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Why Didn’t “Live While We’re Young” become the New YOLO?

Oct 30, 2012

Remember in middle school, when you watched all of those movies about high school and just thought “wow, I’m going to go to high school and be so cool.”But then you got to high school and nobody was waiting for you outside of the church, you never had Saturday detention with five stereotypical kids, and you never took down John Tucker or the Plastics. So you aren’t as cool as the kids in the movies, and honestly, it kind of sucks. Trust me, I’m in the same boat as you.

But it isn’t just the movies that make us want to be “cooler” and to live the story that everyone will be talking about. As teenagers, we thrive off of the idea of being rebellious and living life to the fullest because we are just old enough to make our own decisions, but still young enough to use the excuse “I didn’t know.” Because of this, when we heard “The Motto” by Drake blasting on the radios, we turned his lyrics into our credo; “you only live once” became the phrase by which we would live. It truly was our motto.

However, YOLO suffered the same fate as “winning” and “swag” – as soon as it became popular, it became annoying. “Dude! I got a C! Haha YOLO!” “Should I get another cookie? Duh! #YOLO!” I wish I was making these examples up… But finally, once everyone realized that “you only live once” isn’t a reason to make yourself a taco and post about it on Facebook, YOLO began to fade away.

But, when one door closes, another one opens. One Direction’s “Live While We’re Young” hit iTunes in late September and was downloaded 314,000 within the first week. The message of LWWY and YOLO are virtually the same, encouraging the listener not to idly let life go by, but to seize life and “never stop for anyone.” But if they are the same, why did LWWY not take off in the same way YOLO did? Why didn’t LWWY become the new, most-trended four lettered hashtag?

To try and claim “The Motto” is the more popular song would be similar to claiming that Myspace is more popular than Facebook; it just isn’t true. Once Directioners found out the name of One Direction’s newest single, they took over social media, proclaiming that they would “live while [they’re] young.” To this day, LWWY has over twice as many views on Vevo as “The Motto” has.

So what happened? Plain and simple, we were still so annoyed by YOLO that LWWY never had a chance of becoming the new internet sensation. And I know what you’re thinking, “I already knew that, genius. Why did I just waste my time reading about being bored of YOLO?” So I’ll leave you with all the wise advice I can conjure up at midnight: don’t go through high school just watching the movies about it. Whether you end your tweets or posts in YOLO, LWWY, or neither of them, don’t forget to embrace the true meanings, and not disregard them as 4 lettered jokes.

As teenagers, we’re stereotyped as people who only have fun by doing stupid, and sometimes illegal, things; but I know that isn’t who we truly are. We have fun by trying out for sports (or learning that we are better as fans than we are as players – yes, I’m included in this category) or joining a new club. We live our lives by trying what isn’t known, by exploring our surroundings to find ourselves. However, I know that there are many times when APs and SATs become too much and you believe that there is no time to go out and learn how to skateboard. But whenever you feel like this, just remember that “life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So how do you do it? How do you embody the idea of really “living”? I can’t wait to see all of your comments, and maybe we can give each other ideas and inspire one another to truly live out our teenage years.

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