Blog, Environment, Relationships, Self, Society

YOLO revisited

Aloy Chua (2006)

It’s 11:30 pm and I had coffee several hours ago to perk me up and write this, among others. I just finished a half-hour (or so) of scanning and documenting invoices, having in turn come from a brief afternoon of reviewing Chinese. Before that, I had some clothes altered in Marikina and suggested design improvements to a new shoe style, having come from the gym.

I’m also twenty-six years old, and living the entrepreneurial life – that is, a post-university career of personal, psychological, and financial risk. Not the overnight success type of entrepreneurial life, but rather one where I solder on in the face of uncertainty, reaping modest rewards, and turning to pivots in order to multiply said rewards, which can in turn be and will invested into greater opportunities. And, by the way, my first two years out of college were (much) less about earning than on learning wisdoms of the ages and exploring things I believed in fervently, essentially having served as a full-time volunteer with a little business on the side.

Regrets? Except for having zero savings out of college, and being too damn nice for my own good, none.

Somehow, I have managed to not only stay sane in this roller-coaster ride of a young life, but also dream both for myself and for others in different ways. For six and a half years (and proudly counting!), I have attempted to live my life more selflessly, more consciously, more responsibly. Concrete, if not tiny, steps in my career were taken towards building an inclusive, sustainable society that would be Shangri-La on earth – a world free of social injustice and environmental death.

Perhaps not the way I first thought I would, but I’d certainly be contributing to building the Kingdom of God on earth.

This, I joyfully reflect, is my approach to genuine YOLO.

For many, especially the young ‘uns like me, YOLO is ticking off all the items on their bucket lists. It’s like the Muslim hajj became a principle applied to every other aspect of life: at least once in their lives, they go places or experience things that would present themselves as an outlier in one’s comfort zone or even financial behavior – for the reason of wanting to live with no regrets, accepting the offers of the world before it’s too late. Sayang, we’d say here in the Philippines (“What a waste.”), if we do otherwise. The Try Guys, for example, have Tried a lot of experiences I genuinely envy and want to try myself – and they have a mission behind many of those, such as raising awareness on men’s health, bridging different cultures around the world, or understanding what womanhood and motherhood are like.

Usually, it’s travel. Makes perfect sense, as every place in the world is unique, and travellers invest in experiences and memories rather than material goods. I’m a traveller myself (the few opportunities a year I get to do so, at least), and not much else stirs up my heart that way. At least we’re not being materialistic, right? Right!

But what the past six and a half years have taught me is that we can go beyond these glories, we can go deeper. Further up and in, as Reepicheep says in The Last Battle, the last Narnia book. We can go beyond ourselves and our loved ones, and include in our bucket lists the wider community and world we operate in.

(Read more: A different kind of bucket list)

I’m devoting this year – and the following ones – to learning new things and experiences. For instance, I want to learn how to ride a motorcycle, and develop my own recipes from relative scratch. I also want to take solo trips, with an upcoming trip with my best friend the closest I have to it so far (besides my four months in Paris on exchange while still in university, and even then I barely took solo trips). Definitely, these are bucket list experiences for me.

But if I had to strictly choose just one, this list would not be it. It would be my primary YOLO list: my dreams for the world, realized through education, entrepreneurship, writing, speaking, and consulting. I would invest my energies and resources there, reaping rewards shared a hundredfold with others.

The list is simple: To motivate people to care, empowering them to motivate others to care in turn, creating waves of goodness that will wash away the evils of the world and reveal the light and brilliance underneath. In whichever manner I can. Oh, and if I could live on these efforts, too. I do have bills to pay and a future to stock up for.

Even people who believe in reincarnation can take wisdom from YOLO: Their actions in this life will influence what they’re reborn into in their next lives, until they achieve nirvana. Live it the best way possible, then: for others.

To your truly best life!

Aloy Chua (2012)

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