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A Little Life Quotes

You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.
...things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.
Why wasn’t friendship as good as a relationship? Why wasn’t it even better? It was two people who remained together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified.
And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.
Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?.
He experienced the singular pleasure of watching people he loved fall in love with other people he loved.
You were treated horribly. You came out on the other end. You were always you.
Friendship was witnessing another’s slow drip of miseries, and long bouts of boredom, and occasional triumphs. It was feeling honored by the privilege of getting to be present for another person’s most dismal moments, and knowing that you could be dismal around him in return.
Fairness is for happy people, for people who have been lucky enough to have lived a life defined more by certainties than by ambiguities. Right and wrong, however, are for—well, not unhappy people, maybe, but scarred people; scared people.
None of them really wanted to listen to someone else’s story anyway; they only wanted to tell their own.
But what was happiness but an extravagance, an impossible state to maintain, partly because it was so difficult to articulate?.
Relationships never provide you with everything. They provide you with some things. You take all you want from a person - sexual chemistry, let's say, or good conversation, or financial support, or intellectual compatibility, or niceness, or loyalty - and you get to pick three of them.
there’s not an expiration date on needing help, or needing people. You don’t get to a certain age and it stops.
You see, Jude, in life, sometimes nice things happen to good people. You don’t need to worry—they don’t happen as often as they should. But when they do, it’s up to the good people to just say ‘thank you,’ and move on, and maybe consider that the person who’s doing the nice thing gets a bang out of it as well, and really isn’t in the mood to hear all the reasons that the person for whom he’s done the nice thing doesn’t think he deserves it or isn’t worthy of it.
It was precisely these scenes he missed the most from his own life with Willem, the forgettable, in-between moments in which nothing seemed to be happening but whose absence was singularly unfillable.
I have become lost to the world In which I otherwise wasted so much time It means nothing to me Whether the world believes me dead I can hardly say anything to refute it For truly, I am no longer a part of the world.
He now viewed a successful relationship as one in which both people had recognized the best of what the other person had to offer and had chosen to value it as well.
they were inventing their own type of relationship, one that wasn’t officially recognized by history or immortalized in poetry or song, but which felt truer and less constraining.
They all—Malcolm with his houses, Willem with his girlfriends, JB with his paints, he with his razors—sought comfort, something that was theirs alone, something to hold off the terrifying largeness, the impossibility, of the world, of the relentlessness of its minutes, its hours, its days.
It had always seemed to him a very plush kind of problem, a privilege, really, to consider whether life was meaningful or not.
But these were days of self-fulfillment, where settling for something that was not quite your first choice of a life seemed weak-willed and ignoble. Somewhere, surrendering to what seemed to be your fate had changed from being dignified to being a sign of your own cowardice. There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.
I know my life's meaningful because" - and here he stopped, and looked shy, and was silent for a moment before he continued - " because I'm a good friend. I love my friends, and I care about them, and I think I make them happy.
All the most terrifying ifs involve people. All the good ones do as well.
But mostly, I missed watching you two together; I missed watching you watch him, and him watch you; I missed how thoughtful you were with each other, missed how thoughtlessly, sincerely affectionate you were with him; missed watching you listen to each other, the way you both did so intently.
If I were a different kind of person, I might say that this whole incident is a metaphor for life in general: things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.
But then, didn’t everyone only tell their lives – truly tell their lives – to one person?.
But it was true that for the first time, he was able to comprehend that the people he had grown to trust might someday betray him anyway, and that as disappointing as it might be, it was inevitable as well, and that life would keep propelling him steadily forward, because for everyone who might fail him in some way, there was at least one person who never would.
Everyone thought they would be friends for decades, forever. But for most people, of course, that hadn't happened. As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren't necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic.
Now he got out of bed and wrapped his blanket around himself, yawning. That evening, he'd talk to Jude. He didn't know where he was going, but he knew he would be safe; he would keep them both safe. He went to the kitchen to make himself coffee, and as he did, he whispered the lines back to himself, those lines he thought of whenever he was coming home, coming back to Greene Street after a long time away - "And tell me this: I must be absolutely sure. This place I've reached, is it truly Ithaca?"- as all around him, the apartment filled with light.
He will be someone who is defined, first and always, by what he is missing.
Why wasn’t friendship as good as a relationship? Why wasn’t it even better? It was two people who remained together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified. Friendship was witnessing another’s slow drip of miseries, and long bouts of boredom, and occasional triumphs. It was feeling honored by the privilege of getting to be present for another person’s most dismal moments, and knowing that you could be dismal around him in return.
I admired how she knew, well before I did, that the point of a child is not what you hope he will accomplish in your name but the pleasure that he will bring you, whatever form it comes in, even if it is a form that is barely recognizable as pleasure at all - and more important, the pleasure you will be privileged to bring him.
Life would happen to him, and he would have to try to answer it, just like the rest of them all.
We are so old, we have become young again.
I was aware that I had been looking for him on every street, in every crowd.
We all say we want our kids to be happy, only happy, and healthy, but we don't want that. We want them to be like we are, or better than we are. We as humans are very unimaginative in that sense. We aren't equipped for the possibility that they might be worse. But I guess that would be asking too much. It must be an evolutionary stopgap - if we were all so specifically, vividly aware of what might go horribly wrong, we would none of us have children at all.
You think it’s one thing, a forest, and then suddenly it changes, and it’s a meadow, or a jungle, or cliffs of ice. And they’re all beautiful, but they’re strange as well, and you don’t have a map, and you don’t understand how you got from one terrain to the next so abruptly, and you don’t know when the next transition will arrive, and you don’t have any of the equipment you need. And so you keep walking through, and trying to adjust as you go, but you don’t really know what you’re doing, and often you make mistakes, bad mistakes. That’s sometimes what it feels like.
The thing he hadn’t realized about success was that success made people boring. Failure also made people boring, but in a different way: failing people were constantly striving for one thing—success. But successful people were also only striving to maintain their success. It was the difference between running and running in place, and although running was boring no matter what, at least the person running was moving, through different scenery and past different vistas.
My life, he will think, my life. But he won’t be able to think beyond this, and he will keep repeating the words to himself—part chant, part curse, part reassurance—as he slips into that other world that he visits when he is in such pain, that world he knows is never far from his own but that he can never remember after: My life.
It was impossible to convince someone to live for his own sake. But he often thought it would be a more effective treatment to make people feel more urgently the necessity of living for others.
It was impossible to explain to the healthy the logic of the sick, and he didn’t have the energy to try.
There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.
As he gets older, he is given, increasingly, to thinking of his life as a series of retrospectives, assessing each season as it passes as if it’s a vintage of wine, dividing years he’s just lived into historical eras: The Ambitious Years. The Insecure Years. The Glory Years. The Delusional Years. The Hopeful Years.
Everything he has learned tells him to leave; Everything he has wished for tells him to stay.
Always, there are people asking him if he misses what it had never occurred to him to want, never occurred to him he might have:.
Sometimes he wonders whether this very idea of loneliness is something he would feel at all had he not been awakened to the fact that he should be feeling lonely, that there is something strange and unnacceptable about the life he has.
in which I otherwise wasted so much time.
he was worried because to be alive was to worry. Life was scary; it was unknowable. Even Malcolm’s money wouldn’t immunize him completely. Life would happen to him, and he would have to try to answer it, just like the rest of them. They all—Malcolm with his houses, Willem with his girlfriends, JB with his paints, he with his razors—sought comfort, something that was theirs alone, something to hold off the terrifying largeness, the impossibility, of the world, of the relentlessness of its minutes, its hours, its days.
the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.
The axiom of the empty set is the axiom of zero. It states that there must be a concept of nothingness, that there must be the concept of zero: zero value, zero items. . . . We can say that life is the axiom of the empty set. It begins in zero and ends in zero. We know that both states exist, but we will not be conscious of either experience: they are states that are necessary parts of life, even as they cannot be experienced as life. We assume the concept of nothingness, but we cannot prove it. But it must exist.
It isn't only that he died, or how died; it is what he died believing. And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.
Fairness is for happy people, for people who have been lucky enough to have lived a life defined more by certainties than by ambiguities.
He got to see his friends differently, not as just appendages to his life but as distinct characters inhabiting their own stories;.
He will experience that prickle, that shiver of disgust that afflicts him in both his happiest and most wretched moments, the one that asks him who he thinks he is to inconvenience so many people, to think he has the right to keep going when even his own body tells him he should stop.
You’ll find your own way to discuss what happened to you. You’ll have to, if you ever want to be close to anyone. But your life—no matter what you think, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and none of it has been your fault. Will you remember that?.
the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all.
There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.
It was like any relationship, he felt—it took constant pruning, and dedication, and vigilance, and if neither party wanted to make the effort, why wouldn’t it wither?.
My phone rang, and although it wasn't a sinister time of night, and although nothing had happened that I would later see as foreshadowing, I knew, I knew.