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Quotations about Life




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Just living is not enough.  One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.  ~Hans Christian Anderson


When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."  ~Erma Bombeck


The purpose of life is a life of purpose.  ~Robert Byrne


The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.  ~Chinese Proverb


I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.  ~Elwyn Brooks White


Life is simple, its just not easy.  ~Author Unknown


A life without cause is a life without effect.  ~Barbarella


Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.  If you're alive, it isn't.  ~Richard Bach


Life's not always fair.  Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow.  ~Cherralea Morgen


The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.  ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden


I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it.  ~Jack Handey


Life is a foreign language:  all men mispronounce it.  ~Christopher Morley, Thunder on the Left


Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee,
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
~Robert Frost, "Cluster of Faith," 1962


In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.  ~Kathy Norris


To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.  ~Emily Dickinson


Yes, I will try to be.  Because I believe that not being is arrogant.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Life is the hyphen between matter and spirit.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.  ~Ashleigh Brilliant


I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.  ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes


You fall out of your mother's womb, you crawl across open country under fire, and drop into your grave.  ~Quentin Crisp


As we struggle to make sense of things, life looks on in repose.  ~Author Unknown


I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it.  ~Charles Schulz


Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.  ~Arthur Miller


Life is like a blanket too short.  You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.  ~Marion Howard


Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.  ~Author Unknown


You can't escape history, or the needs and neuroses you've picked up like layers and layers of tartar on your teeth.  ~Charles Johnson


Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.  ~Danny Kaye


I have a simple philosophy:  Fill what's empty.  Empty what's full.  Scratch where it itches.  ~Alice Roosevelt Longworth


Life is like a coin.  You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.  ~Lillian Dickson


We are born wet, naked, and hungry.  Then things get worse.  ~Author Unknown


Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up.  ~Author Unknown


Life is a cement trampoline.  ~Howard Nordberg


To preserve a man alive in the midst of so many chances and hostilities, is as great a miracle as to create him.  ~Jeremy Taylor


Life... is like a box of chocolates - a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that no one ever asks for, unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates.  So, you're stuck with mostly undefinable whipped mint crap, mindlessly wolfed down when there's nothing else to eat while you're watching the game.  Sure, once is a while you get a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but it's gone too fast and the taste is fleeting.  In the end, you are left with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, which, if you are desperate enough to eat, leaves nothing but an empty box of useless brown paper.  ~The X-Files


He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche


God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled.  ~Author Unknown


Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.  ~Grandma Moses


I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.  ~Jim Carrey


The great business of life is to be, to do, to do without, and to depart.  ~John, Viscount Morley, Address on Aphorisms


Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.  ~Erich Fromm


My formula for living is quite simple.  I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.  In between, I occupy myself as best I can.  ~Cary Grant


To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.  ~Havelock Ellis


Living involves tearing up one rough draft after another.  ~Author Unknown


My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn.  ~Louis Adamic


No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence.  ~Thomas Carlyle, Sir Walter Scott, in London and Westminster Review, 12 November 1838


Don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire.  I hate a fellow whom pride or cowardice or laziness drive into a corner, and who does nothing when he is there but sit and growl.  Let him come out as I do, and bark.  ~Samuel Johnson


Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told:  "I am with you kid.  Let's go."  ~Maya Angelou


Life has meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Why torture yourself when life'll do it for you?  ~Author Unknown


Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.  ~George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor's Dilemma, 1906


Puritans will never believe it, but life is full of disagreeable things that aren't even good for you.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


'Tis all a chequer board of nights and days,
Where destiny with men for pieces plays;
Hither and thither, and mates, and slays.
~Edward Fitzgerald, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám, 1859


Life: It is about the gift not the package it comes in.  ~Dennis P. Costea, Jr.


...the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.  ~Walt Whitman, "O Me! O Life!", Leaves of Grass


Don't go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first.  ~Mark Twain


Life is the game that must be played.  ~Edwin Arlington Robinson


You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.  ~Albert Camus


There is no wealth but life.  ~John Ruskin


I know what things are good:  friendship and work and conversation.  These I shall have.  ~Rupert Brooke


Life will always remain a gamble, with prizes sometimes for the imprudent, and blanks so often to the wise.  ~Jerome K. Jerome


The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.  ~Henry David Thoreau


Life is not a final.  It's daily pop quizzes.  ~Author Unknown


Eating, loving, singing and digesting are, in truth, the four acts of the comic opera known as life, and they pass like bubbles of a bottle of champagne.  Whoever lets them break without having enjoyed them is a complete fool.  ~Gioacchino Rossini


We mourn the transitory things and fret under the yoke of the immutable ones.  ~Paul Eldridge


I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.  ~T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


Life was a damned muddle - a football game with everyone offside and the referee gotten rid of - everyone claiming the referee would have been on his side.  ~F. Scott Fitzgerald


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.  ~Anton Chekhov


Following straight lines shortens distances, and also life.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Life is so largely controlled by chance that its conduct can be but a perpetual improvisation.  ~W. Somerset Maugham


In life we all have an unspeakable secret, an irreversible regret, an unreachable dream and an unforgettable love.  ~Diego Marchi


I count life just a stuff
To try the soul's strength on.
~Robert Browning


Life may have no meaning.  Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.  ~Ashleigh Brilliant


Life is an incurable Disease.  ~Abraham Cowley


The philosophy of mine earth can be summed up as this:  Sunshine creates happiness, and I create myself.  Nights are long and life is predominantly good.  Wind is refreshing.  Tea is wisdom.  Do the best you can, and be good to yourself so that you can above all be good to others.  ~Jessi Lane Adams


Human life is purely a matter of deciding what's important to you.  ~Anonymous


For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.  ~Albert Camus


Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique, and not too much imagination.  ~Christopher Isherwood


The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy.  ~Angelina Jolie


Life is a compromise of what your ego wants to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.  ~Bruce Crampton


Life is a mixed blessing, which we vainly try to unmix.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


In masks outrageous and austere
The years go by in single file;
But none has merited my fear,
And none has quite escaped my smile.
~Elinor Hoyt Wylie, Let No Charitable Hope


To succeed in life, you need three things:  a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.  ~Reba McEntire


The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.  ~Thomas Carlyle


All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.  ~Havelock Ellis


Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.  ~Joseph Addison


We tear life out of life to use it for looking at itself.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


[Psychoanalysis] is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts.  Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.  ~Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts, 1945


Give us Lord, a bit o' sun,
A bit o' work and a bit o' fun;
Give us all in the struggle and sputter
Our daily bread and a bit o' butter.
~From an inn in Lancaster, England


The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins.  ~Heywood Broun


We're all accidental soldiers in the army of life.  ~Ymber Delecto


Life is a long process of getting tired.  ~Samuel Butler


He who has nothing to die for has nothing to live for.  ~Moroccan Proverb


But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.  ~Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum


God asks no man whether he will accept life.  That is not the choice.  You must take it.  The only question is how.  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.  ~Douglas Adams


Suppose the world were only one of God's jokes, would you work any the less to make it a good joke instead of a bad one?  ~George Bernard Shaw


In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life.  It goes on.  ~Robert Frost


Sometimes our hearts get tangled
And our souls a little off-kilter...
~Sera Christann


Life is like a ten-speed bicycle.  Most of us have gears we never use.  ~Charles Schulz


There is no finish line.  ~Nike advertisement


It may be life is only worthwhile at moments.  Perhaps that is all we ought to expect.  ~Sherwood Anderson


Life is life, and death is life, and everything in between.  ~Cherralea Morgen


I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse.  I only owe it to the horse's good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment.  ~Ludwig Wittgenstein


The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.  ~Thomas Jefferson


The world is a sunny success.  ~Ever Garrison


Serenity of spirit and turbulence of action should make up the sum of a man's life.  ~Vita Sackville-West


The fear of life is the favorite disease of the 20th century.  ~William Lyon Phelps


In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back.  ~Charlie Brown


The world is a grindstone and life is your nose.  ~Fred Allen


Not unfortunately the universe is wild - game-flavoured as a hawk's wing.  ~B.P. Blood


You live and learn.  At any rate, you live.  ~Douglas Adams


Everything which is properly business we must keep carefully separate from life.  Business requires earnestness and method; life must have a freed handling.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Life is made up of constant calls to action, and we seldom have time for more than hastily contrived answers.  ~Learned Hand


The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.  It is a little star dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.  ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Life is the sum of all your choices.  ~Albert Camus


Out of a hundred years a few minutes were made that stayed with me, not a hundred years.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


If A equals success, then the formula is:  A = X + Y + Z, where X is work, Y is play, and Z is keep your mouth shut.  ~Albert Einstein


I gave my life to learning how to live.
Now that I have organized it all...
It is just about over.
~Sandra Hochman


There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination.  Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.  ~Anaïs Nin


[P]erhaps nothing 'ud be a lesson to us if it didn't come too late.  It's well we should feel as life's a reckoning we can't make twice over; there's no real making amends in this world, any more nor you can mend a wrong subtraction by doing your addition right.  ~George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Adam Bede


Only a few things are really important.  ~Marie Dressler


We are like people with short-term leases on summer cottages; we can never seem to make our provisions come out even with our stay.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.  ~Henry Miller


Life is like eating artichokes; you have got to go through so much to get so little.  ~Thomas Aloysius Dorgan


Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth.  ~Martin H. Fischer


Summing up, it is clear the future holds great opportunities.  It also holds pitfalls.  The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o'clock.  ~Woody Allen, "My Speech to the Graduates," Side Effects, 1980


Situated in some nebulous distance I do what I do so that the universal balance of which I am a part may remain a balance.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Few of us write great novels; all of us live them.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


Life's like a novel with the end ripped out.  ~Danny Orton and Blair Daly, "Stand"


If you stop struggling, then you stop life.  ~Huey Newton


Sometimes questions are more important than answers.  ~Nancy Willard, quoted in The Meaning of Life, compiled by Hugh S. Moorhead


It is while you are patiently toiling at the little tasks of life that the meaning and shape of the great whole of life dawn on you.  ~Phillips Brooks


There is a strange reluctance on the part of most people to admit that they enjoy life.  ~William Lyon Phelps


Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life is the other way around.  ~David Lodge, The British Museum Is Falling Down, 1965


If a man in the morning hear the right way, he may die in the evening without regret.  ~Confucius


The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.  ~Joseph Campbell


Life is a sexually transmitted disease and there is a 100% mortality rate.  ~R.D. Laing


In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.
~Ben Jonson, To the Immortal Memory and Friendship of that Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morison, 1640


Life always bursts the boundaries of formulas.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942, translated from French by Lewis Galantière


We should give meaning to life, not wait for life to give us meaning.  ~Stacy


Many of us are equal to life's emergencies who cannot bear its day-after-dayness.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


Life is like an onion; you peel off layer after layer and then you find there is nothing in it.  ~James Gibbons Huneker


Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.  ~Ogden Nash


I do like a little bit of butter to my bread.  ~A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young


Life may be defined to be the power of self-augmentation or assimilation, not of self-nurture; for then a steam-engine over a coal-pit might be made to live.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.  ~Henry Van Dyke


People find it hard to be both comic and serious, though life manages it easily enough.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


Life is a long lesson in humility.  ~James M. Barrie


In life, as in restaurants, we swallow a lot of indigestible stuff just because it comes with the dinner.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings." ~From the movie Mansfield Park


Reason and justice tell me there's more love for humanity in electricity and steam than in chastity and vegetarianism.  ~Anton Chekhov


To live is like to love - all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.  ~Samuel Butler


Life is easier than you'd think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable.  ~Kathleen Norris


When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.  ~Mark Twain


One wanders through life as if wandering through a field in the dark of night, wearing a blindfold and very heavy shoes, with a poisonous toad waiting patiently beneath a clump of weeds, knowing full well that eventually you will step on him.  ~Lemony Snicket


There are people who so arrange their lives that they feed themselves only on side dishes.  ~José Ortega y Gasset


The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination.  But the combination is locked up in the safe.  ~Peter De Vries, Let Me Count the Ways, 1965


Every creatures stalks some other, and catches it, and is caught.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


A great part of life consists in contemplating what we cannot cure.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson


I have come one step away from everything.  And here I stay, far from everything, one step away.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Anxiety and distress, interrupted occasionally by pleasure, is the normal course of man's existence.  ~Joseph Wood Krutch


I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything, and many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here, and what the question might mean.  I might think about it a little bit, but if I can't figure it out, then I go on to something else.  But I don't have to know an answer....  I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly.  It doesn't frighten me.  ~Richard Phillips Feynman


Life is just a series of trying to make up your mind.  ~Timothy Fuller


The history of man for the nine months preceding his birth would, probably, be far more interesting and contain events of greater moment than all the three score and ten years that follow it.  ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Perhaps we are looking at this from a wrong perspective; this search for the truth, the meaning of life, the reason of God.  We all have this mindset that the answers are so complex and so vast that it is almost impossible to comprehend.  I think, on the contrary, that the answers are so simple; so simple that it is staring us straight in the face, screaming its lungs out, and yet we fail to notice it.  We're looking through a telescope, searching the stars for the answer, when the answer is actually a speck of dirt on the telescope lens.  ~Jason Q., from generationterrorists.com


It's just life.  Just live it.  ~The Quote Garden


Life is little more than a loan shark:  It exacts a very high rate of interest for the few pleasures it concedes.  ~Luigi Pirandello


Life is a shit sandwich.  But if you've got enough bread, you don't taste the shit.  ~Jonathan Winters


There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner:  that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson


The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore.  It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.  ~H.L. Mencken


Almost everything in life is easier to get into than out of.  ~Agnes' Law


Life is one big judgment call.  ~The Quote Garden


Chance is always powerful, let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.  ~Ovid


Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run.  The daily work - that goes on, it adds up.  ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams


Life is a series of collisions with the future.  ~José Ortega y Gasset


The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.  ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Life is half spent before we know what it is.  ~George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum, 1651


Why does a person even get up in the morning?  You have breakfast, you floss your teeth so you'll have healthy gums in your old age, and then you get in your car and drive down I-10 and die.  Life is so stupid I can't stand it.  ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams


Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust - we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.  ~Albert Einstein, in The Saturday Evening Post, 26 October 1929


Jack Palance:  "Do you know what the secret of life is?  One thing.  Just one thing.  You stick to that and everything else don't mean shit."
Billy Crystal:  "Yeah, but what's that one thing?"
Jack Palance:  "That's what you've got to figure out."
~From the movie City Slickers


Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.  ~Dennis Wholey


Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.  ~Author Unknown


Why do critics make such an outcry against tragicomedies? is not life one?  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.  ~Crowfoot, 1890, as quoted in Catch the Whisper of the Wind compiled by Cheewa James


Have you noticed that life, real honest-to-goodness life, with murders and catastrophes and fabulous inheritances, happens almost exclusively in the newspapers?  ~Jean Anouilh, The Rehearsal, 1950


God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.  ~Garrison Keillor


The meaning of life is not an unquestionable answer; it is an unanswerable question.  ~The Quote Garden


Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you're not alive.  ~Mel Brooks


Unbeing dead isn't being alive.  ~e.e. cummings


Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.  ~Brendan Gill


When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.  ~Thomas Merton


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