LTS is the YOLO for the Over Forty Crowd

If you have been living under a rock or simply been too busy working or listening to the kids squabble, you could have missed YOLO. (You can watch this Jimmy Kimmel video to help you feel better about being so out of touch). 

It’s the current excuse to do anything you would normally not do if you were using judgment. You Only Live Once is what YOLO means, and the internets are loaded with videos of youngsters pushing the envelope to prove they’ve got what it takes to YOLO (great POV video here: warning, he uses adult language to make his point).

I suppose the upside of YOLO is it pushes you to step out of your comfort zone. And that push doesn’t have to be toward the negative.

But what if you are over forty?

Of course, we YOLOed (I’m not sure how well that works as a verb). Except back then, we called it partying or the walk of shame or spring break. Whatever the name, it was stupid, reckless, and in the past. Thankfully we are still around to talk about it – although it seems many of you have selectively forgotten your YOLO days when it comes to your kids. Maybe a few stories from your past might serve as a cautionary tale for your teens and up your “coolness factor” at the same time.  

But that’s not what this is about. It’s about a new acronym that I find myself using a lot lately, probably because I am older and I have changed my point of view: LTS. Alright, it’s not an acronym, but I tried to work some parallel structure into the story.

Life’s Too Short.

It has become my mantra and, in some ways, my salvation. It really comes from getting older because it’s not until a good friend gets sick, or you lose someone you care about, or your own body doesn’t work the way it was supposed to that you realize life really is too short! Suddenly you want to grab every moment and make it last longer. And the tolerance for trivia goes right out the door.

Relying on “life’s too short” can be dangerous and perceived as meaning you don’t care. This first batch of examples have a hint of that intention.

  • Hey Jen, can you help with the dance committee? Me: No, sorry, my client load is really big right now (and life’s too short to sit on yet another committee of adults parsing snacks and streamers).
  • Oh, Jen, you really should read this new self-help book. It’s amazing and discusses the history of man’s struggle with pathos, ethos, and parapsychology! Me: Wow, sounds fantastic, I’ll check it out (never because life’s too short to read yet another convoluted self-help book). 

Okay – those are easy. They are kind of sassy and trite, and I think we all do them. But then there are the hard ones. The ones that require me to step up take the higher road and move toward the greater good. And these are the ones I wish everyone would consider. They go something like this:

  • I am stressed out on a deadline, and Katie walks in the door with lots to tell me about her day. I might be tempted to say a short “hello” and then scramble back to work. Instead, I choose to sit down, relax and have a nice talk with her. Because life’s too short to let these moments slip by – she’ll be in college before I know it, and I will never get this time back.
  • I know I’m going to a meeting with a few people who rub me the wrong way. In a perfect world, I’d avoid it, but instead, I employ my new saying, and I show up, AND I greet everyone and relax into letting it all happen because life’s too short to let the discomfort get me down. I pay my money and take the time to do something cool – a meal at a restaurant, a movie, a special event – and I sit down and start to panic about all the things I should be doing that are more important than what I am doing. Then I smack myself in the head (internally) and realize life’s too short to not enjoy this moment right now, and not being present to enjoy it is the new walk of shame.

What do you think? Are you having this epiphany too?  

I have a good friend who shares my passion for this way of thinking. We are starting a business together, and I am ever so grateful that this is her position. It creates a safe environment for disagreement and aligns us on the things that matter most: doing our best, enjoying the process, and being delighted about the outcome – whatever that may be. 

Here’s to a great life regardless of how long it lasts!