’d like to live long enough (uncompromised) to be able to do more. If you’re throwing your body around precariously, never considering consequences, then you just may not be able to make it to your next big stunt.
I want to travel and experience wonders of the world as much as the next person, but I want to do it on my own terms. I think when we’re “looking for some trouble” and “stripping down to dirty socks,” (as described in Ke$ha’s “Die Young”) we remove the element of control. Living that fast puts you at the mercy of circumstance. I’d prefer to wear clean socks and live to experience fond nostalgia for the memories I’ll collect by my old age.
Obviously I’m a fan of calculated risk and semi-planned impulse. The real trick is to achieve balance. Indulging countless whimsical fantasies leaves no room to prepare for a future. Always planning and never doing, though, makes Jack a dull boy. I propose taking the concept living to the fullest and applying it to investing one’s time wisely.
Sure, buy a plane ticket and jet off to Europe in the middle of the week for no reason! Just imagine how much more awesome that could be if you have money in the bank so that when you get there you can eat crêpes instead of begging around the corner for crumbs and then having to sleep on a park bench. It might sound like a perfect scene in a movie about a starving artist, but reality will leave you stiff in the morning. You can do exciting things and make great memories without compromising safety and practicality. If you only live once, why not live smart?