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by Cassidy Gillard

One night a few years ago, I was visiting Kansas from Vermont. My friend Emma and I went out to a field to get away from the light pollution so we could see the stars. As we were lying in the field, we were reminiscing about the summer and how much we missed the mountains, and the view of the stars from the ranch. Simultaneously, we looked at each other, and decided to go. At 10:30 PM we began to drive from Wichita Kansas to Gold Hill. Although the idea might seem ridiculous, the energy we got from making that spontaneous decision kept us going through the night, and we still reminisce about how free we were in that moment, and how we wish we could return to that moment of spontaneity.

YOLO became a popular phrase a while back. For a week one summer we adopted YOLO for one of our weekly wristbands. Since the moment I heard the phrase, "You Only Live Once," I have done my best to live spontaneously and encourage others to do the same. It’s true – you only live once. Regardless of anyone’s belief about afterlife, right now is the only time you will ever have right now. If you get into the habit of saying “Why not!?” rather than pondering all the possible outcomes, I think you might come to realize that the world is full of possibilities.

Spontaneity has the ability to send a rush of adrenaline through your body. Grasping onto those possibilities that then become opportunities which become growth and excitement will open your mind to things you may never have imagined being possible.

And maybe nothing will happen. It’s like Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote, "You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take." If you don’t go for it, you’ll never know if more doors will open for you, or if your life will continue in an erratic unpredictable way. But the opportunities that might await you definitely won’t be there if you don’t try.

That night, on the drive to Colorado from Kansas, Emma and I had some of the most memorable experiences of our lives. When we got to the ranch we got to make lunch for everyone who was there working. We picked up our friend from Boulder and brought her back to Kansas with us at the last second. The essence of the spontaneity stayed with us and energized us for the next week that we spent together.

The next time you’re thinking about how cool or fun it would be to…(you fill in the blank) perhaps your subconscious will begin to tell you "WHY NOT!?" Perhaps next time you’ll listen. Opportunities will arise if you listen to those ridiculous ideas. Open your mind and your heart to whatever comes along. After all, YOLO.

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