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Quotations about Living in the Present




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With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.  I live now.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.  ~Michael Cibenko


Don't let the past steal your present.  ~Cherralea Morgen


There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday.  ~Robert Nathan, So Love Returns


You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.  ~Jan Glidewell


Would you keep a chive on your tooth just because you enjoyed last night's potato?  ~From the television show Boston Common


I have memories - but only a fool stores his past in the future.  ~David Gerrold


I can't wait all my life
On a street of broken dreams.
~Journey, "It Could Have Been You"


No man is rich enough to buy back his past.  ~Oscar Wilde


It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crops.  ~George Eliot, Adam Bede, 1859


We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today.  I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great.  If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.  ~Art Buchwald


If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven't done much today.  ~Author Unknown


Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.  ~Cherokee Indian Proverb


The past is a good place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.  ~Author Unknown


Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way.  ~Edna Ferber


I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.  ~Carl Sandburg, "Prairie," Complete Poems, 1950


The past is never there when you try to go back.  It exists, but only in memory.  To pretend otherwise is to invite a mess.  ~Chris Cobbs


Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.  ~Euripides, Alexander


The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.  ~L. Thomas Holdcroft


We cannot carry our father's corpse with us everywhere we go.  ~Guillaume Apollinaire, The Cubist Painters, 1913


The Past is the textbook of tyrants; the Future the Bible of the Free.  Those who are solely governed by the Past stand like Lot's wife, crystallized in the act of looking backward, and forever incapable of looking before.  ~Herman Melville, White Jacket


No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today.  ~Brendan Francis


People are always asking about the good old days.  I say, why don't you say the good now days?  ~Robert M. Young


Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace.  ~Author Unknown


"Old times" never come back and I suppose it's just as well.  What comes back is a new morning every day in the year, and that's better.  ~George E. Woodberry


Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone.  ~Jerome K. Jerome, The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, 1889


When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.  ~Alexander Graham Bell


You have to wake up a virgin each morning.  ~Jean-Louis Barrault


We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it.  But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.  ~John Newton


If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you're going to be cockeyed today.  ~Author Unknown


Nothing is worth more than this day.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Today is the greatest
Day I've ever known
Can't live for tomorrow,
Tomorrow's much too long....
~Billy Corgan, "Today," Siamese Dream (Smashing Pumpkins), 1993


The living moment is everything.  ~D.H. Lawrence


Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.  ~Montaigne


Nothing ever gets anywhere.  The earth keeps turning round and gets nowhere.  The moment is the only thing that counts.  ~Jean Cocteau, Professional Secrets, 1922


Let the credit card companies market as they will, the only thing that's priceless is Now.  ~Caleb Baylor Hive, 2005


Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead.  It is going on all the time.  ~Charlotte Perkins Gilman


Forever is composed of nows.  ~Emily Dickinson


Could we see when and where we are to meet again, we would be more tender when we bid our friends goodbye.  ~Marie Louise De La Ramee


The other day a man asked me what I thought was the best time of life.  "Why," I answered without a thought, "now."  ~David Grayson


It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.  ~Margaret Bonnano


Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  And today?  Today is a gift.  That's why we call it the present.  ~Babatunde Olatunji


Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within and God o'erhead.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Psalm of Life


Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.  ~Alan Watts


It's not what if, it's what now.  ~Author Unknown


Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.  One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.  ~Mary Jean Iron


We are always getting ready to live but never living.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.  ~Sholem Asch, The Nazarene, 1939


Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.  ~Jean de la Bruyere


If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.  ~Author Unknown


Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.  ~James Thurber


We crucify ourselves between two thieves:  regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.  ~Fulton Oursler


Chasing the past, I stumbled into the future.  ~T.A. Sachs


Seize from every moment its unique novelty, and do not prepare your joys.  ~André Gide, Nourritures Terrestres


In today already walks tomorrow.  ~Friedrich von Schiller


When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future.  When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.  ~Author Unknown


The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.  ~Abraham Maslow


The future is always beginning now.  ~Mark Strand, Reasons for Moving


I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough.  ~Albert Einstein


Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized.  ~Leo Buscaglia


The future is no place to place your better days.  ~Dave Matthews


The future is an opaque mirror.  Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face.  ~Jim Bishop


If a man examine carefully his thoughts he will be surprised to find how much he lives in the future.  His well-being is always ahead.  ~Emerson, Journals, 1827


Never let the future disturb you.  You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.  ~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus


I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade.  It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.  ~D.H. Lawrence


One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living.  We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.  ~Dale Carnegie


Pile up too many tomorrows and you'll find that you've collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays.  ~The Music Man


We steal if we touch tomorrow.  It is God's.  ~Henry Ward Beecher


God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.  ~Isak Dinesen


Slight not what's near through aiming at what's far.  ~Euripides


Life's a journey, not a destination.  ~Aerosmith


If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  If you don't wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  ~Senegalese Proverb


The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.  ~Abraham Lincoln


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Last modified 2007 Nov 06 Tue 16:11 PST


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