February 2014 Dicta
by DAYL President, Meyling Ly

Last St. Patricks’ Day, during the annual parade on lower Greenville, I saw a young lady run down the street with short neon green shorts with the letters “Y-O-L-O” written in neon yellow across her behind. That was my first introduction to the hip new abbreviation for “You Only Live Once.” Most of the time, it’s used as a hash tag for extraordinary events and unique experiences like flying in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti or front row seats at the Justin Timberlake concert in Las Vegas. It’s also used to justify really bad decisions like a decadent foie gras burger and truffle fries right before bathing suit/trunk season or that happy hour cocktail when all you’ve had to eat all day were mini Snickers from your secretary’s candy bowl (and perhaps the neon green shorts?).

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I attended the Dallas Bar Association’s luncheon celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It doesn’t matter how many times I have heard his words, I always get choked up and inspired. Allow me to share a few of my favorite quotes from this incredible leader:

  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
  • “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

It’s amazing that his words over 50 years ago still ring true, and while it is a vastly different take than Neon-Green-Short-Shorts Lady, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in YOLO too. And for what it’s worth, I like his take better. I love his legacy of making a difference and contributing to the greater good. I am moved by his selflessness and sense of responsibility to the community. I am inspired by his compassion and commitment to action. And I want you to be too.

So if you could indulge me this year – join DAYL in our own YOLO movement. Join us at one of our monthly Generation Generosity events, where we commit to a few hours of community service. Volunteer this year with the Law Students Assistance committee or Assisting Lawyers in Transition committee as they conduct mock interviews. Visit a senior center with the Elder Law committee and play bingo with our senior citizens. Serve lunch to the homeless with the Aid to the Homeless committee.

Too hands on? Or don’t have that much time? No worries, DAYL’s gotchu. How about seeking/donating a silent auction item for the Animal Welfare committee so we can raise money for a no-kill shelter? Or coming to the Equal Access Justice committee’s Wine Tasting so we can raise money for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. And if all else fails: Send us another young lawyer at your firm or from your network.
Remember Dr. King’s words: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” We hear you, Dr. King. #YOLO

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