YOLO is crap, yall.

I woke up this morning with a Facebook hangover. I kicked an anthill on the topic of divorce last night, and late into the evening (when my brain was foggy and grouchified) I just kept stoking the fire.

Surely, the more words I use the clearer my thoughts will become!

So I woke up, dazed and drooling, with the memory of angry comments creeping into my conscious space. Like the morning after a college party, I found my tummy dancing nervously.

“Oh, no…what did I do?”

It all started with a scroll down my newsfeed. Per the usual, a Huffpost article caught my eye. Click bait at its finest (and I bit). The title?

What It’s Like To Walk Away From Marriage At 44.

I figured there was a story. Maybe her husband was a liar and a cheat. Or maybe this was an inspirational tale of a survivor who left an abusive relationship.

What I didn’t expect, and what made me sick to my stomach, was the author’s actual reason for walking away from her 20-year covenant relationship.


After two sentences lamenting the loss of her carefully-built marriage, she proceeded to gush over how wonderful life was post-divorce.

Finally starting the journey of self-exploration with nobody to hold me back. Take that, ex-husband!

Commenters were sending Internet high-fives and back pats. I mean, good for her! She was doing what made her happy, and that’s all that mattered.

I was furious at that stupid article and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I know divorce happens. Marriages fail. Heck, it happens around me all the time–to people I love and respect. People in my family. Nothing new.

Heartbreaking, yes.

Groundbreaking? Not really.

Still, I found myself furiously ticking away at the keyboard, sending angry thoughts into internet-space. It took me a full night’s rest (and a couple of gracious friends) to find my bearings on this issue–and now I know exactly where the sandpaper met the skin.

Right here: “Divorce frees you to pursue endeavors you may have shied away from during marriage. Never athletic, I’ve recently begun practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing.”


She freaking played the YOLO card.

And I am sick to death of the YOLO culture. It started out okay enough. Like some 21st century rip-off of Carpe Diem: Life is short, so make it count.

I can get behind that.

What has completely ruined this movement for me is how absurdly selfish the execution is.

At some point, YOLO may have been Carpe Diem’s hip cousin. But now she is the narcissistic trust-fund baby who had every grand opportunity to change the world, but blew it on a good time.

You know?

If you want to get drunk and tattoo your armpits, YOLO away.

If you want to quit your job and vagabond your way across Eastern Buddha, YOLO your heart out.

Local food truck is selling cow-tongue frittatas and you wanna give it a shot? You only live once, pal.

But don’t run that YOLO flag up the pole when you walk away from a promise with your middle finger up.

This is what nobody wants to acknowledge about our culture of self-gratification: It is not possible for everybody to be happy all the time. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar. One person chasing self-gratification will leave a wake of broken hearts behind them.

Don’t believe me?

Ask the single mom who’s husband went looking for greener grass and never returned.

Ask the child who lives with grandma so their 35-year-old mother can still pretend she’s 20.

Ask the 90-year-old in a nursing home who hasn’t seen their children in three years.

We only live once, it’s true. And life may be short, but that doesn’t mean it should be spent selfishly. The richest life experiences are found in moments of selflessness. The give and take of loving others. The push and pull of making relationships work. The hard, rewarding work of keeping a promise.

If you set out in life to find the next best thing, you are bound to discover your next big disappointment.

And that is because, in this world, the greatest loves are high risk, high reward. Give much of yourself to others and you will find that joy is the highest return.

You only live once, friends.

 Live well.

About The Author


Mary Katherine is a southerner, born and raised. Growing up in Alabama, she developed an affinity for lightning bugs, sweet tea, playing guitar, and having strong opinions. She's happily married with a son (Nugget) and two fur babies. Fun facts: MK is a living kidney donor, speaks a little Thai, and has written two novels.


  1. I WAS the child who lived with Granny because my 21 year old mother had plans, and kids did not fit into those plans, and she needed to “find herself.” It was a load of crap in 1984, and it is still a load of crap 30 years later. I have been divorced twice, once due to a complete breakdown in communication while he was deployed in 2004. Neither of us was perfect, and we each had blame. My second was because my ex was verbally, mentally, emotionally, and financially abusive. It almost got physical, but I left before it went there. I was already scarred enough, and so were my kids. I am now remarried to my first husband (we no longer have communication issues). Does this mean I can no longer find things I can enjoy? Absolutely not. My husband encourages me to try new things. Does our marriage hinge on happiness? NO. We put God first, and follow His commandments, and THAT has made a difference for us.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I’m sorry to hear about your childhood struggles. It hurts my heart that children should ever suffer the consequences of parents choices. But it sounds like you have come full circle in your love life, and have landed at a very healthy place. Praise God for that!!

  2. Best. Post. Yet. And something I totally needed to hear today, specifically, “The give and take of loving others. The push and pull of making relationships work. The hard, rewarding work of keeping a promise.” Thank you for reading my heart, yet again MK.

  3. I had the exact same reaction to that article. Getting bored is the most ridiculous excuse I’ve heard to get divorced. You put into word my reaction better than I could have.

    Thank you for that!

  4. Excellent post. It is tragic to see a family crushed because of the selfish actions of others. They say it takes 33 years to finally have that “perfect” marriage. I don’t know, I’ve only been married 23 years, but I know many older couples who put the work in and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Great job!

  5. “And that is because, in this world, the greatest loves are high risk, high reward. Give much of yourself to others and you will find that joy is the highest return.” Love that! Reading your posts makes me think and be grateful for marriage, that marriage is not always happy happy happy, bu that there is hope. Thank you for sharing and beef tongue is actually pretty good! 🙂

    1. Beef tongue is good!? I can’t believe that LOL… Thank you for commenting. Marriage is hard work and it is nice to hear that there are other people in the world who still believe so.

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