We die daily. Happy those who daily come to life as well.
—George MacDonald (1824–1905) Scottish Novelist, Lecturer, Poet
Let us therefore set out whole-heartedly, leaving aside our many distractions and exert ourselves in this single purpose, before we realize too late the swift and unstoppable flight of time and are left behind. As each day arises, welcome it as the very best day of all, and make it your own possession. We must seize what flees.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
He has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells; and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again.
—Sydney Smith (1771–1845) English Clergyman, Essayist, Wit
Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
What would be the use of immortality to a person who cannot use well a half an hour.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
The value of moments, when cast up, is immense, if well employed; if thrown away, their loss is irrevocable.
—Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773) English Statesman, Man of Letters
In theory one is aware that the earth revolves, but in practice one does not perceive it, the ground upon which one treads seems not to move, and one can live undisturbed. So it is with Time in one’s life.
—Marcel Proust (1871–1922) French Novelist
I think I don’t regret a single ‘excess’ of my responsive youth – I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn’t embrace.
—Henry James (1843–1916) American-born British Novelist, Writer
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.
—Diane Ackerman (b.1948) American Poet, Essayist, Naturalist
When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
Catch, then, oh catch the transient hour;
Improve each moment as it flies!
Life’s a short summer, man a flower;
He dies – alas! how soon he dies.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
To-morrow – oh, ’twill never be,
If we should live a thousand years!
Our time is all to-day, to-day,
The same, though changed; and while it flies
With still small voice the moments say:
“To-day, to-day, be wise, be wise”.
—James Montgomery (1771–1854) English Hymn writer, Poet, Editor, Humanitarian
Now is the time to get drunk! To stop being the martyred slaves of time, to get absolutely drunk—on wine, poetry, or on virtue, as you please.
—Charles Baudelaire (1821–67) French Poet, Art Critic, Essayist, Translator
Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.
—John Henry Newman (1801–90) British Theologian, Poet
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
—Larry McMurtry (1936–2021) American Novelist, Screenwriter
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
All the windows of my heart I open to the day.
—John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–92) American Quaker Poet, Abolitionist
I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.
—Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) Bengali Poet, Polymath
I wish I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.
—Bernard Berenson (1865–1959) Russian-born American Art Historian
though love be a day and life be nothing, it shall not stop kissing.
—e. e. cummings (1894–1962) American Poet, Writer, Painter
Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.
‘Tis better to buy a small bouquet
And give to your friend this very day,
Than a bushel of roses white and red
To lay on his coffin after he’s dead.
Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.
—Theodor Seuss Geisel (‘Dr. Seuss’) (1904–91) American Children’s Books Writer, Writer, Cartoonist, Animator
Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.
—Wayne Dyer (1940–2015) American Self-Help Author
Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.
—Mignon McLaughlin (1913–83) American Journalist, Author
They say that time is a great teacher but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
—Lama Surya Das (b.1950) American Buddhist Scholar, Teacher
Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State