16 Jun

YOLO, or Languishing?

The latest pandemic-related trend among professionals is to consider going YOLO (you only live once.) Apparently many folks are apparently neither depressed, nor really happy, but are merely “languishing” after months of relative solitude. I’m fascinated by the terminology, though not sure I belong in either camp, having lived much of my life YOLO. In fact, a friend made me a t-shirt years ago with my favorite saying, “life is not a dress rehearsal!”

The New York Times says YOLO is the feeling of many who’ve been working from home and Zooming ten hours a day. Now required to return to the office, large numbers of them are saying no thanks, and opting for more flexible, creative endeavors. Using savings accrued during the pandemic – thanks to no travel, few dinners out, less shopping, and sometimes no rent – they are rejecting traditional career paths. Instead, they are contemplating what would make them happy.

Other folks, though, are languishing, says Wharton’s Adam Grant, also in the NYT. No longer terrified by the pandemic, and not clinically depressed, they are still far from flourishing. Motivation and focus are less than usual, and pleasures are dulled. One antidote to languishing is “flow,” that feeling you get when you are in what used to be called “the zone.” You’re absorbed in an activity and your sense of time and self can temporarily disappear. For some, doing puzzles, watching tv, or playing sports creates flow. For me, it’s reading novels, yardwork, or painting.

This new painting, Honfleur, took me to another time and place. I’d been thinking about it for months, then finally got motivated, and, boom – out it came. Of course, it subsequently required multiple tweaks, from boat shapes and mast placement to building and sky colors, but I lost track of time while working on it. It “flowed” me back to a magical day in Normandy. I hope it has a transformative effect on you, too.


  1. What a wonderful way to put it, Jerry! Thanks for commenting. Not that you’d ever languish, between law, music, travel and yoga!

  2. Languishing? Maybe for a younger generation. As I was telling the senior yoga class I teach, every day is worth far more to us than for younger people because it represents a larger portion of our remaining life.

    We can’t afford to languish!

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