You only live once.
As a Muslim I would say, no, no you don’t. No offence, but this statement to me is an excuse to do whatever you feel like with a fake comfort of justifying it. It lacks conviction, discipline, maturity and depth. In today’s world it’s really easy to live your life according to others, and to claim that if everyone is doing it, it’s probably ok. This statement has no religion. Whether it be reincarnation or heaven/hell, there is an afterlife in every religion which tells us that we aren’t living this life just for the mere sake of it. Whatever we do in this life will be carried forward to the next and it is our duty to ensure that our hereafter is better than this life.
I have heard so many people tell me, you get one life, make the best of it. While I admit this is a good quote for motivation, today it is seldom used for that purpose. It is used mostly to shower themselves with meaningless nights and materialistic objects. Is that really making the best of it? Einstein said, be men of value rather than of success. I believe, whatever religion you are, you are encouraged to bring value to this world. It’s not about drifting away your life with immature “I do what I want” choices. It’s about doing something good for those around you, for the world, for the future. It’s about doing something which might seem meaningless at the time but would give your soul great value.
A big part of Islam is helping the poor and doing various charity. It doesn’t mean you have to go out and look for people, you can start with your family. Charity isn’t about money, it’s also about time. How we spend our time is important. If we really only live once isn’t it even more important to spend the little time we have wisely? Isn’t it a waste to do something meaningless if we have no afterlife? If we really only get one chance shouldn’t we make it count? I might be speaking for myself but I rather spend every precious minute I have on bringing happiness to someone else than selfishly hoarding things which will never really fill me with any happiness.
I’m not asking people to immortalize themselves by doing grand things, but leave something behind which will bring happiness to the world. Do we honestly want to be remembered as people who did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, or do we want to be remembered for our contribution to the world and our knowledge.
Finally, it comes to my ‘to each their own’ policy. If someone honestly believes that this is their one chance to experience every single pleasure in this world (both good and bad) then I guarantee I will not stop them. But I can’t help reach boiling point when they try to convince me that I should ‘live a little’ because ‘you only live once’.
The way I see it, this life is a stepping stone. I have to survive it to the best of my abilities and live according to the guidelines set by Allah (swt), then maybe, just maybe I’ll reach the next level, where real life will begin. Sure I’ll indulge in cotton candy and a lot of gelato on the way, but insha’allah I pray I never forget where real life begins.