The slightest living thing answers a deeper need than all the works of man because it is transitory. It has an evanescence of life, or growth, or change: it passes, as we do, from one stage to another, from darkness to darkness, into a distance where we, too, vanish out of sight. A work of art is static; and its value and its weakness lie in being so: but the tuft of grass and the clouds above it belong to our own traveling brotherhood.
—Freya Stark (1893–1993) British Explorer, Writer
It has always been difficult for Man to realize that his life is all an art. It has been more difficult to conceive it so than to act it so. For that is always how he has more or less acted it.
—Havelock Ellis (1859–1939) British Sexologist, Physician, Social Reformer
Every true man, sir, who is a little above the level of the beasts and plants does not live for the sake of living, without knowing how to live; but he lives so as to give a meaning and a value of his own to life.
—Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936) Italian Dramatist, Novelist, Short Story Writer, Author
In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.
—Sid Caesar (1922–2014) American Comic Actor
Life is a comedy for those who think… and a tragedy for those who feel.
—Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717–97) English Art Historian, Man of Letters, Politician
Life—No, I’ve nothing to teach you about it for the moment. May be writing about it another week.
—E. M. Forster (1879–1970) English Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist
There are chapters in every life which are seldom read and certainly not aloud.
—Carol Shields (1935–2003) American-born Canadian Novelist, Short Story Writer
Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator
Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it.
People find life entirely too time-consuming.
—Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (1909–1966) Polish Aphorist, Poet
There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.
Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that, what have you had?
—Henry James (1843–1916) American-born British Novelist, Writer
Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.
—W. C. Fields (1880–1946) American Actor, Comedian, Writer
Do not take life too seriously—you will never get out of it alive.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it. Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
—James Joyce (1882–1941) Irish Novelist, Poet
It is vanity to desire a long life and to take no heed of a good life.
—Thomas a Kempis (1379–1471) German Religious Priest, Writer
These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
Reality is the crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.
—Lily Tomlin (b.1939) American Comedy Actress
It is advisable that a person know at least three things, where they are, where they are going, and what they had best do under the circumstances.
—John Ruskin (1819–1900) English Writer, Art Critic
Every man’s life is a fairy tale, written by God’s fingers.
—Hans Christian Andersen (1805–75) Danish Author, Poet, Short Story Writer
It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it’s one damn thing over and over.
—Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) American Poet, Playwright, Feminist
I would rather think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to come together and make sense.
—Harold Kushner (b.1935) American Jewish Religious Leader, Priest
Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) American Author, Journalist, Short Story Writer
The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.
In soft regions are born soft men.
—Herodotus (c.485–425 BCE) Ancient Greek Historian
There are four things every person has more of than they know; sins, debt, years, and foes.
The enjoyments of this life are not equal to its evils.
—Pliny the Elder (23–79CE) Roman Statesman, Scholar
Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.
—Walter Scott (1771–1832) Scottish Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Lawyer
Life at the greatest and best is but a froward child, that must be humored and coaxed a little till it falls asleep, and then all the care is over.
—Oliver Goldsmith (1730–74) Irish Novelist, Playwright, Poet
The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill. There is time to hear the kind voice of friends and to say to one’s self: “The work is done.” But just as one says that, the answer comes: “The race is over, but the work never is done while the power to work remains.” The canter that brings you to a standstill need not be only coming to rest. It cannot be while you still live. For to live is to function. That is all there is in living.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) American Jurist, Author
I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) American Jurist, Author
The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.
—Florence Scovel Shinn (1871–1940) American Illustrator, Spiritual Writer
All that man has will he give for his life.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
Life is obstinate and clings closest where it is most hated.
—Mary Shelley (1797–1851) English Novelist
Everything has been figured out, except how to live.
—Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–80) French Philosopher, Playwright, Novelist, Screenwriter, Political Activist
Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique, and not too much imagination.
—Christopher Isherwood (1904–86) Anglo-American Novelist, Playwright
He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.
—The Bhagavad Gita Hindu Scripture
Don’t be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.
—Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) German Poet, Playwright, Theater Personality
To yackety-yak about the past is for me time lost. Every morning I wake up saying, ‘I’m still alive—a miracle.’ And so I keep on pushing.
—Jacques Cousteau (1910–97) French Oceanographer, Documentary Director
Half my life is an act of revision.
—John Irving (b.1942) American Novelist, Short-story Writer
One of the most appalling comments on our present way of life is that half of all the beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows. Yet a vast majority of those people would be walking the streets today, leading happy, useful lives, if they had only heeded the words of Jesus: Have no anxiety about the morrow; or the words of Sir William Osler; Live in day-tight compartments.
—Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) American Self-Help Author
People do not live nowadays. They get about 10% out of life.
—Isadora Duncan (1877–1927) American Dancer, Choreographer
All of life is a foreign country.
—Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) American Novelist, Poet
Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.
—Augustine of Hippo (354–430) Roman-African Christian Philosopher
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower. Drives my green age that blasts the roots of trees is my destroyer.
—Dylan Thomas (1914–53) Welsh Poet, Author
Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.
—Rollo May (1909–94) American Philosopher
We come into this world head first and go out feet first; in between, it is all a matter of balance.
Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find “tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, “If I had my life to live over again. “Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
—Og Mandino (1923–96) American Self-Help Author
In the game of life it’s a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season.
—Burton Hillis (William E. Vaughan) (1915–77) American Columnist, Author
For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
—William Blake (1757–1827) English Poet, Painter, Printmaker