who doesn’t love a life changing quote. A sentence, sometimes so simple, which resonates to the core of your being. it changes your perspective on life and serves to remind one to live their best life. or try at least. let’s make sure we manage our expectations and timelines to avoid disappointment. (saying to self)
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3 of my best life changing quotes
‘out beyond the ideas of right and wrong doing, there is a field. i’ll meet you there.’
I was going through an early life crisis in my thirties. Trying to understand a relationship that went wrong. testing the beliefs and morals i held. I indulged in a brief relationship with a married man. perhaps being attached to an emotionally and essentially physically detached character might suit me. Maybe it would prevent me getting hurt again.
the truth. I hated it. i played second fiddle to somebody else. i knew now that could never work for me. i need to be a priority.
in that short space of time and realisation i learnt something about myself. I love to write letters. I wrote this chap a letter trying to establish how i felt about our situation. he told me i had a voice. that i must use it. and i have, maybe not yet to its full potential.
when i was weary in his company he quoted me Rumi. i asked him to repeat it. it took me time to understand. then it clicked. it made me laugh. a sweet justification of our actions. were they wrong, were they right? depends on the beholder. wrong for me. but the consequences that followed were right.
I took plenty away from that brief interlude. so much that I had part of the quote tattooed on me as a reminder every day. when I look in the mirror. I formed a different love affair. with middle eastern literature and islamic mystic prose and philosophy.
how it changed my perspective
That quote provoked me to ask questions of everything, my beliefs, other people’s beliefs, who was right or wrong. it encouraged me to take more risks, to test and push boundaries. we are told so many things by parents, friends, government, society that we blindly follow without question. now i follow what i have intimately explored and satisfied myself that it’s my view or belief that i’m holding and not someone else’s because i know no different.
you can read the full poem here and explore and buy rumi’s poetry here.
‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;’
my dad would quote this throughout my life. From ‘As you like it’ Act ii, scene vii.
when i was a little girl of roughly six. he bought a small ceramic painted pill pot with the quote written on it. he tossed it to me to catch. i missed and it chipped on the bath. we were on a different stage at that time. living the life in Las vegas. if anyone personified that quote it was dad. i couldn’t fail to follow in his footsteps. perhaps a point of contention within our relationship. two peas in a pod. desperate for adventure. or absolute solitude.
but dad was better practiced. he had responsibilities that I never had; a family to provide for. a lifestyle to uphold. in that respect we are different. i don’t want for material things, particularly. I want for experience. sometimes that makes me irresponsible but there we are. must continue to explore and practice adulting.
dad died three years ago. he was a profound man. one that i continue to learn from. as the distance of time passes i see him in new light. i love him ever more. for his wonderfully generous and kind attributes to his abhorrent. What a teacher he remains. the full prose from this quote holds a cruel yet peaceful irony. that is how he died. the last scene.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
how it helps me
sometimes i forget the World is a stage. when life, anxiety and paying bills get in the way. but it’s never far away and i remind myself. and it gives me a bitesize piece of confidence in that moment. I think of dad saying it. his expressive eyebrows raised, sincerity in his eyes as he led by example and embraced the stage.
I will get a tattoo of ‘all the World’s a stage’ at some point. i like to use my body as a post it note. to remind myself how i want to live my life. and what life is.
Read the full prose here and buy ‘as you like it’ here.
‘nobody realises that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.’
camus, my favourite philosopher. i haven’t read anything of his that I can pick holes in. it’s just an all round resonation for me of what life is about and it’s absurd. when one realises it’s absurd we begin to have fun. at least when anxiety doesn’t get in the way. other philosophers i can critique and question, the stoics in particular. but that’s for another time.
i stumbled across this particular quote during one of my mindless scrolling sessions. i do believe it is the quote that initially introduced me to camus. one might ask what is normal? but i don’t ask that question of this quote and i don’t need to because i feel it. and that is enough.
Camus wrote the myth of Sisyphus. he uses the Greek legend, Sisyphus, condemned by the gods for eternity to repeatedly roll a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again once he got it to the top. A metaphor for the individual’s persistent struggle against the essential absurdity of life. i found a wonderfully disturbing illustration of sisyphus pushing his rock up the mountainside. I shall have a tattoo of that as well.
how it helps me
when i slip into taking myself too seriously I think of sisyphus and imagine him happy. why do we take life so seriously? we are here for such a short time. when i question my very existence. I go for a walk and enjoy my dogs frolicking in the grass together.
Read camus’s best quotes here and sample some of his essays here.
So there it is. 3 life changing quotes. the first two, rumi and shakespeare – the actual words and the third, camus – an introduction to a philosophy of absurdism.
I’d love to learn of your life changing quotes, how they came about and why they resonate. if they changed your perspective. with any luck they’ll change mine too.
drop me a note below.
thanks. J x