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'Live While We're Young': A Message for the YOLO Generation

19/04/2013 14:11 BST | Updated 17/06/2013 10:12 BST

Though I only faithfully keep up with one or two shows on television, there's a specific realm of TV I can always turn to for a quick dip into the decadent. The realm of which I speak is the wasteland of daytime television filled with reality shows, talk shows and trash TV galore! These are shows you can quickly flow in and out of without committing to any plot or storyline and I must confess I watch a few.

Many of these shows, I've noticed, deal with young and crazy teens and their antics. It seems that a prevalent excuse for such behaviour is "I'm young, we teens do crazy stuff. I have to do these things while I'm young and before I grow up" or something to that effect. This is a view further popularised in the hit song 'Live While We're Young' by British boy band One Direction. Well I for one am tired of seeing 'inspirational' posts on Tumblr and Facebook about the importance of doing crazy things while we're young or having youth cited as the primary excuse for such behaviour.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, kids... but you get to live while you're old too.

In fact you get to act however you want at any age and don't, therefore, have to cram a life's worth of partying into those tender teenage years and early twenties. You can do silly things on a daily basis whatever your age may be. For example, today I'd spent the day relaxing at my home, working on one a conference paper for one of my final university assignments, whilst trying to remain comfortable. When working at home I adorn myself in the usual garb: a band shirt and pyjama bottoms, known as 'lounge pants' to some. Being a perpetual nerdy fangirl I must say that most of my collection of pyjama bottoms are comic book themed. I decided to pop to the supermarket around the corner for milk and tortilla wraps, but my pyjama bottoms were too comfy to remove and so, with a 'throw caution to the wind attitude', decided to go to the shop in my Superman pyjama pants. If anyone stopped to stare, I didn't notice. I know my mother would probably never have allowed such behaviour. I don't justify this behaviour because I'm still relatively youthful. I felt like doing something a little crazy just for the fun of it, for the anecdotes and for the DC Comic related comfort. I think it's little acts like this that bring jubilant energy and entertainment, things you should have the right to experience throughout life.

Saying 'YOLO' or referencing the need for crazy antics whilst young suggests an awareness that the act itself is probably not entirely thought through but it also suggests that crazy behaviour is a privilege of youth. This mindset of 'living in the moment/living while we're young' seems overly perpetuated and a means of regulating societal behaviour which, when you think about it, is silly. To tell someone they're too old to wear specific clothing, to act in a certain way or have certain mannerisms is to shame them.

As long as no one is implemented or injured, who are we to regulate the behaviour of others? It's time to stop age-shaming and start accepting others and their choices for themselves. Living in an age where we're so ready to judge and criticise we hear comments like "isn't she too old to wear that?", "she's a mother, it's embarrassing when she goes to parties" or "he looks like he's trying to be young and hip, how sad" which only spread negativity. Drawing a correlation between age and behaviour is to dictate societal norms and how others should behave. The only person who should have any say about your behaviour is, of course, you.

You can live it up at any age. You can go out and drink beer with friends or stay in and read a few Austen novels. You can sleep with as many people you want, or you can stay in at home with your significant other. You can get up to whatever crazy antics or simply choose not to. But to feel regulated by what we are told are societal norms shows that you're allowing arbitrary commandments to dictate your life and actions which simply isn't right.

Similarly to feel like youth is the only time to live it up and be silly is limiting as you have a full, vibrant life ahead of you and don't have to fit a lifetime of experiences into a decade. At the end of the day, as long as you're not hurting anyone (and preferably not yourself either) then where's the harm in pursuing personal happiness regardless of age?