Open Thread: What’s a Quote That Changed How You Think?
07.21.20

Maybe because I’m corny—or maybe because I’m lazy about legitimate journaling—but I have a Google doc where, for years, I’ve kept track of quotes that move me. The quotes are mostly plucked from books, though some are from articles and interviews, and they serve as a record of things I have consumed and loved–things that made me laugh, things that made me feel understood, things that shifted how I think about myself or the world, or things that were simply so poignantly worded I wanted to read them out loud.

I don’t add to the doc very often–frankly, sometimes I even forget it exists–but amidst the upheaval of the past few months, I’ve scrolled through it a number of times, taking comfort in the perspectives of writers and thinkers who are, on the whole, uniquely wise. I’ll share some below that have felt especially resonant, or just nice to revisit lately. Likewise, if there is a particular quote you’ve always loved, or that changed how you think in some way, feel free to share it in the comments.

“Just because you do it
doesn’t mean you always will.
Whether you’re dancing dust
or breathing light
you’re never exactly the same,
twice.”
–Yrsa Daley-Ward, “What Is Now Will Soon Be Past”

“There are so many tiny revolutions in a life, a million ways we have to circle around ourselves to grow and change and be okay. And perhaps the body is our final frontier. It’s the one place we can’t leave. We’re there till it goes.” –Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

“And so it happened again, the daily miracle whereby interiority opens out and brings to bloom the million-petalled flower of being here, in the world, with other people.” –Zadie Smith, On Beauty

“By lamplight, we ate eggs with bright-yellow yolks. She left the sink full of their broken shells, just as she had when we lived together, after both our hearts had been broken.” –Leslie Jamison, Make It Scream, Make It Burn

“Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.” –Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies

“‘Hey,’ he said, half-asleep, ‘what were you before you met me?’
‘I think I was drowning.’
A pause.
‘And what are you now?’ he whispered, sinking.
I thought for a second. ‘Water.’”
–Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

I think that last one might be one of the most romantic things I’ve ever heard… but anyways! Your turn.

Graphics by Lorenza Centi.

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