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You Only Live Once by Jason Vitug

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Chapter 1 Are You Living YOLO?

I used to hear YOLO more often exclaimed while shopping at the mall or taking shots at the bar.

It didn’t matter what part of the country I was in or the generations that made up the group I spoke to. People would laugh when I used the term YOLO. What was it about YOLO that elicited that response? Was it coming from a place of youthful and joyful carelessness? Or was it a reaction of nervous laughter?

Mae West was quoted as saying, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

I wouldn’t have thought that someone born in the late 1890s could capture a millennial motto so perfectly. Maybe it’s a mindset of any generation born before the turn of any century. Or maybe it’s that the desire to live a purposeful life runs across all generations.

The Millennial Experience

I am a member of Generation Y and proudly accept the word millennial to describe my generation, the first to grow into adulthood in this millennium. My baby-boomer parents worked toward a purposeful life, and I am a product of their hopes and dreams. They taught me the valuable lesson that life was hard, but life had meaning. They raised me to believe that I could accomplish anything, and that I should strive to live my dreams. Holding these beliefs to be true, I grew up with a sense of entitlement—that I was entitled to live a life with meaning.

What has happened outside of our households has influenced my generation’s view of the world and our place in it as well. ...

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