I’ve been collecting quotes since college. Quotes from books, movies, songs, interviews. Quotes that make me think, appreciate, question. Quotes that turn a beautiful phrase or ignite a lightbulb moment or send an arrow into my heart. Here’s what I have so far.

“We should live until we die.” – Fun., “The Gambler”

“Why do we go to the movies in the first place? To have a vicarious experience. For two hours we sit there and if the movie works we stop being ourselves to some degree and become the characters on the screen. And then a review to some degree should talk about whether we enjoyed that vicarious experience.” – Roger Ebert

“You are now the proud owner of C, right? And you didn’t own that five minutes ago. You’re rich. You own something Elvis owned. Plus, it didn’t cost you anything. You own something new, and nobody can take it away from you. And this isn’t just some must-have object. It’s not a bag or a car or a phone. You ever seen an ad for a guitar? No, it sells itself. This is a gift you can take to your grave, and you can use it whenever you want. And in the right context, it can speak directly to your heart in ways we don’t even understand. More than thoughts, more than words, more than ideas. Just a chord, hanging there in the air.” – Flora and Son

“I gave up the rather opprobrious phrase ‘old age’ and have substituted for it the more seductive locution ‘accumulated years.’ The latter connotes a certain joy in continued acquisition, a sort of pride in adding one annual sparkling jewel after another to an already precious store.” – W.W. Keen

“Mix merry laughter with earnest labor. Always have some as yet unfinished, but not too urgent job waiting just outside your door. Then you will never know ennui. To ‘kill time’ is murder in the first degree.” – W.W. Keen

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“Anybody who doesn’t change their mind a lot is dramatically underestimating the complexity of the world we live in.” – Jeff Bezos

“To be an artist, you don’t have to compose music or paint or be in the movies or write books. It’s just a way of living. It has to do with paying attention, remembering, filtering what you see and answering back, participating in life.” – Viggo Mortensen

“Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. It is standing together facing the world. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility and a sense of unity. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding. Just doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is not only marrying the right partner, it’s being the right partner.” – Excerpt from the Newman/Woodward vow renewal, The Last Movie Stars

“You could care for people because they were human; you could fight for them, create organizations to protect them, write columns to defend them, and put your body on the line for them. But you could only love individual people. When you love a person, what you love is all the ways they are different from everyone else. To put it another way, what makes me me is all the ways I am not you, or anyone else. And so, if you love me, that is what you love: the very particular mix of things that together constitute me. You can respect the what, but you can only love the who.” – Alissa Wilkinson on Hannah Arendt, Salty

“Both the Court’s opinion and the dissent display a relentless freedom from doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share.” – John Roberts, Dobbs v. Jackson

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” – William Martin

“One of the biggest problems with school is it teaches kids to assume that fun things are trivial and important things are boring.” – David Perell

“To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience. In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not width. A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields—these are as much as a man can fully experience.” – Patrick Kavanagh

“The modern dogma is comfort at any cost.” – Aldo Leopold

“The hardest thing of all to see is what is really there.” – J.A. Baker, The Peregrine

“Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.” – Justice Robert Jackson

“There’s an eternity behind us and there’s an eternity ahead. This little speck right here at the center, that’s our lives.” “Whatever you are, be it in full.” – The Good Lord Bird (show)

“Help people to trust the compass, not the map.” – Susan David 

“From the first human handprint on a cave wall, we’re part of something continuous. We don’t really die.” – The Dig

“It is not enough to have learned, for living is sharing and I must offer what I have for whatever it is worth.” – Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man

“The wood you burn to cook your food and keep you warm? The smoke that rises was once a memory. The ashes all that is left of the story.” – Andrew Krivak, The Bear

“God is the name we give to the possibility of order.” – Edward Wilson-Lee

“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.” – E.O. Wilson

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” – Paul Batalden

“There is an instant drama to an encounter, but remember that beyond the single moment is the long and ornate process of living.” – Craig Childs, The Animal Dialogues

“When we make our art, we are also making our lives. And I’m sure that the reverse is equally true.” – Wendell Berry

“You can prepare the child for the road or the road for the child.” – Amy Grant

“Time is a language, and it’s the best way to explain how I feel.” – Dawes

“We must be more & more to each other my dear wife.” – Charles Darwin

“You gotta be brave before you can be good.” – Hearts Beat Loud

“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.” – Fred Rogers

“But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!” – Andre Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

“Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.” – Carl Jung

“When parents send their children to school, they hope that, in the end, the young people will be personally happy and publicly useful.” – Ursula Franklin

“Love is both how you become a person, and why.” – John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

“Life is a series of choices between wonders.” – John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” – Miyamoto Musashi

“It is reasonable that a man should be something worthier at the end of the year than he was at the beginning.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Warm but cold, beautiful but terrifying. Minute but enormously powerful. Such opposites, such contradictions, are what snow is all about.” – Marcus Sedgwick, Snow

“To become aware of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.” – Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

“The time to make your mind up about people is never.” – High Society

“When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” – Back to the Future

“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.” – Zadie Smith

“Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.” – Novalis

“A relationship, a feeling, or a glance—it’s the things that don’t fossilize that matter most.” – Claire Cameron, The Last Neaderthal

“We can be thankful we had the privilege of knowing him while he was here.” – Grumpy Old Men

“Learning weighs nothing. Lessons you can carry with you.” – Rachel Seiffert, A Boy in Winter

“Read more than you write, live more than you read.” – Junot Diaz

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” – Mary Oliver

“Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, but today is cash.” – Kenneth Royce

“All wisdom ends in paradox.” – Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

“Every day, without hope, without despair.” – Austin Kleon

“#1. Your kids don’t owe you anything, because you chose to have them. #2. Teach your kids to be optimists.” – Tim Ferriss

“Knowing that we have to die, we ought to live to be prepared to die well, and then, let death come when it may.” – Andrew Jackson

“It is preferable to take people as they are, rather than as they really are.” – Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield

“To look for something beautiful is its own reward.” – The Lost City of Z

“Use utmost endeavors.” – Secretary of State John Long to Commodore Dewey (1898)

“Go for a walk; cultivate hunches; write everything down, but keep your folders messy; embrace serendipity; make generative mistakes; take on multiple hobbies; frequent coffeehouses and other liquid networks; follow the links; let others build on your ideas; borrow, recycle, reinvent. Build a tangled bank.” – Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From

“The line between religion and politics wasn’t discovered; it was invented.” – William Cavenaugh

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.” – Lao Tzu

“Productivity is nothing without craftsmanship—craftsmanship is nothing without productivity.” – Christian Becksvoort

“The sheer concentratedness of History, sleeting past soundlessly out into the world, can be overwhelming. Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.” – Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

“Truth was a changing display in a shop window, manipulated by hands when you weren’t looking, alluring and ever out of reach.” – Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

“I don’t experience my life. It’s my life that allows me to experience.” – Peter Rollins

“There is a depth and density to life. The sacred is not something that you love, it’s what you experience in the very act of love itself.” – Peter Rollins

“Imagination is the birthplace of creativity.” – yoga instructor

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” – It’s a Wonderful Life

“Nothing is inexorable but love.” – Frances Willard

“I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” – Frances Willard

“In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.” – Frances Willard

“Failure is just success training.” – Kevin Smith

“O my heart, it is all a very odd life.” – Charles Williams

Crescit eundo: “It grows as it goes”

“There are always a million reasons not to do something.” – Jan, The Office

“All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.” – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

“To lose yourself in the imitation of the divine.” – Paul Elie

“You don’t conquer anything except things in yourself.” – Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Flow

“Do it with joy.” – Ron Garan

“I would like to write a beautiful prayer.” – Flannery O’Conner

“The old world, Hawthorne seemed to argue, was arduous, but it knew where it was going, and it went the slow, sure way. Machines made life easier, faster, more predictable, but they led away from an integrity that people missed from the beginning.” – Rebecca Solnit, River of Shadows (re: Hawthorne’s “The Celestial Railroad”)

“Art is not to be awaited; it is to be chased down, cornered, and beaten into submission with a stick.” – Michael Perry, Population: 485

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“That is happiness: to be dissolved into something complete and great.” – Willa Cather, My Antonia

“One must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow.” – Soren Kierkegaard

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver, “Sometimes”

“One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free.” – The Beatles, Abbey Road

“The pedigree of honey / does not concern the bee; / a clover, any time, / to him is aristocracy.” – Emily Dickinson

“To see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.” – William Blake

“Tornadoes are omnipotent and obey no law. Force without law has no shape, only tendency and duration.” – David Foster Wallace, “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley”