As a lot of you know, my dad and I write every news and sports story for the Slidell Independent newspaper. It is something we love to do, and I think that few people can say they love their job. I’m blessed to have such a great working experience.
My dad and I also handle other aspects of this newspaper that no one would think about.
For example, I type up the obituaries every week. I’ve been doing it for over a year now, and it’s changed my viewpoint on life. Every week I have young people who pass away and old people. The part that really gets to me are the middle-aged people who pass away.
Last Monday I got a text from one of my college basketball teammates. She told me that one of my other college teammates, who is also one of my best friends, just lost her dad. He had a sudden heart attack and died two days after my friend’s 29th birthday and just a few months after his granddaughter was born.
Seeing people pass away suddenly at all sorts of ages has really made me think.
A new acronym has popped into our society. Unlike “LOL” or “ROFL,” it’s something I’ve only seen among teenagers and young college students. They say, “YOLO” a lot, which means “You Only Live Once.” As a Christian, I believe there is life after death so I don’t believe you only live once. However, I think the saying is something good to remember for this life on Earth. It means take advantage of every day; don’t go to sleep with any regrets.
I’ve seen a lot of young people take this phrase and turn it into the thought that they should do anything they want because they only live once. I don’t think that’s what YOLO should mean. Because what if you live to be 100 years old? So you get a lifelike tattoo of Lil Wayne on your arm and spend every paycheck on fast food because you never know when your last day will be? That’s not smart. But YOLO should mean you spend time with your family every opportunity you can, you help people when an opportuniy arises, you try your hardest in school and in college and in sports because it’ll better your future. Not living with any regrets should mean you made the most of the time you had on Earth with the people who mean the most to you. Don’t waste moments doing idle work. That includes doing things that aren’t allowed whether it be through the rules of school or the government.
A lot of you are just weeks away from graduating high school. Are you going to live for what matters most in life? Or are you going to waste time on things that will not benefit you? Student-athletes have to focus on this concept even more because they have a very time-consuming project to handle outside of class. In high school and college, if you use your free time on things that will not benefit you, there will always be regrets. Student-athletes only have time to go to class, practice, do homework, a few chores and sleep. So if you are spending time on other things, then you are flirting with losing focus on the things that will benefit you the most.
You only live once on this Earth, that is true. So make the most of it, but make the most of it on things that matter. Not on drugs or alcohol or other trouble. Be smart this graduating season.
(Chrissy Smith is Sports Editor of the Slidell Independent, and a former college athlete. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)