Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter there is either severe punishment or the forgiveness and pleasure of Allah, whereas the life of this world is nothing except the enjoyment of delusion. (The Noble Qur’an 57:20)
What once started as a cool trend to emphasize whatever one wanted to emphasize has now become a part of widely understood vocabulary. I first came into contact with this ‘term’ while having a conversation with my children. I am not averted to using acronyms as expressions, but this one didn’t sit well with me. Something about it made me instantly turn away. I put it way behind in my brain and went on with my life without much thought about it. In those hectic and busy days, that is how I dealt with a lot of stuff in life. I didn’t like it, removed it from my life, end of story. There was a lot on my plate and this did not make it to the top of my list of priorities. Then, lately, as I started to contemplate deeply on different aspects of life, this YOLO popped into my consciousness and it quite surprised me. After all this time….really? I couldn’t ignore it now.
As I have time and peace, I often dig deep into feelings that seem misaligned and that is when I understood why I had such a strong dislike for YOLO – because it totally goes against the nonnegotiable core belief that I hold so close to my heart…that this life is a temporary transient space and that real life starts after death. We have lived before we came to this earth. We were very alive in the ‘realm of souls’, for we were all created at the time when the first man Adam (PBUH) was created. Each soul has a destined time as to when it is released into this world and when it has to depart from this world. That departure is death. That is the one and only time we die. Our stay on this earth is a period of tests, where we are free to make choices and when our time is over, we die. That is the only death. We stay in that state until the Day of Judgement when we will be given life again and held accountable for our choices and our actions.
To me, it makes perfect sense to remind ourselves of this reality and therefore YODO, not YOLO should take a prominent part in our conversations with each other. It will keep us grounded and connected to the truth of life and death. It will encourage us to hit the ‘pause’ button before we make hasty choices that we regret later. It will encourage us to make the best of our lives. It is a short duration we have to touch the lives of others on this planet in a meaningful way, to rise above the extremely individualistic and self centred society that we live in, and extend a helping hand to a family member, a friend, a neighbour or a stranger, for in the end we are all connected by a very strong common thread, that our Creator is One. It’s the same for everyone and everything and one day we are all going back to our eternal home.
Let’s make choices that help humanity. Let’s stand for Truth and Justice for all. Above all let’s stand for ‘justice for our own souls’, because by manipulating and exploiting others, by depriving our fellow human beings of their rights, we commit a grave injustice to our own souls. Let’s remind ourselves WODO and YODO. ‘We Only Die Once’ and ‘You Only Die Once’. We will not have a second chance after that death to right our wrongs. After that one and only death, we will live forever and live with the consequences of all the choices we are making now. Let’s make the best of this time before we die, once and for all.
Let’s spread the reminder of ‘YODO not YOLO’.