It is to live twice, when we can enjoy the recollections of our former life.
—Martial (40–104) Ancient Roman Latin Poet
When you’re used to getting just a piece of bread for a meal, you don’t realize that you can ask for a plate of pasta. You have never seen a plate of pasta. You don’t even know it exists. So, to ask for it is totally out of your reality. Hopefully, at some point, either someone shows you a plate of pasta, you read about it, or you hear about it enough so that it becomes real, and it’s not just a fantasy anymore, and then you start thinking “Hey, I want that pasta”.
—Barbara De Angelis (b.1951) American Self-Help Author
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
—L. P. Hartley (1895–1972) British Writer, Critic
We do NOT know the past in chronological sequence. It may be convenient to lay it out anesthetized on the table with dates pasted on here and there, but what we know we know by ripples and spirals eddying out from us and from our own time.
—Ezra Pound (1885-1972) American Poet, Translator, Critic
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
—George Orwell (1903–50) English Novelist, Journalist
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92) British Poet
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
—John Wayne (1907–79) American Actor, Director, Producer
Forget the past. No one becomes successful in the past.
The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.
—Thomas L. Holdcroft
Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.
—Oprah Winfrey (b.1954) American TV Personality
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State
Who so desireth to know what will be hereafter, let him think of what is past, for the world hath ever been in a circular revolution; whatsoever is now, was heretofore; and things past or present, are no other than such as shall be again: Redit orbis in orbem.
—Walter Raleigh (1552–1618) English Courtier, Navigator, Poet
If you must cry over spilled milk then please try to condense it
That past which is so presumptuously brought forward as a precedent for the present, was itself founded on some past that went before it.
—Anne Louise Germaine de Stael (1766–1817) French Woman of Letters
The next day is never so good as the day before.
—Publilius Syrus (fl.85–43 BCE) Syrian-born Roman Latin Writer
The illusion that times that were are better than those that are has probably pervaded all ages.
—Horace Greeley (1811–72) American Elected Rep, Politician, Reformer, Editor
Clinging to the past is the problem. Embracing change is the answer.
—Gloria Steinem (b.1934) American Feminist, Journalist, Social Activist, Political Activist
We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.
—Joan Didion (1934–2021) American Essayist, Novelist, Memoirist
Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.
—Wendell Berry (b.1934) American Poet, Novelist, Environmentalist
Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity.
—John Adams (1735–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
The rewards in life go to those who are willing to give up the past
I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
You can be cautious about the future but not the past.
It would add much to human happiness, if an art could be taught of forgetting all of which the remembrance is at once useless and afflictive, that the mind might perform its functions without encumbrance, and the past might no longer encroach upon the present.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dear-bought experience.
—George Washington (1732–99) American Head of State, Military Leader
Human life may be regarded as a succession of frontispieces. The way to be satisfied is never to look back.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.
—Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) American Head of State
The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.
—Henri Bergson (1859–1941) French Philosopher, Evolutionist
When I wanted to understand what is happening today, I try to decide what will happen tomorrow; I look back, a page of history is worth a volume of logic.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) American Jurist, Author
It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
—George Steiner (1929–2020) American Critic, Scholar
They spend their time looking forward to the past.
—John Osborne (1929–94) English Playwright, Actor
Danger past, God forgotten.
I know the past, and thence I will essay to glean a warning for the future, so that man may profit by his errors, and derive experience from his folly.
—Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) English Poet, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist
The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.
God has no power over the past except to cover it with oblivion.
—Pliny the Elder (23–79CE) Roman Statesman, Scholar
Look back, and smile at perils past.
—Walter Scott (1771–1832) Scottish Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Lawyer
Age and sorrow have the gift of reading the future by the past.
—Frederic William Farrar (1831–1903) English Clergyman, Writer
The good old days were never that good, believe me. The good new days are today, and better days are coming tomorrow. Our greatest songs are still unsung.
—Hubert Humphrey (1911–78) American Head of State, Politician
That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.
—William Wordsworth (1770–1850) English Poet
Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you.
—Satchel Paige (1906–82) American Baseball Player
To design the future effectively, you must first let go of your past.
—Charles J. Givens (1941–98) American Self-Help Writer
The destruction of the past is perhaps the greatest of all crimes.
—Simone Weil (1909–1943) French Philosopher, Political Activist
To be able to look back upon one’s past life with satisfaction is to live twice.
—Martial (40–104) Ancient Roman Latin Poet
The Past lies upon the Present like a giant’s dead body.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
Nostalgia combines regularly with manifest respectability to give credence to old error as opposed to new truth.
—John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006) Canadian-Born American Economist
I demolish my bridges behind me … then there is no choice but forward.
—Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Norwegian Explorer, Biologist, Oceanographer
The past but lives in written words: a thousand ages were blank if books had not evoked their ghosts, and kept the pale unbodied shades to warn us from fleshless lips.
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803–73) British Novelist, Poet, Politician
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
—Frank Herbert (1920–86) American Science Fiction Writer
Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.
—Denis Waitley (b.1933) American Motivational Speaker, Author