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I Ask: What Is Your Favorite Quote?

I wanted to write my weekly political, religious or social commentary post, but life had different plans. {sigh} Instead, I decided to find something that makes me happy and bring you along. Oh and force you to participate. Yay!

I have collected quotes for 20 years now (holy crap!).  I love words, and when someone strings them together in a profound way, I am awed. I used to write about them on this blog almost every day, but I got distracted by something shiny.

(Click on the author to see my thoughts on the subject.)

The quotes I’ve collected range from funny:

“I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves.” -August Strindberg

To thought-provoking:

“We turn skeletons into goddesses, and look to them as if they might teach us how not to need.” —Anonymous

They are from modern books:

In the brightness of the carnival dresses and wearing a stranger’s shoes, she stood on the porch of 124 ready to be swallowed up in the world beyond the edge of the porch.  Out there where small things scratched and sometimes touched.  Where words could be spoken that would close your ears shut.  Where, if you were alone, feeling could overtake you and stick to you like a shadow.  Out there where there were places in which things so bad happened that when you went near them it would happen again. -Toni Morrison from her novel Beloved

And dead guys:

There is nothing permanent except change. -Heraclitus

I adore my quotes and would love to add more to my collection or just read ones that make you feel, well, anything but bored.

So I ask: What is your favorite quote?

PS. I do a quote of the week in my weekly newsletter. After receiving last week’s newsletter, a reader said “Thanks Alex. You’re on a roll today. Just got through reading the GOP article from your newsletter (which kept me in from heading out on my bike). Muchos gracias for the intellectual input!”

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents an 2 elementary age children, 4 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

52 thoughts on “I Ask: What Is Your Favorite Quote?

  1. “I cannot pretend to be someone who pretends to be someone else, or so my pretend friend tells me.” – Neil Innes

    “Thus not only does democracy make each man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants from him and separates him from his contemporaries; it constantly leads him back toward himself alone and threatens finally to confine him wholly in the solitude of his own heart.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

    “Real adventures do not happen to people who remain at home; they must be sought abroad.” – James Joyce

    “We didn’t invent the Grateful Dead, the crowd invented the Grateful Dead. We were just in line to see what was going to happen.” – Jerry Garcia

    “Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.” – Benjamin Franklin

    “I’ll tell you this…No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.” – Jim Morrison

  2. “No Guts No Glory, Know Guts Know Glory”
    It was on a horse show sweatshirt haha with a picture of a horse jumping but it always stuck with me for some reason!

  3. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” ~Douglas Adams~

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain~

    Both of these quotes make be furiously happy. We up and moved to Hawai’i from cold Minnesota about three years ago. These quotes remind me of the risk we took and how it has all been worth it.

  4. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt. This quote has gotten me thru childbirth twice, many funerals, dealing with sad situations and standing in front of a crowd to coo presentations!

  5. OK, here are a few for the collection:

    “The feeling grew upon me, not apocalyptically but slow as could be, slow as good sourmash gets its mellowing or as a young man matures and finds balance, that in the great chaos of modern existence it was one’s work that mattered, work in the broadest and most meaningful sense — this and being close to the people one loved. . . .” – Willie Morris, North Toward Home

    and I hope poetry counts – here’s another favorite:

    Late Fragment – Raymond Carver

    “And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.”

    And this:
    “. . . the labor with which we give birth is simply a rehearsal for something we mothers must do over and over: turn ourselves inside out, and then let go.” ~ Susan Piver

  6. I have many — but here are two.

    1. All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.

    2. Never judge a man before you walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you judge him, you’re a mile away and you have his shoes.

    I am so narcissistic that I will post these on FB as well. :)

  7. I love all the Yogi Berra quotes:
    “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.”
    “Nobody goes there anymore it’s too crowded.”
    “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore”

    …and the list goes on. I never get tired of them, and never get tired of using them!

  8. Listen o the MUSTN’TS, child,
    listen to the don’ts,
    listen to the shouldn’ts,
    the impossibles,
    the won’ts –
    listen to the never haves,
    Then listen close to me.
    Anything can happen, child.
    ANYTHING can be. – Shel Silverstein

    All you need is love. – John Lennon

    The happiest people I know are people who don’t even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happiness sort of sneaks in the back window while they are busy doing good. – Rabbi Harold Kushner

    This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24

  9. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou.

    Best. Quote. Ever. Haha love it so much

  10. I collect quotes. I just love them. I used to print them out and hang them on my dorm room walls in college. Now I have a rotating quotes feature from goodreads on my blog. It was how I answered to the political fall out from the President’s health bill, and I am regularly putting quotes on my Facebook page.

    All of this is to frame the context for my favorite quote: “She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.” ~W. Somerset Maugham

  11. I am a quote junkie, too. Here are a few good ones that I put on my blog.

    We are all involved in gardening as parents we are raising children. As mates we are developing relationships with our husbands and wives. As citizens we are involved in our communities, politically and socially, in our churches in our temples in our synagogues. When we accept the responsibility to look after something other than our very selves, we really become the citizens of the world we’re supposed to be. ~Maya Angelou

    Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one’s bottom. ~Taki

    Protect me from knowing what I don’t need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don’t know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen. ~Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
    Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. ~Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

    The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
    – Mark Twain

  12. Not all inclusive, but here are a couple of my ultimate favorites:
    Recognizing that you know what you know, and recognizing that you do not know what you do not know–this is knowledge. — Confucius

    Step out onto the Planet. Draw a circle 100 feet round. Inside the circle are 300 things nobody understands and, maybe, nobody’s ever seen. How many can you find? — Lew Welch

    And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion. — Kahlil Gibran, from the selection On Reason and Passion, in “The Prophet”

  13. “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa

    “I’ve suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened.” – Mark Twain

    “A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.” – Chinese Proverb

  14. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, / there is a field. I’ll meet you there. /When the soul lies down in that grass/ The world is too full to talk about.” -Jelaluddin Rumi

    “Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.” -unknown

    “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”. -Leo Tolstoy

    “The difference between involvement and commitment is like an eggs and ham breakfast. The chicken was involved; the pig was committed.”. -Anonymous

    Not exactly one favorite, but you know I’ve got to have more than one. ;)

  15. Ooo and one more that my sister’s volleyball coach used to tell their team. I’ve always liked it:

    “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. He knows he must run faster than the fastest lion, or he will be killed. Every morning a lion also wakes up. He knows he must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or he will starve to death. In life, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle. When the morning comes, you’d better start running.” -African proverb

  16. I love quotes as well! I tend to gravitate to different quotes depending on my mood and what happens to be going on in my life.

    Here are some of my favorites at this point (don’t know what that says about my state of mind)…

    Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
    Mae West

    I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.
    Charles M. Schulz

    I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.
    Carl Sandburg

  17. I cannot recall at this time. – what to say instead of I don’t remember, it is supposed to thwart off dementia and “old age”
    Whatever you need. – what to say when the boss is angry and giving out assignments and you don’t want to end up in their cross hairs.
    For more, go to my facebook page. There are some goodies there. Oh, I also like this one, which you would probably never come across Alex because it was in a *western* novel (except it’s on my facebook page):
    “In horses, dogs, and men, it is character that counts. ~Louis L’amour

  18. Two that come to mind:
    –It’s like trying to put 10 lbs. of $#!& in a 5 lbs container – my mother-in-law

    –Believe in yourself and the magic will happen (unknown)

  19. Ooh, I love quotes, too! My all-time fave is:

    “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. But only one is the way of joy.”
    – Albert Einstein

    And here are some others that top the list:

    Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    “You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
    -Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

    “Youth is a country. I used to live there. Its inhabitants can’t wait to migrate. Its exiles long to return.”
    – I. Allan Sealy, The Brainfever Bird

    “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.”
    – Edna Buchanan

    “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.”
    – Anaïs Nin

    “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.”
    – Sophocles

    “Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.”

    “Failure’s hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.”
    – Po Bronson

    And then pretty much everything by Shakespeare because he totally rocks.

  20. My 3 faves, and sorry if any are duplicates — I didn’t get to read all the comments.

    “A well spent day brings happy sleep.” –Leonardo da Vinci

    “Normally we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” –Alan Watts

    “Don’t pay attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” –Andy Warhol

  21. “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”
    -Albert Einstein

  22. This one was in my inbox today and I LOVE it:

    All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas Layin’ In The Sun, Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done… But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas All Ran Away And Hid From One Little Did.
    ~ Shel Silverstein ~

  23. Oh, I LOVE quotes.

    My fave, I have so many: but I use this one with my kids, and I use it with myself everyday, I love it, I can’t remember where from, but I think..Oh, I don’t know:

    “All sins are sins of the ego.”

    It does all boil down to that.

  24. My top 2:

    “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
    — Joseph Chilton Pearce
    “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
    — Ernest Hemingway

  25. “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. ”
    Henry David Thoreau

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

    “I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.”

    “If you are not part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem.”

  26. Julian always said that Foster’s two main interests were Outer Space and inner pie. ~Elizabeth Enright

    It goes on one at a time,
    it starts when you care
    to act, it starts when you do
    it again after they said no,
    it starts when you say We
    and know who you mean, and each
    day you mean one more.
    –Marge Piercy

    “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~J K Rowling

  27. The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.
    –John Buchanan

    The world is ruined by people who would rather be somewhere else doing something else.

    I’m not okay, and you’re not okay, but that’s okay.
    –Alcoholics Anonymous

    I’m a lot dumber than I ever thought I’d be. I planned to be a famous ballerina, an artist and deep down I ‘m just a suburban mom with a paneled station wagon domestic problems, and two bratty kids who sleep on cotton sheets patterned with trucks.”
    Jane Hamilton

    “I bet there are a lot of different routes to God,” Walter said. “And it’s probably a lot more fun and more worthwhile if you take me crooked path and the longest. I think it’s probably not harmony we’re after, not until the bitter end, anyway.”
    Jane Hamilton
    The Short History of a Prince

    Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
    —-Victoria Holt

    Ya gotta hate it when guys use the wrong head to make up their minds.
    Carrie Sechler

    I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and
    a career.
    -Gloria Steinem-

    And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
    Kurt Vonnegut A Man Without a Country page 132

    Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final. ~Roger Babson

    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.” — Emerson

    “In the long run, we only hit what we aim at” — Thoreau

    This is the middle of my life. I think of it as a place, like the middle
    of a river, the middle of a bridge, halfway across, halfway over.
    — Cats Eye

    When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you

    The decision to put a dog down when it is suffering is one of the hardest ones we humans can face. This highly personal decision, in the end, comes down to your own conscience, spiritual beliefs and your private connection with your dog….The best wisdom I can offer you in such a painful situation is that when your dog does finally pass, he had probably lived a fuller life than you have. Your dog has savored every moment on this earth. He is leaving it with no unfinished business, no regrets….A dog lives in the moment, every moment, every day. A dog lives every day to the fullest.
    Cesar Millan Cesar’s Way

    “Be Kinder than necessary,
    for everyone you meet is
    fighting some type of battle.”

  28. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
    ― Albert Einstein

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