The One Health Excuse That Makes Me Flip Out Inside
Hit singer Drake birthed this now popular phrase and if you have been living under a rock, have never used the internet, or are over the age of 60 and don’t know what it means, the acronym is short for You Only Live Once. While this is a wonderful reminder to seize the day and step away from your fears, when it comes to housing a stack of deep fried Twinkies and a sack of White Castle sliders with a liter of soda because you only live once, I call bullish*t on YOLO.
A scenario recently prompted me to write this post. An almost daily occurrence happens at work around lunch time. My co-worker re-heats last night’s leftovers in a plastic tupperware container. After the 1,000th reminder from me that she shouldn’t heat up her meals in plastic containers because poisons will leach into her food (yes, I know, I just can’t keep my mouth shut), she finally snapped. “We’re all going to die from something! If I want to heat up my lunch in plastic I’m going to! I’m 32 years old and I’m not going to change now! If I want to chug a bottle of Coke after I’m done eating I’m going to do that too- GOD!!!” While she didn’t exactly utter the phrase, “YOLO”, the statement “we’re all gonna die from something” is basically the same thing.
I don’t exactly disagree with this whole sentiment. I’m fully aware that we do only live once. Something is eventually going to kill us all, so why not do whatever we want to do, right? I’m all about personal freedom. However, using this excuse to treat your body like a stinky dumpster really gets my teeth grinding. That, along with the refusal of change. The way I see it, life is a gift. It’s the most amazing gift we can ever begin to fathom. Using the phrase “we’re all going to die from something” and then bombarding our bodies with substances we know very well will cause us harm, is ludicrous. Imagine this. It is Christmas morning (Or Chanukah, I’m not picky), and you have one last present to open. You rip off the paper and ::gasp::! It is the brand new iPhone 7, or keys to a Lexus convertible, or a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, or tickets to the Super Bowl, or whatever gift you can imagine that would make you scream like a 5th grade girl. Would you take that cherished present and yell YOLO and throw the iPhone off your roof? Or smash the headlights of your Lexus convertible? Or fill your Louboutins with dog turds? Or set your Super Bowl tickets on fire? Of course not. That would be insane. Why would you ruin something that would give you massive amounts of happiness?
Just because eating bad food/smoking/not exercising won’t kill you as fast as say, jumping off of a cliff, those decisions are still killing you. To me, YOLO and “we’re all going to die from something” in reference to health related decisions are the ultimate lazy excuses. What you are really saying is that you refuse to change because you are too scared of what might be a challenging journey. You don’t want to try to do better because you might fail. You are too comfortable in your current, stagnant, mediocre existence to push your limits as a human being. You don’t care at all about the quality of your life. You are settling.
This might sound harsh, and honestly, I want it to. If we treated our bodies as well as we treated our most prized possessions, we would never dream of polluting it the way we do on a daily basis. We need to wake up and respect what the Universe/God/Evolution/Big Bang/Aliens/Monkeys have allowed us to be. Let’s ditch the lame excuses and do something more exhilarating than ripping 15 tequila shots and eating 5 slices of late night pizza. We are better than that. Our lives deserve better than that. Our bodies deserve better than that. I’m almost positive that if you were on your death bed a the age of 45 from a massive heart attack, you would have rather YOLO’d by taking the trip of a lifetime, or pursuing your passion of racing motorcycles, or spending more time with your loved ones. As your life flashed before your eyes, I doubt you would be reminiscing fondly about every Big Mac you ate and all those cigarettes you smoked.
Yes, we’re all going to die from something, but I would rather die knowing I was truly cherishing the kick-ass life I was given. At the very least, I want to treat my body well enough that I can execute another handful of international trips before I croak. So before you radiate your food with poisons in the microwave or eat that second bag of Taco Bell, instead of saying YOLO, ask yourself AIHMAG (Am I Honoring My Awesome Gift)? Ok, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly as YOLO, but what do you want from me? I’m not Drake, jeez.