My mother who is in her late 50’s has decided to do the Camino De Santiago trek across Spain, I think it’s about a 10,000 mile walk. She is not an adventurous soul, she has never trekked or camped, so this is a real step out of her comfort zone and a new and different experience for her.
She needs to get used to walking long distances and wear in those shiny new hiking boots, so in solidarity, my daughter and I decided to join her for some of her training. I carefully planned a 3-mile walk last weekend, in the picturesque countryside with the added benefit that I’d get some exercise too.
The walk was easy, the moaning of boredom started from daughter about 30 minutes into the walk. I attempted to enjoy the surroundings, while finding myself getting more and more irritated by my daughter asking ‘how much longer’, while I bribed her with the possibility of an ice cream at the end of the walk. Not the best example of good parenting, I know.
On the last leg, we came to a clearing in the woods where a chap was offering opportunities to climb a very tall tree that you needed the full climbing gear for. My daughter, who likes to state that she is not sporty and would prefer to read a book, took a look at the tree and said ‘I want to do that’.
As you can imagine I was surprised. I don’t know if it was the thought of walking another mile, that made it look appealing to her, but when I asked if she really wanted to do it. She said this was a YOLO moment. I wasn’t familiar with the term so when I asked what that was, she said it stood for You Only Live Once, and that if she was successful climbing the tree here, she knew she’d be OK at indoor climbing walls in the future. At the age of eleven I was impressed that she was acknowledging YOLO moments, the modern equivalent ‘Carpe diem’ Latin for ‘seize the day’ but also the significance of them as a catalyst for more positive action.
Thanks to a very encouraging instructor, she climbed pretty high and now knows she can do it again. I was very proud.
The reason that I am sharing this story is that often YOLO moments are deemed as rare, significant, life changing events to be grasped with both hands. Instead I see them as frequent, omnipresent events that we choose to make meaningful.
You may know someone squeezing the YOLO moments out of life and I am excited for them. It seems people seek them so that they can experience more YOLO moments and they are high on the experience of life and thriving. At times, I am exhausted, just reading their twitter feed, occasionally I feel inadequate in their presence.
You can seek out YOLO moments and if you do I guess you notice them more. Or you can wait for them to appear to you in a clearing in the woods like my daughter. Both can be good.
More importantly you can choose whether or not this YOLO moment is for you, because I believe that if you miss one others will appear. Consider my mother who I started with, the YOLO moment she has chosen to accept is happening later in life. I am not saying lay back and let life happen to you, but I am saying you can decide which mission you choose to accept; it doesn’t have to be every one and probably better if it isn’t.