From 2012 to 2014, it seemed America’s mantra had nothing to do with any sort of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” mumbo jumbo, or even “liberty and justice for all.” For two years, American stood for something simpler: YOLO. Born around 2004 and short for “you only live once,” YOLO is the late capitalist predecessor of carpe diem, the rallying cry of a Millennial culture tired and frustrated with burdens of the economic crisis and the constant nagging of doddering New York Times op-ed columns. While the sentiment may be admirable, the term has been misused and overwrought. YOLO has essentially become the over-used watchword for every toxic manifestation of masculinity looking to throw off the crushing yoke of personal responsibility. But, at its core, YOLO is also the current manifestation of a fundamental human sentiment: I want to live my life without regret.
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