Tag Archives: life

Quotes Gathered in 2012

“When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” STEVE JOBS.

“You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.” MISTER ROGERS.

“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.” WSJ Article, “Are you as busy as you think.”

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” HENRY DAVID THOREAU.

“One must be astonished totally, yet more and more softly. That is how eternity wonders at the times and changes them. One must wonder at the wonders.And also at the wounds, the deepest and last wounds, and elevate them to the wondrous.” HUGO BALL’S diary, 21 November, 1921.

“I always thought you were very single-minded about your dreams. But now I see that you skipped the struggle and went straight to the end.” from MAD MEN, TV show.

“Here’s my advice. Pretend you’re going to find out in a year that you have cancer, and then make all your decisions based on that.” Career Advice, source unknown.

“I love spending time in the woods because I believe it’s literally perfect. You could not design it better. It’s marvelous. And, when I’m in my cabin in those woods, I’m not fetishizing a simpler past, I’m fetishizing a simple present. I’m often thinking, “Holy shit, I spend some of my time working on the Internet, most of my time out here, I’m happy, my friends and family like it too, and this is economically sustainable.” ZACH KLEIN’S Blog. (Amen!, I say.)

“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could . . . adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.” TOM WOLFE, The Bonfire of the Vanities.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” STEPHEN HAWKING.

“There’s no such thing as work/life balance. There are work/life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” JACK WELCH.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” HENRY DAVID THOREAU.

“I wait by working.” RICHARD STALLMAN.

‎”You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.” WOODROW WILSON.

“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” Review for the play, “The Drawer Boy.”

“Leaders are not what many people think–people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. The include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly. This is the opposite of the “charisma” that we hear so much about.” From Caterina.net.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” THEODORE ROOSEVELT, The Man in the Arena – April 23, 1910.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

“One can live at a low flame. Most people do. For some, life is an exercise in moderation (best china saved for special occasions), but given something like death, what does it matter if one looks foolish now and then, or tries too hard, or cares too deeply?” DIANE ACKERMAN.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” STEVE JOBS.

“A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything.” HARRY BROWNE.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch, which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” GEORGE BERNARD SHAW.

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

From the UK Guardian, a nurse polled dying patients for their regrets. The top five results were:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This reminds me of a country song I used to listen to on the bus ride to North Campus at the University of Michigan for piano class. The song was, “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack. Its message is one of those cliches that encourages you to seize the day, live without regrets, etc. that is in horrible conflict with the fact that 99% of us have to work very hard for a living. Yet that song, along with dozens of quotes that I come upon each month while browsing the internet and the above informal poll, all work to remind us to be conscious of our mortality and that of those around us.

I’ve found that No. 1 is difficult and always will be difficult because I care about those around me, and because of that love I am committed to living, at least in part, for them – as a husband, as a son, as a brother, as a friend. Inevitably, that pulls at my own selfish desires. That’s okay! No. 2 is a life-long challenge, but pursuing a profession that I find rewarding helps balance the reality of sitting inside on sunny days. I’m a man, so No. 3 doesn’t exist. Juuuuust kidding. I am better at expressing my feelings through writing than vebally, but that’s a start. No. 4 will always be difficult because it’s like trying to hit a moving target. Who’s married, single, in town, not too busy, I still have contact information for, etc. There’s a multitude of variables, and not enough time. Most important is to remember to keep putting myself out there, and ask friends out instead of waiting for an invitation.

New House

We bought a two-point-six acre wooded lot with a house and detached garage on it. It’s got everything we want – good school district, room to run, and shared waterfront. We are very thankful that this worked out, and will be working very hard to spruce up the new digs.

Today, I spent six hours raking the lawn areas and removed some overgrown ivy-like plants from the front corner of the house. The grounds are already looking far better. Just in time for snowfall.

I was less successful in selecting the correct garage door remote. I chose grey. Should have picked purple. No biggie.

Yogi Bear the dog has no idea what is going on. He’s like a lawyer on vacation. He stays by my side and can’t seem to relax for fear of being left behind. Once he settles in, he should have a much improved life, as he’s not meant for a condo.

Our stuff is still in boxes and spread all over, but the house – the feel of being home – is taking shape. It won’t be long and we’ll be in order and have a house warming party for ourselves.

Efficiency & Balance

Balance in life requires a certain efficiency. I strive to mosey through life excelling at what I choose to do while avoiding conflict and leaving a lasting impression on people. Finding ample time for family, friends, self, work, and play is a life-long journey. It is in the pursuit of excellence in each of those endeavors that I find myself constantly refining my inefficiencies. As I make progress, the puzzle pieces, which initially overlap as a stack, separate and lay flat to fill my day. There is a graceful flow from self to family to work to family and play to self. That is the general arc of the below-described routine. The caveat is that to expecting the puzzle pieces to fit perfectly, or to make a perfect fit the goal of my life, evidences two failures: 1) such a pursuit or goal would result in my settling for less than that of which I am capable and 2) such a pursuit or goal would evidence my failure to recognize that the overlap of one area with another can improve both – or another.

Quote: The True Joy In Life

The following quote caught my attention today:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch, which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.

~ George Bernard Shaw

I Will Forge On

The following quote by Clint Eastwood got me thinking about stuff that I’ve been thinking about more lately than before.

My father died very suddenly at sixty-three. Just dropped dead. For a long time afterward, I’d ask myself, Why didn’t I ask him to play golf more? Why didn’t I spend more time with him? But when you’re off trying to get the brass ring, you forget and overlook those little things. It gives you a certain amount of regret later on, but there’s nothing you can do about it. So you just forge on. (link)

I feel like this a lot lately. Not just with my father, but with my mother, sister, and friends. Even the dogs. Life passes so quickly that I often find it difficult to keep up. I wish there were 48 hours in each day so that I could call home more often, play an extra round of golf, or just shoot the shit with the people that mean the most to me.

We traveled a lot when I was a kid. We went to Disney World, out West on a train, skiing at Vail, and many other places. I see now, more than ever, how difficult it is (and how much more difficult it is becoming despite cell phones, skype, IM, etc.) to keep in touch – to get people together – to squeeze in a round of golf between school, work, travel, and whatever else occupies my time.

Grand plans are nice, but not required. Activities that were once trivial now create some of my most cherished memories. It is the short sunny hikes, silent hours on the couch, grabbing a quick beer, or riding into town that give me a chance to catch up. I rarely have much to say, but it’s nice just to be there. To be with family. To be around friends. It is in doing things with these people that I prove my lonely stubbornness wrong and find meaning in my life.

I do forge on, Clint. But I also wake up each morning wondering if I’m making enough of an effort. If I’m talking enough. If I’m doing enough. If I’m headed in the right direction. If… if… if… And these “ifs” will forever remain. There will seldom be definite answers. But I think that is okay because in the end I’ll have definite memories, too. I’ll forge on with my definite memories held closer than most other things I cherish. Those memories will comfort me that I did enough, and that although I could have done more, I am so fortunate to have the memories I do have.

Bravery in Love and Life

I came across the following quote by Marianne Williamson, author of The Gift of Change, on Julia Allison’s tumblr. My response below was originally posted on my tumblr and I’ve copied it here for personal reference.

I don’t look back on my earliest forays into romance and think, ‘Oh, but that was only puppy love.’ Rather, I look back and think how courageously we loved, before we knew what there was to be afraid of; how strong we were, before any other agendas stood in the way of our love; and how pure our hearts were, when they were not yet tainted by cynicism or doubt. The older we are, the more we know some things; the younger we are, the more we know others. Age only makes us smarter if we retain our bravery.

I completely agree with this quote, but I think the concepts of “staying brave” and not letting age get in the way (or be an excuse) can be extrapolated beyond the reaches of romance.

I am finding myself once again at a point in my life where I have to make some big decisions. E.g., where to take the bar, where to live, and where to work. These decisions are interdependent almost to the point that I only have one decision to make. If anyone of them falls into place, then the others are mostly irrelevant. That is the harsh downside to attempting to be a practicing lawyer.

For whatever reason I am not drawn to a specific area of law or a specific area of the country. I am far from apathetic, and this relates closely to my first resolution of 2009 – too be more decisive and more critical. There should be a reason for what I want that outweighs my complacency. My life will live itself, but it won’t go as I wish if I don’t steer it.

This is where being brave comes in. The decisions come at a cost and I am going to have to be brave – fearless at times – and go out and get what I want from this world. I’ve been incredibly fortunate thus far, but it is time to stake my claim on what exactly I want from life – to take up my space in this world – to breath deeply the air that is here for me to breath. (High five to self!)

So, off I go into 2009 with a renewed approach. To be in the moment. To be willing to break out of my comfort-zone and to get going with my life. To love and live courageously every single day of 2009 and beyond.

P.S. – Yes, this is cliche-ridden. I’m okay with that for now. Ha.