In Arabic, we literally say:

Give me life today, and kill me tomorrow.

We use it to say we should only care about the present time and forget about the future. For example, when my mother advises me against spending a lot of money on a single day, I would use this expression in response. How would you normally go about this in English?


14 Answers 14


An old Latin expression can be used in these situations: "Carpe Diem", which literally translated means "pluck/pick the day", but a more idiomatic translation would be "seize the day". It is a rather sophisticated expression.

the enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future

(source: Merriam Webster)

The Wikipedia article mentions another applicable expression which is currently very popular among young people all over the world, also in non-English countries: YOLO, an abbreviation meaning "You Only Live Once". I agree with @Eddie in the comments, it's rather vulgar, though probably less so if you write it out in full, instead of using only the abbreviation.

  • 11
    Carpe Diem means more along the lines of "don't wait, act today so that tomorrow will be better." The meaning section of the Wikipedia article agrees. YOLO, however, is often used to explicitly express disregard for consequences, so it is the better translation.
    – Vaelus
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 19:58
  • You mention Carpe Diem "literally" means "seize the day", but I believe literally it would be "pluck" the day. Minor point since your answer is great, I just wanted to mention it!
    – Behacad
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 21:04
  • That's not just Europe... (AmE speaker here)
    – AAM111
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 21:35
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    @Sara Carpe Diem has seeped into popular use among certain educated social groups, especially since the movie Dead Poets Society popularized it. However, a lot of native English speakers don't know this term. You need to be careful who your audience is. YOLO, on the other hand, is a more vulgarized term.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 6:40
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    without concern for the future One consideration: "Carpe Diem" is the motto for the Hellenists, not the Hedonists. Hellenism focuses on measured enjoyment without overindulgence ("enjoy a glass of wine every day"), Hedonists are more about indulging in every desire ("party like there's no tomorrow"). "Carpe diem" is often used to suggest a hedonist attitude but its original meaning is actually more measured than its current modern day usage implies.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 8:57

"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."

Often shortened to just:

"Eat, drink and be merry."

is common in UK English - originally from the Bible:- Ecclesiastes 8:15.

There is also a common fridge-magnet variation:

"Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet"


There is also "life is too short for X", whatever X is. For your example, "life is too short to be worrying about saving".


You could also say to your mother I'd rather live for the day.

It means that you would prefer to find your pleasure in the present moment than plan for the future.


In addition to what has already been posted, what you are describing is commonly called "living in the moment."


There's also:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present".


The Sermon on the Mount includes something similar:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Usually just the second part is quoted.

A translation into modern English (NSRV) has

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

but this isn't as quotable.


There is a James Bond movie that puts it perfectly, its called

Live and Let Die.

“live and let die” is originally a song written by paul mccartney. the lyrics refer to a young naive person saying live and let live. but after being exposed to more of the world and becoming worn down by it, he says live and let die meaning i’m going to what i want and everyone else can get screwed. Urban Dictionary - https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Live%20and%20Let%20Die

  • This is different from what OP is asking for. Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 18:02

"Don't cross your bridges before you come to them." We have to enjoy today and deal with today's problems today. We cannot deal with tomorrow's problems today any more than we can cross the river we see in the distance.


"Be the grasshopper, not the ant", which inverts the traditional meaning of the fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper".


The fable describes how a hungry grasshopper begs for food from an ant when winter comes and is refused. The situation sums up moral lessons about the virtues of hard work and planning for the future.


This quote may not capture your desire for immediate indulgence, but it does encourage us to live in the present with more courage and less worry:

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."

— Corrie Ten Boom


Similar, depending on the exact nuance you are striving for...

"Life is uncertain - eat dessert first."

meaning, I think, "Enjoy today, tomorrow may not come."

But my personal variation:

"We'll cross that bridge after we burn it."

meaning, IMHO, don't worry about things too far ahead, though that may limit your future options, or "let's just get through today".


Lots of good options here, but I don't see my favorite

Gather ye rosebuds - Sir John Herrick

This is a reference to the first line of the poem "To the virgins, to make much of time"

The full line is

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.

In other words, enjoy the present while you are young and beautiful.


I think the saying, Live It Up suggests living for the day (the moment) and not thinking about tomorrow. It isn’t exactly the same however. Someone can live it up and think about tomorrow. In fact they might even think about how they’re going to live it up tomorrow.

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