Too Much Choice Quotes

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We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
I won't tell you that the world matters nothing, or the world's voice, or the voice of society. They matter a good deal. They matter far too much. But there are moments when one has to choose between living one's own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now. Choose!
Oscar Wilde
Sometimes it doesn't matter too much what choice you make, as long as you make it quick and stick to it.
Joe Abercrombie (Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3))
They seemed to be able to choose. We seemed to be able to choose, then. We were a society dying of too much choice.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
To my babies, Merry Christmas. I'm sorry if these letters have caught you both by surprise. There is just so much more I have to say. I know you thought I was done giving advice, but I couldn't leave without reiterating a few things in writing. You may not relate to these things now, but someday you will. I wasn't able to be around forever, but I hope that my words can be. -Don't stop making basagna. Basagna is good. Wait until a day when there is no bad news, and bake a damn basagna. -Find a balance between head and heart. Hopefully you've found that Lake, and you can help Kel sort it out when he gets to that point. -Push your boundaries, that's what they're there for. -I'm stealing this snippet from your favorite band, Lake. "Always remember there is nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name." -Don't take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it. -And Laugh a lot. Never go a day without laughing at least once. -Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life. -Question everything. Your love, your religion, your passions. If you don't have questions, you'll never find answers. -Be accepting. Of everything. People's differences, their similarities, their choices, their personalities. Sometimes it takes a variety to make a good collection. The same goes for people. -Choose your battles, but don't choose very many. -Keep an open mind; it's the only way new things can get in. -And last but not least, not the tiniest bit least. Never regret. Thank you both for giving me the best years of my life. Especially the last one. Love, Mom
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
You can have too much choice in this world. And when everyone has too much choice, it is also much harder to get chosen. And we all want to be chosen.
Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1))
He came up and kissed me on my forehead, and before he stepped away, I closed my eyes and tried hard to memorize this moment. I wanted to remember him exactly as he was right then, how his arms looked brown against his white shirt, the way his hair was cut a little too short in the front. Even the bruise, there because of me. Then he was gone. Just for that moment, the thought that I might never see him again… it felt worse than death. I wanted to run after him. Tell him anything, everything. Just don’t go. Please just never go. Please just always be near me, so I can at least see you. Because it felt final. I always believed that we would find our way back to each other every time. That no matter what, we would be connected—by our history, by this house. But this time, this last time, it felt final. Like I would never see him again, or that when I did, it would be different, there would be a mountain between us. I knew it in my bones. That this time was it. I had finally made my choice, and so had he. He let me go. I was relieved, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was to feel so much grief. Bye bye, Birdie.
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3))
What is it the I'll want from you? Not love: that would be too much to ask. Not forgiveness, which isn't yours to bestow. Only a listener, perhaps; only someone who will see me. Don't prettify me though, whatever else you do: I have no wish to be a decorated skull. But I leave myself in your hands. What choice do I have? By the time you read this last page, that- if anywhere- is the only place I will be.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
Grief reunites you with what you've lost. It's a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that's going away. You follow it a far as you can go. But finally,the grief goes away and you phase back into the world. Without him. And you can accept that. What the hell choice is there? You cry, you continue to cry, because you don't ever completely come back from where you went with him -- a fragment broken off your pulsing, pumping heart is there still. A cut that never heals. And if, when it happens to you over and over again in life, too much of your heart does finally go away, then you can't feel grief any more. And then you yourself are ready to die. You'll walk up the inclined ladder and someone else will remain behind grieving for you.
Philip K. Dick (Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said)
You will be the first test subject, Tobias. Beatrice, however...." She smiles. "You are too injured to be of much use to me, so your execution will occur at the conclusion of this meeting." I try to hide the shudder that goes through me at the word "execution," my shoulder screaming with pain, and look up at Tobias. It's hard to blink tears back when I see the terror in Tobias's wide, dark eyes. "No," says Tobias. His voice trembles, but his look stern as he shakes his head. "I would rather die." "I'm afraid you don't have much of a choice in that matter," replies Jeanine lightly. Tobias takes my face in this hands roughly and kisses me, the pressure of his lips pushing mine apart. I forget my pain and the terror of approaching death and for a moment, I am grateful that the memory of that kiss will be fresh in my mind as I meet my end.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone. Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
Don't think too much. That makes you believe you have more choices than you do. Then you mind becomes confused.
Amy Tan (The Hundred Secret Senses)
Do not regret too much the choices you have made in the past, Gabriel," she said, aware that she was using his Christian name, but not able to help it. "Only make the right ones in the future. We are ever capable of change and ever capable of being our better selves.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
What can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and I, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services. What is the point in worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.
Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day)
We are a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
So in sum, what are we? We are the creatures that know and know too much. That leaves us with such a burden again we have a choice, to laugh or cry. No other animal does either. We do, depending on the season and the need.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
But how? How can you just get over these things, darling?...You've had so much strife but you're always happy. How do you do it?' 'I choose to...I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.' 'But it's not that easy.' He smiled that Frank smile. 'Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things...I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No' - his voice became sober- 'we always have a choice. All of us.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
You fuss too much over making the "right" choice Gaius. All we need do is make a good choice, see it through, and accept the consequences.
Graham McNeill (Fulgrim (The Horus Heresy, #5))
Love is a thousand things, but at the center is a choice. It is a choice to love people. Left to myself, i get quiet and bitter and critical. i get angry. i feel sorry for myself. It is a choice to love people. It is a choice to be kind. It is a choice to be patient, to be honest, to live with grace. i would like to start making better choices.
Jamie Tworkowski (If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For)
Sometimes she would cry. I was so lonely, she'd say. You have no idea how lonely I was. And I had friends, I was a lucky one, but I was lonely anyway. I admired my mother in some ways, although things between us were never easy. She expected too much from me, I felt. She expected me to vindicate her life for her, and the choices she'd made. I didn't want to live my life on her terms. I didn't want to be the model offspring, the incarnation of her ideas. We used to fight about that. I am not your justification for existence, I said her to once. I want her back. I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Poor people have few choices in life, and most of the time you don't think too much about it. You get the best you can and do without when necessary, and hope to God you won't be wiped out by something you can't control. But there are moments it hurts, where there is something you want in the very marrow of your bones and you know there is no way you can have it.
Lisa Kleypas (Sugar Daddy (Travises, #1))
...today’s youngsters had far too much choice, that was the whole problem (...) If you’re constantly presented with alternatives, you can never make up your mind.
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Mary Schmich
You have two choices,” Vance said. I stopped in the doorway to the hall and put my hands on my hips. “And those would be?” I asked. “We can talk or we can f**k.” My eyes rounded. Then they narrowed. I didn’t answer. “Though,” he went on, “I should tell you even if you pick talking, after we’re done, we’re still gonna f**k.” I frowned at him and leaned in. “You are too much,” I snapped. He ignored my threatening posture. “You don’t chose, I will, and I’ll pick f**king. We can talk after.
Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick Renegade (Rock Chick, #4))
Dear Child, Sometimes on your travel through hell, you meet people that think they are in heaven because of their cleverness and ability to get away with things. Travel past them because they don't understand who they have become and never will. These type of people feel justified in revenge and will never learn mercy or forgiveness because they live by comparison. They are the people that don't care about anyone, other than who is making them feel confident. They don’t understand that their deity is not rejoicing with them because of their actions, rather he is trying to free them from their insecurities, by softening their heart. They rather put out your light than find their own. They don't have the ability to see beyond the false sense of happiness they get from destroying others. You know what happiness is and it isn’t this. Don’t see their success as their deliverance. It is a mask of vindication which has no audience, other than their own kind. They have joined countless others that call themselves “survivors”. They believe that they are entitled to win because life didn’t go as planned for them. You are not like them. You were not meant to stay in hell and follow their belief system. You were bound for greatness. You were born to help them by leading. Rise up and be the light home. You were given the gift to see the truth. They will have an army of people that are like them and you are going to feel alone. However, your family in heaven stands beside you now. They are your strength and as countless as the stars. It is time to let go! Love, Your Guardian Angel
Shannon L. Alder
Love doesn't give you very many choices. When you love someone, you just want to be with them. If they break your heart, you will still love them. Because hearts are easy to break, and though love is tender and sometimes fragile, love isn't. Love sort of envelops you. It covers you like a giant shadow, then pulls you in like a blanket. You are so warm. The feeling surrounds you, and no matter how you feel, it is always there. You can't escape it. But you wouldn't want to. You are so, so safe. You can't remember the last time you were this happy. Were you ever? This happy? Every second you are apart feels like hours. Sometimes, right before you fall asleep, you miss them so much it hurts. You ache for them. Their warmth. Their touch. Their smell. You need them. When you can't sleep you wish and wish and wish that they would wake up and talk to you. When you dream of them, you wake up smiling. When pain stabs into you, you reach out for them. You cry to them, begging them to hold you and make it all go away, make everything go away. Love addicts you to its feeling. You never, ever want to lose that feeling. Sometimes the fear of losing love drives people to do crazy things. Like buy a plane ticket. Make a phone call. Run out of a class. Cry. Write. Laugh. Because when you love someone, you really love them. You give them your whole heart. You trust them. You never want to be away from them. Sometimes, you don't even need their words. You just need them there. Love is such an amazing thing, and too many people take it for granted. If you're in love, don't let it go. Don't you dare let it go.
Alysha Speer
Did that hurt? On your lip?" "Not too much. I said a few choice four-letter words, though.
Tammara Webber (Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1))
Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.
Stephanie Lahart
most of my wandering in the desert i've done alone. not so much from choice as from necessity - i generally prefer to go into places where no one else wants to go. i find that in contemplating the natural world my pleasure is greater if there are not too many others contemplating it with me, at the same time.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
It has always been simple, but making it hard was always your way of avoiding pain. If you want to change your life, you have to change what you are doing. It wasn't his fault, her fault, their fault or the circumstances. It was your inability to choose. So, life chose for you. Somewhere in that crazy mind of yours time stopped. You thought someone would rescue you, but they didn't. You have to rescue yourself. This is not a fire you can put out; you have to walk through it, in order to reach life. Getting burned is apart of growth, didn't you know?
Shannon L. Alder
But I am, personally, not a gambler. I wouldn’t spend £1 on the lottery, let alone take a punt on a pregnancy. The stakes are far, far too high. I can’t agree with a society that would force me to bet on how much I could love under duress.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
I knew he never loved me like he loved her, but I wanted him anyway. I knew his love for me was conditional, but I wanted him anyway. I knew I was second choice, but I wanted him anyway. But,this was too much.
Tarryn Fisher (Dirty Red (Love Me with Lies, #2))
When people want to win they will go to desperate extremes. However, anyone that has already won in life has come to the conclusion that there is no game. There is nothing but learning in this life and it is the only thing we take with us to the grave—knowledge. If you only understood that concept then your heart wouldn’t break so bad. Jealousy or revenge wouldn’t be your ambition. Stepping on others to raise yourself up wouldn’t be a goal. Competition would be left on the playing field, and your freedom from what other people think about you would light the pathway out of hell.
Shannon L. Alder
And his eyes frighten me, too. They're the eyes of an old man, an old man who's seen so much in life that he no longer cares to go on living. They're not even desperate... just quiet and expectant, and very, very lonely, as if he were quite alone of his own free choice.
Anne Holm (I Am David)
It's too early for you to have grown up this much.' 'Yeah, well, sometimes you don't have a choice.
Patrick Ness (Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3))
Life is risk. I could get cancer. Or get hit by a car. You could wrap me in bubble wrap and keep me indoors and I could still get sick. I know that I could lose you too. And as much as I don’t want to say it, someday you’re going to die.” Her voice broke on the last word. “But I choose to love you now and I choose to build a life with you knowing I could lose you. I’m asking you to make that same choice. I’m asking you to take the risk, with me.
Sylvain Reynard (Gabriel's Redemption (Gabriel's Inferno, #3))
Since you think it my duty, Mr. Farebrother, I will tell you that I have too strong a feeling for Fred to give him up for any one else. I should never be quite happy if I thought he was unhappy for the loss of me. It has taken such deep root in me—my gratitude to him for always loving me best, and minding so much if I hurt myself, from the time when we were very little. I cannot imagine any new feeling coming to make that weaker.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
As adults we choose our own reading material. Depending on our moods and needs we might read the newspaper, a blockbuster novel, an academic article, a women's magazine, a comic, a children's book, or the latest book that just about everyone is reading. No one chastises us for our choice. No one says, 'That's too short for you to read.' No one says, 'That's too easy for you, put it back.' No one says 'You couldn't read that if you tried -- it's much too difficult.' Yet if we take a peek into classrooms, libraries, and bookshops we will notice that children's choices are often mocked, censured, and denied as valid by idiotic, interfering teachers, librarians, and parents. Choice is a personal matter that changes with experience, changes with mood, and changes with need. We should let it be.
Mem Fox (Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living)
In other words, whatever we choose will be a bit wrong, so we shouldn’t agonise too much about any one choice we make.
The School of Life (How to Find Love)
A rude man tells a women to stop talking too much because she is making noise. A polite man will tell this same woman that she looks so beautiful when her lip are closed. Compare and choose one! Speak politely; but be sure you get to where you are going with your words.
Israelmore Ayivor
He really really really shouldn't have done that. Amazing how much more obvious that became one second after it was too late.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
Love is a choice as much as it is magic. Magic comes in moments, but choices stretch out over time. We make them new each morning.
Jamie Tworkowski (If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For)
At least I have discovered that online dating is not for me. You can have too much choice in this world. And when everyone has too much choice, it is also much harder to get chosen. And we all want to be chosen.
Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1))
He had learned some of the things that every man must find out for himself, and he had found out about them as one has to find out--through error and through trial, through fantasy and illusion, through falsehood and his own damn foolishness, through being mistaken and wrong and an idiot and egotistical and aspiring and hopeful and believing and confused. Each thing he learned was so simple and obvious, once he grasped it, that he wondered why he had not always known it. And what had he learned? A philosopher would not think it much, perhaps, and yet in a simple human way it was a good deal. Just by living, my making the thousand little daily choices that his whole complex of heredity, environment, and conscious thought, and deep emotion had driven him to make, and by taking the consequences, he had learned that he could not eat his cake and have it, too. He had learned that in spite of his strange body, so much off scale that it had often made him think himself a creature set apart, he was still the son and brother of all men living. He had learned that he could not devour the earth, that he must know and accept his limitations. He realized that much of his torment of the years past had been self-inflicted, and an inevitable part of growing up. And, most important of all for one who had taken so long to grow up, he thought he had learned not to be the slave of his emotions.
Thomas Wolfe (You Can't Go Home Again)
Life’s the sum total of all our small mistakes, little tragedies, bad choices. Addition on top of addition. They pile up and pile up until the cost of keeping up appearances is too high and the weight is just too much. Then: collapse.
Lauren Oliver (Rooms)
I know it's not strictly sex that accounts for my straying the motive usually attributed to men. I think it's just too tempting to have two lives rather than one. Some people think that too much travel begets infidelity: Separation and opportunity test the bonds of love. I think it's more likely that people who hate to make choices to settle on one thing or another are attracted to travel. Travel doesn't beget a double life. The appeal of the double life begets travel.
Elisabeth Eaves (Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents)
I am, and always have been - first, last, and always - a child of America. You raised me. I grew up in the pastures and hills of Texas, but I had been to thirty-four states before I learned how to drive. When I caught the stomach flu in the fifth grade, my mother sent a note to school written on the back of a holiday memo from Vice President Biden. Sorry, sir—we were in a rush, and it was the only paper she had on hand. I spoke to you for the first time when I was eighteen, on the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, when I introduced my mother as the nominee for president. You cheered for me. I was young and full of hope, and you let me embody the American dream: that a boy who grew up speaking two languages, whose family was blended and beautiful and enduring, could make a home for himself in the White House. You pinned the flag to my lapel and said, “We’re rooting for you.” As I stand before you today, my hope is that I have not let you down. Years ago, I met a prince. And though I didn’t realize it at the time, his country had raised him too. The truth is, Henry and I have been together since the beginning of this year. The truth is, as many of you have read, we have both struggled every day with what this means for our families, our countries, and our futures. The truth is, we have both had to make compromises that cost us sleep at night in order to afford us enough time to share our relationship with the world on our own terms. We were not afforded that liberty. But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable. America has always believed this. And so, I am not ashamed to stand here today where presidents have stood and say that I love him, the same as Jack loved Jackie, the same as Lyndon loved Lady Bird. Every person who bears a legacy makes the choice of a partner with whom they will share it, whom the American people will “hold beside them in hearts and memories and history books. America: He is my choice. Like countless other Americans, I was afraid to say this out loud because of what the consequences might be. To you, specifically, I say: I see you. I am one of you. As long as I have a place in this White House, so will you. I am the First Son of the United States, and I’m bisexual. History will remember us. If I can ask only one thing of the American people, it’s this: Please, do not let my actions influence your decision in November. The decision you will make this year is so much bigger than anything I could ever say or do, and it will determine the fate of this country for years to come. My mother, your president, is the warrior and the champion that each and every American deserves for four more years of growth, progress, and prosperity. Please, don’t let my actions send us backward. I ask the media not to focus on me or on Henry, but on the campaign, on policy, on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans at stake in this election. And finally, I hope America will remember that I am still the son you raised. My blood still runs from Lometa, Texas, and San Diego, California, and Mexico City. I still remember the sound of your voices from that stage in Philadelphia. I wake up every morning thinking of your hometowns, of the families I’ve met at rallies in Idaho and Oregon and South Carolina. I have never hoped to be anything other than what I was to you then, and what I am to you now—the First Son, yours in actions and words. And I hope when Inauguration Day comes again in January, I will continue to be.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
We were a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)
Then I should be able to say anything I want, right? Even the word ‘penis’?” Laney sighed. “Do we have to do this right now?” You should try saying the word sometime.” I’ll pass, thank you.” Payton shrugged. “Your choice, but I think you’d find it liberating. Everybody could use a good ‘penis’ now and then.” Laney glanced nervously around the coffee shop. “People are listening.” Sorry—you’re right. Good rule of thumb: if you’re gonna throw out a ‘penis’ in a public place, it should be soft. Otherwise it attracts too much attention.” The woman at the next table gaped at them.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
You only have one life to live. How you live that life is your choice. As far as I know, no one has ever had 'I wish I had bought more stuff' inscribed on their tombstone. What you own can easily blind you to who you are and what you can be.
Peter Walsh (It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff)
The thing is these days there is too much choice. When I was younger, you were grateful with what you were given.
Phaedra Patrick (The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper)
The more I write stories for young people, and the more young readers I meet, the more I'm struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds. Yes, all the “issue” books are great and have a place in literature, but it's a different and wildly joyous gift to find yourself on the pages of an entertainment, experiencing the thrills and chills of a world more adventurous than our own. And when you see that as a writer, you quickly realize that you don't want to be the jerk who says to a young reader, “Sorry, kid. You don't get to exist in story; you're too different.” You don't want to be part of our present dystopia that tells kids that if they just stopped being who they are they could have a story written about them, too. That's the role of the bad guy in the dystopian stories, right? Given a choice, I'd rather be the storyteller who says every kid can have a chance to star.
Paolo Bacigalupi
If we are defined by reason and morality, then reason and morality must define our choices, even when animals are concerned. When people say, for example, that they like their veal or hot dogs too much to ever give them up, and yeah it's sad about the farms but that's just the way it is, reason hears in that the voice of gluttony. We can say that what makes a human being human is precisely the ability to understand that the suffering of an animal is more important than the taste of a treat.
Matthew Scully (Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy)
Maybe the weight of human choices gets too much beyond a few seconds, the way you can’t predict the weather too far in advance because there are too many things going on.", FADE by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow (Fade (Fade, #1))
Do not regret too much the choices you have made in the past, Gabriel,” she said, aware that she was using his Christian name, but not able to help it. “Only make the right ones in future. We are ever capable of change and ever capable of being our better selves.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
With age comes self-awareness, or something that looks like self-awareness, and so I try to be on the lookout for patterns of behavior, choices I’m making where I’m trying too hard, giving too much, reaching too intently for being right when right is what someone else wants me to be. It’s scary, though, trying to be yourself and hoping yourself is enough. It’s scary believing that you, as you are, could never be enough.
Roxane Gay (Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body)
I choose to choose few words each day. Yes! few words that count. Few words that can make impact. Few words that talk much. Few words that can make people ponder to wonder. Few words that are indelible. Few words that can leave distinctive footprints on minds. Though we may fail to mind our words, we shall never fail to mind the works of our words.
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Although most people never overcome the habit of berating the world for their difficulties, those who are too weak to make a stand against reality have no choice but to obliterate themselves by identifying with it. They are never rationally reconciled to civilization. Instead, they bow to it, secretly accepting the identity of reason and domination, of civilization and the ideal, however much they may shrug their shoulders. Well-informed cynicism is only another mode of conformity. These people willingly embrace or force themselves to accept the rule of the stronger as the eternal norm. Their whole life is a continuous effort to suppress and abase nature, inwardly or outwardly, and to identify themselves with its more powerful surrogates—the race, fatherland, leader, cliques, and tradition. For them, all these words mean the same thing—the irresistible reality that must be honored and obeyed. However, their own natural impulses, those antagonistic to the various demands of civilization, lead a devious undercover life within them.
Max Horkheimer (Eclipse of Reason)
Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
Lovers are not at their best when it matters. Mouths dry up, palms sweat, conversation flags and all the time the heart is threatening to fly from the body once and for all. Lovers have been known to have heart attacks. Lovers drink too much from nervousness and cannot perform. They eat too little and faint during their fervently wished consummation. They do not stroke the favoured cat and their face-paint comes loose. This is not all. Whatever you have set store by, your dress, your dinner, your poetry, will go wrong. How is it that one day life is orderly and you are content, a little cynical perhaps, but on the whole just so, and then without warning you find the solid floor is a trapdoor and you are now in another place whose geography is uncertain and whose customs are strange? Travellers at least have a choice. Those who set sail know that things will not be the same as at home. Explorers are prepared. But for us, who travel along the blood vessels, who come to the cities of the interior by chance, there is no preparation. We who were fluent find life is a foreign language. Somewhere between the swamp and the mountains. Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse.
Jeanette Winterson (The Passion)
If North Koreans paused to contemplate the obvious inconsistencies and lies in what they were told, they would find themselves in a dangerous place. They didn't have a choice. They couldn't flee their country, depose their leadership, speak out, or protest. In order to fit in, the average citizen had to discipline himself not to think too much.
Barbara Demick (Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea)
Weak people find even weaker people to be their victims. And the victimized often feel that they have only two choices: put up with the pain or end their suffering in death. But they're wrong. The world you lives in is much bigger than that. If the place in which you find yourself is too painful, I say you should be free to seek another, less painful place of refuge. There is no shame in seeking a safe place. I want you to believe that somewhere in this wide world there is a place for you, a safe haven.
Kanae Minato (Confessions)
...the Beatles were hard men too. Brian Epstein cleaned them up for mass consumption, but they were anything but sissies. They were from Liverpool, which is like Hamburg or Norfolk, Virginia--a hard, sea-farin' town, all these dockers and sailors around all the time who would beat the piss out of you if you so much as winked at them. Ringo's from the Dingle, which is like the f***ing Bronx. The Rolling Stones were the mummy's boys--they were all college students from the outskirts of London. They went to starve in London, but it was by choice, to give themselves some sort of aura of disrespectability. I did like the Stones, but they were never anywhere near the Beatles--not for humour, not for originality, not for songs, not for presentation. All they had was Mick Jagger dancing about. Fair enough, the Stones made great records, but they were always s**t on stage, whereas the Beatles were the gear.
Lemmy Kilmister (White Line Fever: The Autobiography)
All this "honest work" kills beauty in man too. It forces men into poor diet, poor choices, poor paths outside the workplace. Everything in life for them, whether they chose so or not, must revolve around their "honest work". No time to research, pick, and cook a proper meal so I have chips and soda again. No time to work out, to worship the sun in peace, to study so I watch television and jerk off in-between beers again. No time to even so much as consider another way of life so I hammer nails into useless thing for useless people in useless place again. You are being scammed, robbed.
Mike Ma (Harassment Architecture)
Most of us know that the media tell us our bodies are imperfect - too fat, to smelly, too wrinkled, or too soft. And, even though we may know it’s horseshit, these messages still seep into our brains and mess with our self-esteem. In a media-saturated country where most images of women and men have been photoshopped to perfection, it’s hard to find a living supermodel (much less a computer programmer), who doesn’t wish she had sexier earlobes or a tighter ass. So, buck up, even the prettiest bombshell has body insecurities. You can spend your life thinking your butt’s too big (or your cock’s too small) or feeling sexy as hell. Make the choice to appreciate your body as it is.
Victoria Vantoch (The Threesome Handbook: Make the Most of Your Favorite Fantasy - the Ultimate Guide for Tri-Curious Singles and Couples)
You are my everything,” Julie said. “You are challenging, and difficult, and guarded. I love those things about you. You are fascinating, and complex, and brilliant, and funny. I love those things about you, too. I am in love with your selflessness and your ability to sacrifice too much. I am in love with the parts of you that fear and that hurt and that push people away. I am love in with your vulnerability and your strength. I am in love with your capacity to love harder and with more loyalty than I ever imagined anyone could. I am in love with the choices you’ve made, even the mistakes, because they brought us to where we are right now. More than those things, I am very simply in love with you and everything that you are. Your past, your present, and your future.” She touched her fingers to him, tracing his lips and then moving across his jaw and over his cheek. “I think about you all the time, and I can’t get you out of my head. I am listening to my heart, finally, without doubting anything. And I will never stop.” And then she kissed him. Long and hard and endlessly, only eventually slowing. “Now open your eyes and look at me. I feel everything that you feel, Matt. I always have, and I know that now. And it is time to stop hurting.
Jessica Park (Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love, #1.5))
Jonathan had become increasingly disillusioned with living in New York. Something along the lines of: the city, New York fucking City, tedious and boring, its charms as illusory as its facade of authenticity. Its lines were too long. Everything was a status symbol and everything cost too much. There were so many on-trend consumers, standing in lines for blocks to experience a fad dessert, gimmicky art exhibits, a new retail concept store. We were all making such uninspired lifestyle choices. We, including me.
Ling Ma (Severance)
My choices were either too much alcohol or a whirl with my vibrator, and I was damned if I’d have a battery-provided orgasm starring Dark and Dangerous.
Sylvia Day (Bared to You (Crossfire, #1))
When you don’t fight against evil, you too are to be blamed as much as the evil itself. You have two choices. Accept it, or fight it out.
Ravinder Singh (Your Dreams Are Mine Now)
I don't think you can get really out of anorexia (or any addiction, for that matter) until you simply have no other choice, until the sense that your back's against the wall grows too strong and too irrefutable, until you are simply in too much pain - too desperate and deeply bored and unhappy - to go on.
Caroline Knapp (Drinking: A Love Story)
It stuck with Jim that today's youngsters had far too much choice, that was the whole problem--if all those modern dating apps had existed when Jims' wife first met him, she would never have ended up becoming his wife. If you're constantly presented with alternatives, you can never make up your mind, Jim thought.
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
Patriotism is a thing difficult to put into words. It is neither precisely an emotion nor an opinion, nor a mandate, but a state of mind -- a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, and respect for our roots. Love of country plays a part, but it's not merely love. Neither is it pride, although pride too is one of the ingredients. Patriotism is a commitment to what is best inside us all. And it's a recognition of that wondrous common essence in our greater surroundings -- our school, team, city, state, our immediate society -- often ultimately delineated by our ethnic roots and borders... but not always. Indeed, these border lines are so fluid... And we do not pay allegiance as much as we resonate with a shared spirit. We all feel an undeniable bond with the land where we were born. And yet, if we leave it for another, we grow to feel a similar bond, often of a more complex nature. Both are forms of patriotism -- the first, involuntary, by birth, the second by choice. Neither is less worthy than the other. But one is earned.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories , on the one hand , we can sugercoat it. Nothing is too messed up that can't be fixed with a Peter Gabriel song, I like this version as much as the next girl does. It's just not the truth
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
You're suicidal.You know how impossible this sounds?" "Yes." I pause. "But I don't really have much choice." "Well,go on.What about the square?" "Diversion." My eyes lock onto Kaede's. "Create chaos in Batalla Square, as much chaos as you can manage. Enough chaos to force most of the soldiers guarding the back exits to enter the square and help contain the crowd-if only for a couple of minutes. That's what the electro-bomb might help you with. Set it off in the air, and it'll shake up the ground in Batalla Hall and around it. It shouldn't hurt anyone, but it'll definitely stir up some panic. And if the guns in the vicinity are disabled,they can't shoot at Day even if they see him escaping along a rooftop.They'll have to chase him or try their luck with less accurate stun guns." "Okay,genius." Kaede laughs, a little too sarcastically. "Let me ask you this, though. How the hell are you going to get Day out of the building at all? You think you're going to be the only soldier escorting him to the firing squad? Other soldiers will probably flank you.Hell,a whole patrol might join you." I smile at her. "There will be other soldiers. But who says they can't be Patriots in disguise?" She doesn't answer me,not in words. But I can see the grin spreading on her face, and I realize that even though she thinks I'm crazy,she has also agreed to help.
Marie Lu (Legend (Legend, #1))
The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better--but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn't care. I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.' I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries--I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that's someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research. Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe--what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery. To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be. Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit. So, I believed.
Lance Armstrong (It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)
You’re not terrified of me. You’re terrified of letting yourself care for me, and I can’t say I blame you. People who love me usually end up dead. But you see, I’m not going to give you any choice. You belong to me now whether you like it or not.” “I don’t like it, not one bit!” “Try to escape,” he suggested coolly. “Go ahead. See what happens. Give me one excuse to take what I want from you, even if it is against your will. I want you that much. Too damned much.” He turned without warning and kissed her, flattening her back against the pine mast.
Gaelen Foley (The Pirate Prince (Ascension Trilogy #1))
Do not regret too much of the choices you have made in the past, only make the right ones in the future. We are ever capable of change and ever cable of being our better selves.
Cassandra Clare
is a choice to love people. It is a choice to be kind. It is a choice to be patient, to be honest, to live with grace.
Jamie Tworkowski (If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For)
But… all I said was that I was scared." After what you got to experience? That's smart, kid," I said. "I'm scared, too. Every time something like this happens, it scares me. But being strong doesn't get you through. Being smart does. I've beaten people and things who were stronger than I was, because they didn't use their heads, or because I used what I had better than they did. It isn't about muscle, kiddo, magical or otherwise. It's about your attitude. About your mind." She nodded slowly and said, "About doing things for the right reasons." You don't throw down like this just because you're strong enough to do it," I said. "You do it because you don't have much choice. You do it because it's unacceptable to walk away, and still live with yourself later." She stared at me for a second, and then her eyes widened. "Otherwise, you're using power for the sake of using power." I nodded. "And power tends to corrupt. It isn't hard to love using it, Molly. You've got to go in with the right attitude or…" Or the power starts using you," she said. She'd heard the argument before, but this was the first time she said the words slowly, thoughtfully, as if she'd actually understood them, instead of just parroting them back to me. Then she looked up. "That's why you do it. Why you help people. You're using the power for someone other than yourself.
Jim Butcher (White Night (The Dresden Files, #9))
I wish I could change everything about myself but it's just—it's too late to do anything, that's the problem. It's all so fucked up, and I just don't who I am anymore, you know? Like, who is this person who made all these choices that I just have to live with? I look back at that person and I hate her, I hate her so much for what she did to me, that person is like my nemesis, my worst enemy, but the problem is, that person is me.
Kristen Roupenian (You Know You Want This)
She’d heard my theory on funnel cake and celery stalker men before. Most men were either like funnel cake: delicious and interesting, but who at the end of the day just aren’t good for the heart or complexion. Or they were celery: a sensible, healthy choice that didn’t really bring much to the table but an occasional crunch. If you OD on celery, you end up bingeing on cake behind closed doors. Funnel cake, while warm and delicious, is difficult to make. But you go there because you long for it like the double-twist stomach-dropping roller coaster as soon as you arrive at the amusement park. Wet ribbons of batter crackle and pop until golden and crisp, yielding in the center. The steamy swirls of tender yellow dough absorb confectioners’ sugar like pores. When the luxurious fat melts on your tongue, you exhale. You’ve got sticky batter, dribbling down spouts, leaving rings on your clean countertops, splattering oil growing darker and beginning to smoke. Layers of paper towels and oil-draining weapons clutter your space. With funnel cake, you’ve got steps to follow. Procedures. Rules. No one makes rules about celery. It’s always around for the snacking. You choose it when you’re dieting or trying not to consume too many wings over football. Come to think of it, you don’t even bother eating it when you diet. Instead it’s a conduit for blue cheese. You use it to make stocks and stuffing. It becomes filler, pantry almost.
Stephanie Klein (Straight Up and Dirty)
As I asked more pointed questions about the choices and behaviors Wholehearted men and women made to reduce anxiety, they explained that reducing anxiety meant paying attention to how much they could do and how much was too much, and learning how to say, “Enough.” They got very clear on what was important to them and when they could let something go.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
I admired my mother in some ways, although things between us were never easy. She expected too much from me, I felt. She expected me to vindicate her life for her, and the choices she'd made. I didn't want to live my life on her terms. I didn't want to be the model offspring, the incarnation of her ideas. We used to fight about that. I am not your justification for existence, I said to her once.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Do not regret too much the choices you have made in the past, Gabriel," Cecily said. "Only make the right ones in the future. We are ever capable of change and ever capable of being our better selves.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Kevin," Neil said, and waited for Kevin to finally look at him. "Figure out what you want more than anything, what it would kill you to lose. That's what's at stake if you let Riko win. Calculate the cost of your fear. If it's too much, you need to fight. Wouldn't you rather die trying than never try at all?" "It's death either way," Kevin pointed out. "Die free or die a failure," Neil said. "The choice is yours
Nora Sakavic (The King's Men (All for the Game, #3))
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, and maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it, but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Baz Luhrmann
I have learned not to take too much notice of those who disapprove of my lifestyle choices, because I know that I was not designed to be part of the crowd. If I am different, I make no apology, and I hope that others will have the courage to be themselves and stand up for what they believe in, fight for those who need protection, love who they want to love, and be proud of it.
Clare Balding (My Animals and Other Family)
Without any reading time in class, too much homework, and little choice provided in reading material or writing topics, Sarah keeps her reading life alive in spite of school, not because of it. Our children shouldn't have to wait for adulthood to become wild readers. For many, it will be too late.
Donalyn Miller (Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits)
The difference between a person who appreciates books, even loves them, and a collector is not only degrees of affection, I realized. For the former, the bookshelf is a kind of memoir; there are my childhood books, my college books, my favorite novels, my inexplicable choices. Many matchmaking and social networking websites offer a place for members to list what they're reading for just this reason: books can reveal a lot about a person. This is particularly true of the collector, for whom the bookshelf is a reflection not just of what he has read but profoundly of who he is: 'Ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they can come alive in him; it is he who comes alive in them,' wrote cultural critic Walter Benjamin.
Allison Hoover Bartlett (The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession)
You may be afraid. But the choice to love you is mine. Not yours. You don’t get to make that choice for me. You can choose to not let me love you, but you can’t tell me what’s too much for me to handle. That’s for me to decide.
Jasinda Wilder (Saving Forever (The Ever Trilogy, #3))
So we get a karaoke machine. On the first night, the year tens stage a competition, insisting that every member of the House has to be involved, so we clear the year-seven and -eight dorms and wait for our turn. Raffy is on second and does an impressive job of "I Can''t Live, If Living Means Without You" but then one of the seniors points out to her that she's chosen a dependency song and Raffy spends the whole night neuroticising about it. "I just worked out that I don't have ambition," she says while one of the year eights sings tearfully, "Am I Not Pretty Enough?" I start compiling a list of all the kids I should be recommending to the school counsellor, based on their song choices. "I think she's reading a little to much into it, Raf." "No she isn't. Because do you know what my second and third choices were? 'Don't Leave Me This Way' and 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself.'" "Mary Grace chose 'Brown-eyed Girl' and she's got blue eyes and Serina sang 'It's Raining Men' and she's a lesbian. You're taking this way too seriously. Let it go.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
In all important transactions of life we have to take a leap in the dark.... If we decide to leave the riddles unanswered, that is a choice; if we waver in our answer, that, too, is a choice: but whatever choice we make, we make it at our peril. If a man chooses to turn his back altogether on God and the future, no one can prevent him; no one can show beyond reasonable doubt that he is mistaken. If a man thinks otherwise and acts as he thinks, I do not see that any one can prove that he is mistaken. Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him. We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road we shall be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? ' Be strong and of a good courage.' Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes. . . . If death ends all, we cannot meet death better.
James Fitzjames Stephen (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)
Anger is an assertion of rights and worth. It is communication, equality, and knowledge. It is intimacy, acceptance, fearlessness, embodiment, revolt, and reconciliation. Anger is memory and rage. It is rational thought and irrational pain. Anger is freedom, independence, expansiveness, and entitlement. It is justice, passion, clarity, and motivation. Anger is instrumental, thoughtful, complicated, and resolved. In anger, whether you like it or not, there is truth. Anger is the demand of accountability, It is evaluation, judgment, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary, and participatory. It's a speech act, a social statement, an intention, and a purpose. It's a risk and a threat. A confirmation and a wish. It is both powerlessness and power, palliative and a provocation. In anger, you will find both ferocity and comfort, vulnerability and hurt. Anger is the expression of hope. How much anger is too much? Certainly not the anger that, for many of us, is a remembering of a self we learned to hide and quiet. It is willful and disobedient. It is survival, liberation, creativity, urgency, and vibrancy. It is a statement of need. An insistence of acknowledgment. Anger is a boundary. Anger is boundless. An opportunity for contemplation and self-awareness. It is commitment. Empathy. Self-love. Social responsibility. If it is poison, it is also the antidote. The anger we have as women is an act of radical imagination. Angry women burn brighter than the sun. In the coming years, we will hear, again, that anger is a destructive force, to be controlled. Watch carefully, because not everyone is asked to do this in equal measure. Women, especially, will be told to set our anger aside in favor of a kinder, gentler approach to change. This is a false juxtaposition. Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most—those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them—have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation. Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
Journalists can sound grandiose when they talk about their profession. Some of us are adrenaline junkies; some of us are escapists; some of us do wreck our personal lives and hurt those who love us most. This work can destroy people. I have seen so many friends and colleagues become unrecognizable from trauma: short-tempered, sleepless, and alienated from friends. But after years of witnessing so much suffering in the world, we find it hard to acknowledge that lucky, free, prosperous people like us might be suffering, too. We feel more comfortable in the darkest places than we do back home, where life seems too simple and too easy. We don’t listen to that inner voice that says it is time to take a break from documenting other people’s lives and start building our own. Under it all, however, are the things that sustain us and bring us together: the privilege of witnessing things that others do not; an idealistic belief that a photograph might affect people’s souls; the thrill of creating art and contributing to the world’s database of knowledge. When I return home and rationally consider the risks, the choices are difficult. But when I am doing my work, I am alive and I am me. It’s what I do. I am sure there are other versions of happiness, but this one is mine.
Lynsey Addario (It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War)
Memory cannot be understood, either, without a mathematical approach. The fundamental given is the ratio between the amount of time in the lived life and the amount of time from that life that is stored in memory. No one has ever tried to calculate this ratio, and in fact there exists no technique for doing so; yet without much risk of error I could assume that the memory retains no more than a millionth, a hundred-millionth, in short an utterly infinitesimal bit of the lived life. That fact too is part of the essence of man. If someone could retain in his memory everything he had experienced, if he could at any time call up any fragment of his past, he would be nothing like human beings: neither his loves nor his friendships nor his angers nor his capacity to forgive or avenge would resemble ours. We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed.
Milan Kundera
I'd seen too much pain from love. I couldn't be with someone who had stung me sharply so early on. I wasn't strong enough. I wasn't.... romantic enough to work through it. Because what I'd learned was love isn't just a feeling. Love is a choice too.
Holly Bourne (It Only Happens in the Movies)
If you choose a craft or hobby, then make sure it's something you really enjoy. Do it because you want to, not because others expect it of you or because it's something you once liked or because you don't want those materials you bought to go to waste. just as you should choose the life you want, it's also your choice how you spend your free time.
Peter Walsh (It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff)
None of us know how long we have, but we do have a choice in whether we love or hate. And every day that we rob people of the ability to live their lives to the fullest, we are undermining the most precious gift we are given as humans. [... E]ach time we ask anyone—whether they are transgender, Black, an immigrant, Muslim, Native American, gay, or a woman—to sit by and let an extended conversation take place about whether they deserve to be respected and affirmed in who they are, we are asking people to watch their one life pass by without dignity or fairness. That is too much to ask of anyone.
Sarah McBride (Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality)
...women on their own, making up their minds. They wore blouses with buttons down the front that suggested the possibilities of the word undone. These women could be undone; or not. They seemed to be able to choose. We seemed to be able to choose, then. We were a society of dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Sometimes it took Alex and Hellie hours, sometimes days, but they always came back. There was too much world. There were too many choices, and those only seemed to lead to more choices. That was the business of living, and neither of them had ever acquired the skill.
Leigh Bardugo (Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1))
On any given day you have the chance to be a hero or a victim, predator or prey. Most times, circumstances are beyond your control. Other times, you got a choice but you think about it too much and you freeze up. Sometime, though, you're forced to react and it's all instinct. May not make a damn bit of difference in a bad situation. But sometimes instinct squeezes the good out of you, forces you to be a hero before you even realize it.
Joshua C. Cohen (Leverage)
Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks--drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it's the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives.
Mark Steyn (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon)
Often black people, especially non-gay folk, become enraged when they hear a white person who is gay suggest homosexuality is synonymous with the suffering people experience as a consequence of racial exploitation and oppression. The need to make gay experience and black experience of oppression synonymous seems to be one that surfaces much more in the minds of white people. Too often it is a way of minimizing or diminishing the particular problems people of color face in a white supremacist society, especially the problems ones encounter because they do not have white skin. Many of us have been in discussions where a non-white person – a black person – struggles to explain to white folks that while we can acknowledge that gay people of all colors are harassed and suffer exploitation and domination, we also recognize that there is a significant difference that arises because of the visibility of dark skin. Often homophobic attacks on gay people of all occur in situations where knowledge of sexual preference is established – outside of gay bars, for example. While it in no way lessens the severity of such suffering for gay people, or the fear that it causes, it does mean that in a given situation the apparatus of protection and survival may be simply not identifying as gay. In contrast, most people of color have no choice. No one can hide, change or mask dark skin color. White people, gay and straight, could show greater understanding of the impact of racial oppression on people of color by not attempting to make these oppressions synonymous, but rather by showing the ways they are linked and yet differ. Concurrently, the attempt by white people to make synonymous experience of homophobic aggression with racial oppression deflects attention away from the particular dual dilemma that non-white gay people face, as individuals who confront both racism and homophobia.
bell hooks (Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black)
But if all maximizing models are really arguing is that “people will always seek to maximize something,” then they obviously can’t predict anything, which means employing them can hardly be said to make anthropology more scientific. All they really add to analysis is a set of assumptions about human nature. The assumption, most of all, that no one ever does anything primarily out of concern for others; that whatever one does, one is only trying to get something out of it for oneself. In common English, there is a word for this attitude. It’s called “cynicism.” Most of us try to avoid people who take it too much to heart. In economics, apparently, they call it “science.
David Graeber (Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams)
You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him--the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints--is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend. I was a gifted girl. I was meant to live up to a high standard, to expect much of myself and do great things. I could have played a great part. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and at my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money's sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor. Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual--but it was the same road. Do you think I can't understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and irresponsible antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours--
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Love is a thousand things, but at the center is a choice. It is a choice to love people. Left to myself, i get quiet and bitter and critical. i get angry. i feel sorry for myself. It is a choice to love people. It is a choice to be kind. It is a choice to be patient, to be honest, to live with grace.
Jamie Tworkowski (If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For)
She handed back the cigar and dug the silver watch out of her vest pocket. It was warm and smooth, and she didn't know why she liked it so much, but she did. Maybe because it was a choice. Taking it had been a choice. Keeping it had been one, too. And maybe the choice started as a random one, but there was something to it.
V.E. Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1))
My whole life has been filled with people whose aims were always in the bad place. The difference with Santiago is all his decisions were made with me in mind. Even if it wasn’t the right choice for me, it was the right choice to him, and I need to understand that. And most of all, growing up in a world of uncaring people shows me that it’s not okay to punish someone for caring too much.
Lauren Asher (Redeemed (Dirty Air, #4))
It was hard not to feel resentment that men weren't forced into these choices. Some days she felt that she would spend all her time trying to forget her life before children because she loved them too much to be reminded of the heat of Rome in the summer and a beautiful girl who turned heads as she walked down an Italian strada.
Whitney Otto (Eight Girls Taking Pictures)
Anytime I talk about my work informally, I inevitably encounter someone who wants to know why addicts become addicts. They use words like “will” and “choice,” and they end by saying, “Don’t you think there’s more to it than the brain?” They are skeptical of the rhetoric of addiction as disease, something akin to high blood pressure or diabetes, and I get that. What they’re really saying is that they may have partied in high school and college but look at them now. Look how strong-willed they are, how many good choices they’ve made. They want reassurances. They want to believe that they have been loved enough and have raised their children well enough that the things that I research will never, ever touch their own lives. I understand this impulse. I, too, have spent years creating my little moat of good deeds in an attempt to protect the castle of myself. I don’t want to be dismissed the way that Nana was once dismissed. I know that it’s easier to say Their kind does seem to have a taste for drugs, easier to write all addicts off as bad and weak-willed people, than it is to look closely at the nature of their suffering. I do it too, sometimes. I judge. I walk around with my chest puffed out, making sure hat everyone knows about my Harvard and Stanford degrees, as if those things encapsulate me, and when I do so, I give in to the same facile, lazy thinking that characterizes those who think of addicts as horrible people. It’s just that I’m standing on the other side of the moat. What I can say for certain is that there is no case study in the world that could capture the whole animal of my brother, that could show how smart and kind and generous he was, how much he wanted to get better, how much he wanted to live. Forget for a moment what he looked like on paper, and instead see him as he was in all of his glory, in all of his beauty. It’s true that for years before he died, I would look at his face and think, What a pity, what a waste. But the waste was my own, the waste was what I missed out on whenever I looked at him and saw just his addiction.
Yaa Gyasi (Transcendent Kingdom)
never go into the Council room without a plan. You have to give them a range of possibilities, but if they discuss them too much, they’ll never make a decision. Steer them toward the right choice and don’t let them derail the train.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7))
I wanted it so much. So much sometimes it felt like I couldn't breathe. Sometimes I would cry, not because I was sad, but because it hurt, physical pain from the intensity of wanting something so much. I'm a good student of philosophy, I know my Stoics, Cynics, their advice, that, when a desire is so intense it hurts you, the healthy path is to detach, unwant it, let it go. The healthy thing for the self. But there are a lot of reasons one can want to be an author: acclaim, wealth, self-respect, finding a community, the finite immortality of name in print, so many more. But I wanted it to add my voice to the Great Conversation, to reply to Diderot, Voltaire, Osamu Tezuka, and Alfred Bester, so people would read my books and think new things, and make new things from those thoughts, my little contribution to the path which flows from Gilgamesh and Homer to the stars. And that isn't just for me. It's for you. Which means it was the right choice to hang on to the desire, even when it hurt so much.
Ada Palmer (Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota, #1))
Never let anyone break you down. You need to be strong enough to stand your ground and not let others crush your spirit or soul. There are sick people out there who get pleasure out of watching others suffer. You cannot let them make you fail or quit. That's your choice, not thiers. Hold your head high, stand your ground and don't ever let them see that thier evilness is getting to you. Do not b elieve thier lies. You know who you are. You are an awesome person. Keep faith. Maintain hope and know you can make it through anything. You've already been through a lot. If it feels like its getting to be too much, consider praying. And if that doesn't help... just call me up and you know I'll be there. You are never alone.
José N Harris
So many of us think ourselves into smallness, into inferiority, by thinking downward. We are held back by too much caution. We are timid about venturing. We are not bold enough.... Struck down by our own caution, our own lack of faith in ourselves and our abilities. Opportunities? There were many. But always there was risk. Do we dare? We vacillate. Time hurries by. Opportunity gone. We anguish. The years roll on. Finally, we convince ourselves that it's too late and settle for cheap imitations of life.
Og Mandino (The Choice)
No two people in history had Kingsley and Nora’s history. With everything they’d put each other through, they’d had two choices – hate each other or love each other. They were so much alike, hating each other would have been like hating themselves. And both of them were rather too self-important for that sort of nonsense. So they picked love.
Tiffany Reisz (The Virgin (The Original Sinners, #7))
Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have though much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else -something it never entered your head to conceive- comes crasing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.
C.S. Lewis (The Case for Christianity)
The only reasons I can think of for you listening to Dumbledore- and don't give me that following orders bullshit Remus, I know you too well, you're as much of a rule follower as I am- so either you really, honestly, don't trust Sirius or... or you're punishing him. Because you and I both know that the easiest way to hurt Sirius Black is to leave him.
MesserMoon (Choices)
Contrary to what has been written and said about me, I do not harbor hate in my heart for Lucifer. In fact, it is the opposite. I believe that the problems between us were caused because I loved him too much. He was unable to handle the sheer magnitude of it. With that and the free will I instilled within him, he made choices that in the end tore us apart.
Melyssa Winchester (Stairway to Heaven (Love United, #4))
So often when we are unhappy it is becasue we are taking too much responsibility or we are taking too little. Instead of being assertive and choosing clearly for ourselves, we might become aggressive (choosing for others) or passive (letting others choose for us), or passive-aggressive (choosing for others by preventing them from achieving what they are choosing for themselves).
Edith Eva Eger (The Choice: Embrace the Possible)
As a teenager, I told everybody that I didn't care about anything, when the truth was I cared about way too much. Other people ruled my world without my even knowing. I thought happiness was a destiny not choice. I thought love was something that just happened, not something you worked for.
Mark Manson
I come not, Ambrosia for any of the purposes thou hast named," replied Marcela, "but to defend myself and to prove how unreasonable are all those who blame me for their sorrow and for Chrysostom's death; and therefore I ask all of you that are here to give me your attention, for will not take much time or many words to bring the truth home to persons of sense. Heaven has made me, so you say, beautiful, and so much so that in spite of yourselves my beauty leads you to love me; and for the love you show me you say, and even urge, that I am bound to love you. By that natural understanding which God has given me I know that everything beautiful attracts love, but I cannot see how, by reason of being loved, that which is loved for its beauty is bound to love that which loves it; besides, it may happen that the lover of that which is beautiful may be ugly, and ugliness being detestable, it is very absurd to say, "I love thee because thou art beautiful, thou must love me though I be ugly." But supposing the beauty equal on both sides, it does not follow that the inclinations must be therefore alike, for it is not every beauty that excites love, some but pleasing the eye without winning the affection; and if every sort of beauty excited love and won the heart, the will would wander vaguely to and fro unable to make choice of any; for as there is an infinity of beautiful objects there must be an infinity of inclinations, and true love, I have heard it said, is indivisible, and must be voluntary and not compelled. If this be so, as I believe it to be, why do you desire me to bend my will by force, for no other reason but that you say you love me? Nay—tell me—had Heaven made me ugly, as it has made me beautiful, could I with justice complain of you for not loving me? Moreover, you must remember that the beauty I possess was no choice of mine, for, be it what it may, Heaven of its bounty gave it me without my asking or choosing it; and as the viper, though it kills with it, does not deserve to be blamed for the poison it carries, as it is a gift of nature, neither do I deserve reproach for being beautiful; for beauty in a modest woman is like fire at a distance or a sharp sword; the one does not burn, the other does not cut, those who do not come too near. Honour and virtue are the ornaments of the mind, without which the body, though it be so, has no right to pass for beautiful; but if modesty is one of the virtues that specially lend a grace and charm to mind and body, why should she who is loved for her beauty part with it to gratify one who for his pleasure alone strives with all his might and energy to rob her of it?
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
Scarcity is not just a physical constraint. It is also a mindset. When scarcity captures our attention, it changes how we think—whether it is at the level of milliseconds, hours, or days and weeks. By staying top of mind, it affects what we notice, how we weigh our choices, how we deliberate, and ultimately what we decide and how we behave. When we function under scarcity, we represent, manage, and deal with problems differently.
Sendhil Mullainathan (Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much)
I stood as she straightened and snaked my arms around her, pulling her close to me, savoring the feel of every delicate curve. For three weeks, I spent my time convincing myself that our breakup was the right choice. But being this close to her, hearing her laugh, listening to her voice, I knew I had been telling myself lies. Her eyes widened when I lowered my head to hers. “It doesn’t have to be this way. We can find a way to make us work.” She tilted her head and licked her lips, whispering through shallow breaths, “You’re not playing fair.” “No, I’m not.” Echo thought too much. I threaded my fingers into her hair and kissed her, leaving her no opportunity to think about what we were doing. I wanted her to feel what I felt. To revel in the pull, the attraction. Dammit, I wanted her to undeniably love me. Her pack hit the floor with a resounding thud and her magical fingers explored my back, neck and head. Echo’s tongue danced manically with mine, hungry and excited. Her muscles stiffened when her mind caught up. I held her tighter to me, refusing to let her leave so easily again. Echo pulled her lips away, but was unable to step back from my body. “We can’t, Noah.” “Why not?” I shook her without meaning to, but if it snapped something into place, I’d shake her again. “Because everything has changed. Because nothing has changed. You have a family to save. I …” She looked away, shaking her head. “I can’t live here anymore. When I leave town, I can sleep. Do you understand what I’m saying?” I did. I understood all too well, as much as I hated it. This was why we ignored each other. When she walked away the first time, my damn heart ruptured and I swore I’d never let it happen again. Like an idiot, here I was setting off explosives. Both of my hands wove into her hair again and clutched at the soft curls. No matter how I tightened my grip, the strands kept falling from my fingers, a shower of water from the sky. I rested my forehead against hers. “I want you to be happy.” “You, too,” she whispered. I let go of her and left the main office. When I first connected with Echo, I’d promised her I would help her find her answers. I was a man of my word and Echo would soon know that.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
Ecologists have long understood that the typical interaction between any two individuals or species is neither competition nor cooperation, but neutralism. Neutralism means apathy: the animals just ignore each other. If their paths threaten to cross, they get out of each other’s way. Anything else usually takes too much energy. Being nasty has costs, and being nice has costs, and animals evolve to avoid costs whenever possible. […] If we were typical animals, our attitudes to others would be dominated not by hate, exploitation, spite, competitiveness, or treachery, but by indifference. And so they are.
Geoffrey Miller (The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature)
He smiled that Frank smile. “Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.” He laughed, pretending to wipe sweat from his brow. “I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a very proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No”—his voice became sober—“we always have a choice. All of us.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
Life lessons.... You have faced me head on and still I was reluctant to learn, I looked sideways anyway but in your eyes. I refused to see , ignored the lessons .. all too much. Guess what? Now I have no choice but to open my eyes. My very survival depends on it. I have to learn to depend on me. Finally it has clicked . I am my own knight in shining armour. ' Standing up for me!
Virginia Toole
When I say that I am convinced of these things I speak with too much pride. Far off, like a perfect pearl, one can see the city of God. It is so wonderful that it seems as if a child could reach it in a summer's day. And so a child could. But with me and such as me it is different. One can realise a thing in a single moment, but one loses it in the long hours that follow with leaden feet. It is so difficult to keep 'heights that the soul is competent to gain.' We think in eternity, but we move slowly through time; and how slowly time goes with us who lie in prison I need not tell again, nor of the weariness and despair that creep back into one's cell, and into the cell of one's heart, with such strange insistence that one has, as it were, to garnish and sweep one's house for their coming, as for an unwelcome guest, or a bitter master, or a slave whose slave it is one's chance or choice to be.
Oscar Wilde (de Profundis, the Ballad of Reading Gaol, and Other Poetry)
It is quite simple: put passion ahead of training. Feel out in any way you can what you most want to do in science, or technology, or some other science-related profession. Obey that passion as long as it lasts. Feed it with the knowledge the mind needs to grow. Sample other subjects, acquire a general education in science, and be smart enough to switch to a greater love if one appears. But don’t just drift through courses in science hoping that love will come to you. Maybe it will, but don’t take the chance. As in other big choices in your life, there is too much at stake. Decision and hard work based on enduring passion will never fail you.
Edward O. Wilson
In an environment where there are too many choices, too many decisions, too much information, and too many demands on our cognition, it pays to be judicious about the complexity we voluntarily sign up for. When we make the decision to streamline our lives, we also create time and room to think with focus and intent. In a complex world, time to stand back and look at the big picture, time to consider our options more carefully, time to make more deliberate decisions, and time to breathe are necessities for survival.
Rebecca D. Costa
When I learned about this, I was told that it was “instinct.” (“Instinct” continues to be the explanation of choice whenever animal behavior implies too much intelligence.) Instinct, though, wouldn’t go very far in explaining how pigeons use human transportation routes to navigate. Pigeons follow highways and take particular exits, likely following many of the same landmarks as the humans driving below.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
The apartment was entirely, was only, for her: a wall of books, both read and unread, all of them dear to her not only in themselves, their tender spines, but in the moments or periods they evoked. She had kept some books since college that she had acquired for courses and never read—Fredric Jameson, for example, and Kant’s Critique of Judgment—but which suggested to her that she was, or might be, a person of seriousness, a thinker in some seeping, ubiquitous way; and she had kept, too, a handful of children’s books taken fro her now-dismantled girlhood room, like Charlotte’s Web and the Harriet the Spy novels, that conjured for her an earlier, passionately earnest self, the sober child who read constantly in the back of her parents’ Buick, oblivious to her brother punching her knee, oblivious to her parents’ squabbling, oblivious to the traffic and landscapes pressing upon her from outside the window. She had, in addition to her books, a modest shelf of tapes and CDs that served a similar, though narrower, function…she was aware that her collection was comprised largely of mainstream choices that reflected—whether popular or classical—not so much an individual spirit as the generic tastes of her times: Madonna, the Eurythmics, Tracy Chapman from her adolescence; Cecilia Bartoli, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mitsuko Uchida; more recently Moby and the posthumously celebrated folk-singing woman from Washington, DC, who had died of a melanoma in her early thirties, and whose tragic tale attracted Danielle more than her familiar songs. Her self, then, was represented in her books; her times in her records; and the rest of the room she thought of as a pure, blank slate.
Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children)
A writer can live by his writing. If not so luxuriously as by other trades, then less luxuriously. The nature of the work he does all day will more affect his happiness than the quality of his dinner at night. Whatever be your calling, and however much it brings you in the year, you could still, you know, get more by cheating. We all suffer ourselves to be too much concerned about a little poverty; but such considerations should not move us in the choice of that which is to be the business and justification of so great a portion of our lives; and like the missionary, the patriot, or the philosopher, we should all choose that poor and brave career in which we can do the most and best for mankind.
Robert Louis Stevenson
You go too far,” Søren said, biting off each word. “You make choices you later regret and then blame anyone but yourself for what you suffer at your own hand. You don’t need me to hurt you. You do that to yourself. You can blame me and you can punish me for all my crimes, real and imagined. But you leave Eleanor out of this petty plan of yours to get your revenge on me. She is my heart. If anything happens to her because of you, I will castrate you. I know how much you want children. I will take that dream from you with my bare hands and a rusty knife. You know what I’m capable of. And you know I know how, because I have done it before. My father survived the procedure. You’ll be lucky if you do.
Tiffany Reisz (The Queen)
If I ever have to cast an acting role, I want the wrong person for the part. I can never visualize the right person in a part. The right person for the right part would be too much. Besides, no person is every completely right for any part, because part in a role is never real, so if you can't get someone who's perfectly right, it's more satisfying to get someone who's perfectly wrong. Then you know you've really got something.
Andy Warhol (A Retrospective)
One advantage to being a despised species is that you have freedom, freedom to be any crazy thing you want. If you listen to a group of housewives talk, you'll hear a lot of nonsense, some of it really crazy. This comes, I think, from being alone so much, and pursuing your own odd train of thought without impediment, which some call discipline. The result is craziness, but also brilliance. Ordinary women come out with the damnedest truth. You ignore them at your own risk. And they are permitted to go on making wild statements without being put in one kind of jail or another (some of them, anyway) because everyone knows they're crazy and powerless too. If a woman is religious or earthy, passive or wildly assertive, loving or hating, she doesn't get much more flak than if she isn't: her choices lie between being castigated as a ball and chain or as a whore.
Marilyn French (The Women's Room)
Here are a few key guidelines to consider: Spend less than you earn—invest the surplus—avoid debt. Do simply this and you’ll wind up rich. Not just in money. Carrying debt is as appealing as being covered with leeches and has much the same effect. Take out your sharpest knife and start scraping the little bloodsuckers off. If your lifestyle matches—or god forbid exceeds—your income, you are no more than a gilded slave. Avoid fiscally irresponsible people. Never marry one or otherwise give him or her access to your money. Avoid investment advisors. Too many have only their own interests at heart. By the time you know enough to pick a good one, you know enough to handle your finances yourself. It’s your money and no one will care for it better than you. You own the things you own and they in turn own you. Money can buy many things, but nothing more valuable than your freedom. Life choices are not always about the money, but you should always be clear about the financial impact of the choices you make.
J.L. Collins (The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life)
Maybe I didn’t know how to love someone. Not yet, anyhow. Maybe love’s not something you’re born knowing, it’s something you have to learn. It’s something I wanted to learn. I didn’t want to keep hurting people like I had, to keep being hurt all the time. It was too much. Something had to change, something permanent. There was no other choice. Not if all this evil was going to end. Not if life would ever get to be better for any of us.
Jimmy Cajoleas (The Good Demon)
Today, I choose not to take my life for granted. I choose not to look upon the fact that I am healthy, have food in my refrigerator and have clean water to drink as givens. They are not givens for so many people in our world. The fact that I am safe and (relatively) sane are not givens. That I was born into a family who loves me and into a country not ravaged by war are not givens. It is impossible to name all of the circumstances in my life I've taken for granted. All of the basic needs I've had met, all of the friendships and job opportunities and financial blessings and the list, truly, is endless. The fact that I am breathing is a miracle, one I too rarely stop to appreciate. I'm stopping, right now, to be grateful for everything I am and everything I've been given. I'm stopping, right now, to be grateful for every pleasure and every pain that has contributed to the me who sits here and writes these words. I am thankful for my life. This moment is a blessing. Each breath a gift. That I've been able to take so much for granted is a gift, too. But it's not how I want to live—not when gratitude is an option, not when wonder and awe are choices. I choose gratitude. I choose wonder. I choose awe. I choose everything that suggests I'm opening myself to the miraculous reality of simply being alive for one moment more.
Scott Stabile
And if it is a mystery, then we, too, had the right to preach mystery and to teach them that it is not the free choice of the heart that matters, and not love, but the mystery, which they must blindly obey, even setting aside their own conscience. And so we did. We corrected your deed and based it on miracle, mystery, and authority. And mankind rejoiced that they were once more led like sheep, and that at last such a terrible gift, which had brought them so much suffering, had been taken from their hearts.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Do you have someone in mind, Galen?" Toraf asks, popping a shrimp into his mouth. "Is it someone I know?" "Shut up, Toraf," Galen growls. He closes his eyes, massages his temples. This could have gone a lot better in so many ways. "Oh," Toraf says. "It must be someone I know, then." "Toraf, I swear by Triton's trident-" "These are the best shrimp you've ever made, Rachel," Toraf continues. "I can't wait to cook shrimp on our island. I'll get the seasoning for us, Rayna." "She's not going to any island with you, Toraf!" Emma yells. "Oh, but she is, Emma. Rayna wants to be my mate. Don't you, princess?" he smiles. Rayna shakes her head. "It's no use, Emma. I really don't have a choice." She resigns herself to the seat next to Emma, who peers down at her, incredulous. "You do have a choice. You can come live with me at my house. I'll make sure he can't get near you." Toraf's expression indicates he didn't consider that possibility before goading Emma. Galen laughs. "It's not so funny anymore is it, tadpole?" he says, nudging him. Toraf shakes his head. "She's not staying with you, Emma." "We'll see about that, tadpole," she returns. "Galen, do something," Toraf says, not taking his eyes off Emma. Galen grins. "Such as?" "I don't know, arrest her or something," Toraf says, crossing his arms. Emma locks eyes with Galen, stealing his breath. "Yeah, Galen. Come arrest me if you're feeling up to it. But I'm telling you right now, the second you lay a hand on me, I'm busting this glass over your head and using it to split your lip like Toraf's." She picks up her heavy drinking glass and splashes the last drops of orange juice onto the table. Everyone gasps except Galen-who laughs so hard he almost upturns his chair. Emma's nostrils flare. "You don't think I'll do it? There's only one way to find out, isn't there, Highness?" The whole airy house echoes Galen's deep-throated howls. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he elbows Toraf, who's looking at him like he drank too much saltwater. "Do you know those foolish humans at her school voted her the sweetest out of all of them?" Toraf's expression softens as he looks up at Emma, chuckling. Galen's guffaws prove contagious-Toraf is soon pounding the table to catch his breath. Even Rachel snickers from behind her oven mitt. The bluster leaves Emma's expression. Galen can tell she's in danger of smiling. She places the glass on the table as if it's still full and she doesn't want to spill it. "Well, that was a couple of years ago." This time Galen's chair does turn back, and he sprawls onto the floor. When Rayna starts giggling, Emma gives in, too. "I guess...I guess I do have sort of a temper," she says, smiling sheepishly. She walks around the table to stand over Galen. Peering down, she offers her hand. He grins up at her. "Show me your other hand." She laughs and shows him it's empty. "No weapons." "Pretty resourceful," he says, accepting her hand. "I'll never look at a drinking glass the same way." He does most of the work of pulling himself up but can't resist the opportunity to touch her. She shrugs. "Survival instinct, maybe?" He nods. "Or you're trying to cut my lips off so you won't have to kiss me." He's pleased when she looks away, pink restaining her cheeks. "Rayna tries that all the time," Toraf chimes in. "Sometimes when her aim is good, it works, but most of the time kissing her is my reward for the pain.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
It is not biology alone but heroism too that drives women to find the will and grit and creativity to put one’s own impulses aside to serve the needs of a tiny creature around the clock—especially in an environment in which that heroic choice is only casually acknowledged, much less honored, cherished, or assisted. I believe the myth about the ease and naturalness of mothering—the ideal of the effortlessly ever-giving mother—is propped up, polished, and promoted as a way to keep women from thinking clearly and negotiating forcefully about what they need from their partners and from society at large in order to mother well, without having to sacrifice themselves in the process.
Naomi Wolf (Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood)
I didn't have a choice." "Are you saying...What are you saying?" Is he...could he be talking about me? He runs a hand through his hair. I've never seen him this emotional before. He's always so controlled, so sure of himself. "I'm saying you're what I want, Emma. I'm saying I'm in love with you." He steps forward and lifts his hand to my cheek, blazing a line of fire with his fingertips as they trace down to my mouth. "How do you think it would make me feel to see you with Grom?" he whispers. "Like someone ripped my heart out and put it through Rachel's meat grinder, that's how. Probably worse. It would probably kill me. Emma, please don't cry." I throw my hands in the air. "Don't cry? Are you serious? Why did you come here, Galen? Did you think it would make me feel better to know that you do love me, but that it still won't work out? That I still have to mate with Grom for the greater good? Don't you tell me not to cry, Galen! I...c...c...can't h...h...help-" The waterworks soak me. Galen looks at me, hands by his side, helpless as a trapped crab. I'm bordering on hyperventilation, and pretty soon I'll start hiccupping. This is too much. His expression is so severe, it looks like he's in physical pain. "Emma," he breathes. "Emma, does this mean you feel the same way? Do you care for me at all?" I laugh, but it sounds sharper than I intended, because of a hiccup. "What does it matter how I feel, Galen? I think we pretty much covered why. No need to rehash things, right?" "It matters, Emma." He grabs my hand and pulls me to him again. "Tell me right now. Do you care for me?" "If you can't tell that I'm stupid in love with you, Galen, then you aren't a very good ambassador for the hum-" His mouth covers mine, cutting me off. This kiss isn't gentle like the first one. It's definitely not sweet. It's rough, demanding, searching. And disorienting. There's not a part of me that isn't melting against Galen, not a part that isn't combusting with his fevered touch. I accidentally moan into his lips. He takes it for his cue to lift me off my feet, to pull me up to his height for more leverage. I take his groan for my cue to kiss him harder. He ignores his cell phone ringing in his pocket. I ignore the rest of the universe. Even when headlights approach, I'm willing to overlook their intrusion and keep kissing. But, prince that he is, Galen is a little more refined than me at this moment. He gently pries his lips from mine and sets me down. His smile is both intoxicated and intoxicating. "We still need to talk." "Right," I say, but I'm shaking my head. He laughs. "I didn't come all the way to Atlantic City to make you cry." "I'm not crying." I lean into him again. He doesn't refuse my lips, but he doesn't do them justice either, planting a measly little kiss on them before stepping back.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
The longer I travel and the more people I meet, the more apparent it becomes that certain people will come and go in your life in order to fill a need. Not as a messiah, not as a savior, but as a light that shines to illuminate the path you are on, to show you what needs to be seen at that point in time. It is entirely up to you to open your eyes and allow yourself to see it. Some will be dim, others will shine bright. A select few will burn like the sun and make you feel a gravity so great that you have no choice but to change the course you are on. You don’t get to pick and choose who it might be and you don’t get to decide how much impact they will have. All you can do is open yourself up to the possibility when it comes, give what you can while it’s there, and be grateful when it leaves. Because life is too short to not burn like the sun. Anything else is a death sentence.
Joseph Pascucci
Stories don’t change much across continents and centuries. Hearts are broken. Pride is wounded. Souls wander too far from home and become lost. The wrong roads are taken. The incorrect choice is made. Stories echo with loneliness. Grief. Longing. Redemption. Forgiveness. Hope. And love.” Now it was her turn to point at the bookstore. “That building is stuffed with books that, once opened, reveal our communal story. And, if you’re lucky, the words in those books will force you to grapple with the hardest truths of your life. After reducing you to a puddle of tears, they’ll raise you to your feet again. The words will pull you up, higher and higher, until you feel the sun on your face again. Until you’re suddenly humming on the way to the mailbox. Or you’re buying bouquets of gerbera daisies because you crave bright colors. And you’ll laugh again—as freely as champagne bubbling in a tall, glass flute. When’s the last time you laughed like that?
Ellery Adams (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #1))
Both the ferial and the festal cuisine, therefore, must be seen as styles of unabashed eating. Neither attempts to do anything to food other than render it delectable. Their distinction is grounded, not in sordid dietetic tricks, but in a choice between honest frugality or generous expense. Both aim only at excellence; accordingly, neither is suitable for dieting. Should a true man want to lose weight, let him fast. Let him sit down to nothing but coffee and conversation, if religion or reason bid him to do so; only let him not try to eat his cake without having it. Any cake he could do that with would be a pretty spooky proposition - a little golden calf with dietetic icing, and no taste at all worth having. Let us fast, then - whenever we see fit, and as strenuously as we should. But having gotten that exercise out of the way, let us eat. Festally, first of all, for life without occasions is not worth living. But ferially, too, for life is so much more than occasions, and its grand ordinariness must never go unsavored. But both ways let us eat with a glad good will, and with a conscience formed by considerations of excellence, not by fear of Ghosts.
Robert Farrar Capon (The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection)
She left our Gdańsk-Morena apartment with same haste as Tata, gone in a mad dash. She must have prepared for it , trained hard and practised. Everything that fast is slow in planning. An earthquake that takes seconds to wreck everything is a result of billions of years of slipping and shoving of tectonic plates. Those plates have no choice but to live side by side, often on top of one another. They hate this setup. They push each other around, siblings vying for the top bunk, to the point of eruption, ruin and exhaustion. After the quake: calm. A sad empty calm, with too much time to think...
Aga Maksimowska
Famously, the trick to good writing is bleeding onto the page. I picture the male writer who coined this phrase, sitting at his typewriter, the blank sheet before him. What kind of blood did he imagine? Blood from a vein in his arm? Or a leg? Perhaps a head wound? Presumably it was not blood from a cervix. I have so much of this blood, this period blood, this pregnancy blood, this miscarriage blood, this not-pregnant-again blood, this perimenopausal blood. It just keeps coming and I just keep soaking it up. Stuffing bleached cotton into my vagina to stem the flow, padding my underwear, sticking on the night pads ‘with wings’, hoping not to leak on some man’s sheets, or rip off too much pubic hair with the extra-secure adhesive strips. Covering up with ‘period pants’, those unloved dingy underwear choices pulled out from the bank of the drawer every month. And all along, I was wrong. I should have been sitting down at my desk and spilling it across the page, a shocking red to fill the white.
Emilie Pine (Notes to Self: Essays)
It's not all you have. What you haven't had is your moment. Your chance to be great. Jace Herondale and Clary Fairchild weren't heroes in a vacuum- there was a war. They were forced to make choices. Those moments come for all of us. They will come for you, too...You are more prepared than you think. You have stayed strong not just through training but through the people around you- loving them and being loved...The sea wears down cliffs, Emma, and turns them into sand; so love wears us down and breaks our defenses. You only do not know how much it means, to have people who will fight for you when it goes wrong.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
Real poverty is when hunger pangs force from my mind all thoughts but those of food. Real poverty is when the children are not dressed warmly enough for winter. Real poverty is when the housing we can afford is not adequate to the needs of our families. On the other hand, real poverty is - equally - when I have eaten so much that I am uncomfortable, and again, my thoughts center on food. Or when I have so many clothes that I have to spend a lot of mental energy making choices among them or finding ways to store them. Or when, regardless of my living conditions, I am discontent and brooding about how to have more. Real poverty is when material things are uppermost and pressing - whether because we have too few or too many of them. It is poverty, because the human mind and spirit are made for higher things, worthier pursuits.
Maxine Hancock (Living on Less and Liking It More: How to Reduce Your Spending and Increase Your Living)
Joffrey called out, “Dog!” Sandor Clegane seemed to take form out of the night, so quickly did he appear. He had exchanged his armor for a red woolen tunic with a leather dog’s head sewn on the front. The light of the torches made his burned face shine a dull red. “Yes, Your Grace?” he said. “Take my betrothed back to the castle, and see that no harm befalls her,” the prince told him brusquely. And without even a word of farewell, Joffrey strode off, leaving her there. Sansa could feel the Hound watching her. “Did you think Joff was going to take you himself?” He laughed. He had a laugh like the snarling of dogs in a pit. “Small chance of that.” He pulled her unresisting to her feet. “Come, you’re not the only one needs sleep. I’ve drunk too much, and I may need to kill my brother tomorrow.” He laughed again. He was mocking her, she realized. “No one could withstand him,” she managed at last, proud of herself. It was no lie. Sandor Clegane stopped suddenly in the middle of a dark and empty field. She had no choice but to stop beside him. “Some septa trained you well. You’re like one of those birds from the Summer Isles, aren’t you? A pretty little talking -bird, repeating all the pretty little words they taught you to recite.” “ Take your look.” His fingers held her jaw as hard as an iron trap. His eyes watched hers. Drunken eyes, sullen with anger. She had to look. The right side of his face was gaunt, with sharp cheekbones and a grey eye beneath a heavy brow. His nose was large and hooked, his hair thin, dark. He wore it long and brushed it sideways, because no hair grew on the other side of that face. The left side of his face was a ruin. His ear had been burned away; there was nothing left but a hole. His eye was still good, but all around it was a twisted mass of scar, slick black flesh hard as leather, pocked with craters and fissured by deep cracks.
George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1))
I quickly pulled away and walked to the edge of the water. Staring up at the darkened sky through tear filled eyes, I awaited the inevitable storm. With a heavy heart, I took in a long, sad breath. The time had come for me to end this. No delaying any longer, no excuses—it was now or never. A searing pain tore through my chest. Though my heart had already made its choice long ago, the inevitable pain of having to let him go was something I had avoided until now. But I could no longer afford to be selfish and keep them both. It wasn't fair to either of them and I loved them far too much to continue putting my own wants and desires first.
Christi Anna (Torn (Thief of Life, #3))
I soon learned that everyone in Paris was like that. You would go into a bakery and be greeted by some vast sluglike creature with a look that told you you would never be friends. In halting French you would ask for a small loaf of bread. The woman would give you a long, cold stare and then put a dead beaver on the counter. “No, no,” you would say, hands aflutter, “not a dead beaver. A loaf of bread.” The sluglike creature would stare at you in patent disbelief, then turn to the other customers and address them in French at much too high a speed for you to follow, but the drift of which clearly was that this person here, this American tourist, had come in and asked for a dead beaver and she had given him a dead beaver and now he was saying that he didn’t want a dead beaver at all, he wanted a loaf of bread. The other customers would look at you as if you had just tried to fart in their handbags, and you would have no choice but to slink away and console yourself with the thought that in another four days you would be in Brussels and probably able to eat again.
Bill Bryson (Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe)
Questions of Travel There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams hurry too rapidly down to the sea, and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion, turning to waterfalls under our very eyes. —For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains, aren't waterfalls yet, in a quick age or so, as ages go here, they probably will be. But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling, the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships, slime-hung and barnacled. Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? Where should we be today? Is it right to be watching strangers in a play in this strangest of theatres? What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life in our bodies, we are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around? The tiniest green hummingbird in the world? To stare at some inexplicable old stonework, inexplicable and impenetrable, at any view, instantly seen and always, always delightful? Oh, must we dream our dreams and have them, too? And have we room for one more folded sunset, still quite warm? But surely it would have been a pity not to have seen the trees along this road, really exaggerated in their beauty, not to have seen them gesturing like noble pantomimists, robed in pink. —Not to have had to stop for gas and heard the sad, two-noted, wooden tune of disparate wooden clogs carelessly clacking over a grease-stained filling-station floor. (In another country the clogs would all be tested. Each pair there would have identical pitch.) —A pity not to have heard the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird who sings above the broken gasoline pump in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque: three towers, five silver crosses. —Yes, a pity not to have pondered, blurredly and inconclusively, on what connection can exist for centuries between the crudest wooden footwear and, careful and finicky, the whittled fantasies of wooden cages. —Never to have studied history in the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages. —And never to have had to listen to rain so much like politicians' speeches: two hour of unrelenting oratory and then a sudden golden silence in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes: "Is it lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places, not just stay at home? Or could Pascal have been entirely right about just sitting quietly in one's room? Continent, city, country, society: the choice is never wide and never free. And here, or there...No. Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be?
Elizabeth Bishop (Questions of Travel)
If there was a single moment when the breach between us, which had been cracking and splintering for two decades, was at last too vast to be bridged, I believe it was that winter night, when I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, while, without my knowing it, my father grasped the phone in his knotted hands and dialed my brother. Diego, the knife. What followed was very dramatic. But the real drama had already played out in the bathroom. It had played out when, for reasons I don’t understand, I was unable to climb through the mirror and send out my sixteen-year-old self in my place. Until that moment she had always been there. No matter how much I appeared to have changed—how illustrious my education, how altered my appearance—I was still her. At best I was two people, a fractured mind. She was inside, and emerged whenever I crossed the threshold of my father’s house. That night I called on her and she didn’t answer. She left me. She stayed in the mirror. The decisions I made after that moment were not the ones she would have made. They were the choices of a changed person, a new self.
Tara Westover (Educated)
Pregnancy had seemed a reasonable excuse for letting her metal-smithing tools languish, but that accounted for only eighteen months of the last twenty-six years. Motherhood wasn't the real problem, though it took him a long time to figure out what was. She needed resistance, the very quality that metal most demonstrably offered up. Suddenly Glynis had no difficulty to overcome, no hard artisan's life with galleries filching half the too-small price of a mokume brooch that had taken three weeks to forge. No, her husband made a good living, and if she slept late and dawdled the afternoon away reading Lustre, American Craft Magazine and Lapidary Journal, the phone bill would still get paid. For that matter, she needed need itself. She could overcome her anguish about embarking on an object that, once completed, might not meet her exacting standards only if she had no choice. In this sense, his helping had hurt her. By providing the financial cushion that should have facilitated making all the metal whathaveyou she liked, he had ruined her life. Wrapped in a slackening bow, ease was a poisonous present.
Lionel Shriver (So Much for That)
For now," Amelie said. "Take her home. And -- " "Say nothing -- yes, yes, I heard you the first seven hundred times," Myrnin said, much too sharply. "I'm ancient. I'm not deaf. " Amelie's cold expression deepened, and her gray eyes took on an unpleasant reddish glitter. "Do you think I find this a joking matter?" "Maybe you should," he said. "And maybe you should have cut off the old man's head when you had the chance. Absolutely no one would have argued with that choice. Merely walling him up, to increase his suffering and create an example -- that was unmerciful, and, worse, it was sloppy. I believe that flapping sound you hear is pigeons, coming home to roost.
Rachel Caine (Bite Club (The Morganville Vampires, #10))
I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change. But I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better." "We say to girls 'You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.'" "Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life's choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be a good thing, a source of joy, love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, yet we don't teach boys to do the same?" "We are all social beings. We internalize ideas from our socialization.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
Let me here add a word of Christian counsel. To enter upon the marriage union is one of the most deeply important events of life. It cannot be too prayerfully treated. Our happiness, our usefulness, our living for God or for ourselves afterwards, are often most intimately connected with our choice. Therefore, in the most prayerful manner, this choice should be made. Neither beauty, nor age, nor money, nor mental powers, should be that which prompt the decision; but 1st, Much waiting upon God for guidance should be used; 2nd, A hearty purpose, to be willing to be guided by Him should be aimed after; 3rd, True godliness without a shadow of doubt, should be the first and absolutely needful qualification, to a Christian, with regard to a companion for life. In addition to this, however, it ought to be, at the same time, calmly and patiently weighed, whether, in other respects, there is a suitableness. For
George Müller (Answers to Prayer From George Müller's Narratives)
Benefits Now—Costs Later We have seen that predictable problems arise when people must make decisions that test their capacity for self-control. Many choices in life, such as whether to wear a blue shirt or a white one, lack important self-control elements. Self-control issues are most likely to arise when choices and their consequences are separated in time. At one extreme are what might be called investment goods, such as exercise, flossing, and dieting. For these goods the costs are borne immediately, but the benefits are delayed. For investment goods, most people err on the side of doing too little. Although there are some exercise nuts and flossing freaks, it seems safe to say that not many people are resolving on New Year’s Eve to floss less next year and to stop using the exercise bike so much. At the other extreme are what might be called sinful goods: smoking, alcohol, and jumbo chocolate doughnuts are in this category. We get the pleasure now and suffer the consequences later. Again we can use the New Year’s resolution test: how many people vow to smoke more cigarettes, drink more martinis, or have more chocolate donuts in the morning next year? Both investment goods and sinful goods are prime candidates for nudges. Most (nonanorexic) people do not need any special encouragement to eat another brownie, but they could use some help exercising more.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
Hugo felt the world was hostile to his writing, he felt not only all its human inhabitants but its noises and diversions and ordinary clutter were linked against him, maliciously, purposefully, diabolically thwarting and maiming him and keeping him from his work. And I, whose business it was to throw myself between him and the world, was failing to do so, by choice perhaps as much as ineptitude for the job. I did not believe in him. I had not understood how it would be necessary to believe in him. I believed that he was clever and talented, whatever that might mean, but I was not sure he would turn out to be a writer. He did not have the authority I thought a writer should have. He was too nervous, too touchy with everybody, too much of a showoff. I believed that writers were calm, sad people, knowing too much. I believed that there was a difference about them, some hard and shining, rare intimidating quality they had from the beginning, and Hugo didn’t have it. I thought that someday he would recognize this. Meanwhile, he lived in a world whose rewards and punishments were as strange, as hidden from me, as if he had been a lunatic.
Alice Munro (Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You: 13 Stories)
A healthy attitude to eating I am concerned about the current victimisation of food. The apparent need to divide the contents of our plates into heroes and villains. The current villains are sugar and gluten, though it used to be fat, and before that it was salt (and before that it was carbs and . . . oh, I’ve lost track). It is worth remembering that today’s devil will probably be tomorrow’s angel and vice versa. We risk having the life sucked out of our eating by allowing ourselves to be shamed over our food choices. If this escalates, historians may look back on this generation as one in which society’s decision about what to eat was driven by guilt and shame rather than by good taste or pleasure. Well, not on my watch. Yes, I eat cake, and ice cream and meat. I eat biscuits and bread and drink alcohol too. What is more, I eat it all without a shred of guilt. And yet, I like to think my eating is mindful rather than mindless. I care deeply about where my food has come from, its long-term effect on me and the planet. That said, I eat what you might call ‘just enough’ rather than too much. My rule of thumb – just don’t eat too much of any one thing.
Nigel Slater (A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III)
My Darling, It is late at night and though the words are coming hard to me, I can’t escape the feeling that it’s time that I finally answer your question. Of course I forgive you. I forgive you now, and I forgave you the moment I read your letter. In my heart, I had no other choice. Leaving you once was hard enough; to have done it a second time would have been impossible. I loved you too much to have let you go again. Though I’m still grieving over what might have been, I find myself thankful that you came into my life for even a short period of time. In the beginning, I’d assumed that we were somehow brought together to help you through your time of grief. Yet now, one year later, I’ve come to believe that it was the other way around. Ironically, I am in the same position you were, the first time we met. As I write, I am struggling with the ghost of someone I loved and lost. I now understand more fully the difficulties you were going through, and I realize how painful it must have been for you to move on. Sometimes my grief is overwhelming, and even though I understand that we will never see each other again, there is a part of me that wants to hold on to you forever. It would be easy for me to do that because loving someone else might diminish my memories of you. Yet, this is the paradox: Even though I miss you greatly, it’s because of you that I don’t dread the future. Because you were able to fall in love with me, you have given me hope, my darling. You taught me that it’s possible to move forward in life, no matter how terrible your grief. And in your own way, you’ve made me believe that true love cannot be denied. Right now, I don’t think I’m ready, but this is my choice. Do not blame yourself. Because of you, I am hopeful that there will come a day when my sadness is replaced by something beautiful. Because of you, I have the strength to go on. I don’t know if spirits do indeed roam the world, but even if they do, I will sense your presence everywhere. When I listen to the ocean, it will be your whispers; when I see a dazzling sunset, it will be your image in the sky. You are not gone forever, no matter who comes into my life. you are standing with God, alongside my soul, helping to guide me toward a future that I cannot predict. This is not a good-bye, my darling, this is a thank-you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually let you go. I love you
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
How is Life Full of Choices? When we eat too much, we make a choice to be overweight. When we drink too much, we make a choice to have a headache the next day. If we drink and drive, we choose to risk being killed or killing someone in an accident. When we ill-treat people, we choose to be ill-treated in return. When we don’t care about other people, we choose not to be cared for by them. When we light up a cigarette, we choose to invite cancer. Choices have consequences. The most important thing to understand is that we are all free to the point of making choices. but, after we make a choice, the choice controls the chooser. We have no more choices. What is success? Series of positive choices is called success and series of negative choices is called failure. We have an equal opportunity to be unequal. The choice is ours. Life can be compared to a pottery maker who shapes clay in any form he wants. Similarly we can mould our lives into any shape we want.
Shiv Khera (You Can Win: A Step-by-Step Tool for Top Achievers)
Remember this study when you are in a negotiation—make your initial request far too high. You have to start somewhere, and your initial decision or calculation greatly influences all the choices that follow, cascading out, each tethered to the anchors set before. Many of the choices you make every day are reruns of past decisions; as if traveling channels dug into a dirt road by a wagon train of selections, you follow the path created by your former self. External anchors, like prices before a sale or ridiculous requests, are obvious and can be avoided. Internal, self-generated anchors, are not so easy to bypass. You visit the same circuit of Web sites every day, eat basically the same few breakfasts. When it comes time to buy new cat food or take your car in for repairs, you have old favorites. Come election time, you pretty much already know who will and will not get your vote. These choices, so predictable—ask yourself what drives them. Are old anchors controlling your current decisions?
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals...It is too readily assumed...that the ordinary man only rejects [saintliness] because it is too difficult: in other words, that the average human being is a failed saint. It is doubtful whether this is true. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings.
Larissa MacFarquhar (Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help)
There appears no assurance that in the times of our own grandchildren the world will contain viable populations of wild African Lions, Tigers, Polar Bears, Emperor Penguins, gorillas, or coral reefs. These are the animals expectant parents pain on nursery room walls. Their implied wish: to welcome precious new life in to a world endowed with the magnificence and delight and fright of companions we have traveled with since the beginning. Some people debate the “rights of the unborn” as though a human life begins at conception but we don’t need to concern ourselves with its prospects after birth. Raging over the divine sanctity of anyone else’s pregnancy is a little overwrought and a little too easy when nature itself terminates one out of four by the sixth week. There are much bigger, more compassionate pro-life fish to fry. Passing along a world that can allow real children to flourish and the cavalcade of generations to unfold, and the least to live in modest dignity would be the biggest pro-life enterprise we could undertake.
Carl Safina (The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World)
I dreamt of the execution block last night. I dreamt I was alone and crawling through the snow towards the dark stump. My hands and knees were numb from the ice, but I had no choice. When I came upon the block, its surface was vast and smooth. I could smell the wood. It had none of the saltiness of driftwood, but was like bleeding sap, like blood. Sweeter, heavier. In my dream I dragged myself up and held my head above it. It began to snow, and I thought to myself: "This is the silence before the drop." And then I wondered at the stump being there, the tree it might have been, when trees do not grow here. There is too much silence, I thought in my dream. Too many stones. So I addressed the wood out loud. I said: "I will water you as though you still lived." And at this last word I woke.
Hannah Kent (Burial Rites)
I say is someone in there?’ The voice is the young post-New formalist from Pittsburgh who affects Continental and wears an ascot that won’t stay tight, with that hesitant knocking of when you know perfectly well someone’s in there, the bathroom door composed of thirty-six that’s three times a lengthwise twelve recessed two-bevelled squares in a warped rectangle of steam-softened wood, not quite white, the bottom outside corner right here raw wood and mangled from hitting the cabinets’ bottom drawer’s wicked metal knob, through the door and offset ‘Red’ and glowering actors and calendar and very crowded scene and pubic spirals of pale blue smoke from the elephant-colored rubble of ash and little blackened chunks in the foil funnel’s cone, the smoke’s baby-blanket blue that’s sent her sliding down along the wall past knotted washcloth, towel rack, blood-flower wallpaper and intricately grimed electrical outlet, the light sharp bitter tint of a heated sky’s blue that’s left her uprightly fetal with chin on knees in yet another North American bathroom, deveiled, too pretty for words, maybe the Prettiest Girl Of All Time (Prettiest G.O.A.T.), knees to chest, slew-footed by the radiant chill of the claw-footed tub’s porcelain, Molly’s had somebody lacquer the tub in blue, lacquer, she’s holding the bottle, recalling vividly its slogan for the past generation was The Choice of a Nude Generation, when she was of back-pocket height and prettier by far than any of the peach-colored titans they’d gazed up at, his hand in her lap her hand in the box and rooting down past candy for the Prize, more fun way too much fun inside her veil on the counter above her, the stuff in the funnel exhausted though it’s still smoking thinly, its graph reaching its highest spiked prick, peak, the arrow’s best descent, so good she can’t stand it and reaches out for the cold tub’s rim’s cold edge to pull herself up as the white- party-noise reaches, for her, the sort of stereophonic precipice of volume to teeter on just before the speaker’s blow, people barely twitching and conversations strettoing against a ghastly old pre-Carter thing saying ‘We’ve Only Just Begun,’ Joelle’s limbs have been removed to a distance where their acknowledgement of her commands seems like magic, both clogs simply gone, nowhere in sight, and socks oddly wet, pulls her face up to face the unclean medicine-cabinet mirror, twin roses of flame still hanging in the glass’s corner, hair of the flame she’s eaten now trailing like the legs of wasps through the air of the glass she uses to locate the de-faced veil and what’s inside it, loading up the cone again, the ashes from the last load make the world's best filter: this is a fact. Breathes in and out like a savvy diver… –and is knelt vomiting over the lip of the cool blue tub, gouges on the tub’s lip revealing sandy white gritty stuff below the lacquer and porcelain, vomiting muddy juice and blue smoke and dots of mercuric red into the claw-footed trough, and can hear again and seems to see, against the fire of her closed lids’ blood, bladed vessels aloft in the night to monitor flow, searchlit helicopters, fat fingers of blue light from one sky, searching.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Mr. Kadam bowed and said, “Miss Kelsey, I will leave you to your dining companion. Enjoy your dinner.” Then he walked out of the restaurant. “Mr. Kadam, wait. I don’t understand.” Dining companion? What is he talking about? Maybe he’s confused. Just then, a deep, all-too-familiar voice behind me said, “Hello, Kells.” I froze, and my heart dropped into my stomach, stirring up about a billion butterflies. A few seconds passed. Or was it a few minutes? I couldn’t tell. I heard a sigh of frustration. “Are you still not talking to me? Turn around, please.” A warm hand slid under my elbow and gently turned me around. I raised my eyes and gasped softly. He was breathtaking! So handsome, I wanted to cry. “Ren.” He smiled. “Who else?” He was dressed in an elegant black suit and he’d had his hair cut. Glossy black hair was swept back away from his face in tousled layers that tapered to a slight curl at the nape of his neck. The white shirt he wore was unbuttoned at the collar. It set off his golden-bronze skin and his brilliant white smile, making him positively lethal to any woman who might cross his path. I groaned inwardly. He’s like…like James Bond, Antonio Banderas, and Brad Pitt all rolled into one. I decided the safest thing to do would be to look at his shoes. Shoes were boring, right? Not attractive at all. Ah. Much better. His shoes were nice, of course-polished and black, just like I would expect. I smiled wryly when I realized that this was the first time I’d ever seen Ren in shoes. He cupped my chin and made me look at his face. The jerk. Then it was his turn to appraise me. He looked me up and down. And not a quick look. He took it all in slowly. The kind of slow that made a girl’s face feel hot. I got mad at myself for blushing and glared at him. Nervous and impatient, I asked, “Are you finished?” “Almost.” He was now staring at my strappy shoes. “Well, hurry up!” His eyes drifted leisurely back up to my face and he smiled at me appreciatively, “Kelsey, when a man spends time with a beautiful woman, he needs to pace himself.” I quirked an eyebrow at him and laughed. “Yeah, I’m a regular marathon alright.” He kissed my fingers. “Exactly. A wise man never sprints…in a marathon.” “I was being sarcastic, Ren.” He ignored me and tucked my hand under his arm then led me over to a beautifully lit table. Pulling the chair out for me, he invited me to sit. I stood there wondering if I could sprint for the nearest exit. Stupid strappy shoes, I’d never make it. He leaned in close and whispered in my ear. “I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not going to let you escape again. You can either take a seat and have dinner with me like a normal date,” he grinned at his word choice, “or,” he paused thoughtfully then threatened, “you can sit on my lap while I force-feed you.” I hissed, “You wouldn’t dare. You’re too much of a gentleman to force me to do anything. It’s an empty bluff, Mr. Asks-For-Permission.” “Even a gentleman has his limits. One way or another, we’re going to have a civil conversation. I’m hoping I get to feed you from my lap, but it’s your choice.” He straightened up again and waited. I unceremoniously plunked down in my chair and scooted in noisily to the table. He laughed softly and took the chair across from me. I felt guilty because of the dress and readjusted my skirt so it wouldn’t wrinkle.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Prophecy of Balance (Year of the Cat) “There must be balance,” Source repeated, “For mankind to flourish on the Earth-Throne he’s seated.” His life is a gift from the gods, they created, And the power to wield choice, but the outcome is weighted. Seeing the harm and chaos humans manifest, Wore heavily upon the goodness within their immortal breast. But the gods disagreed, and two groups they split, Each one possessing their own talent and wit. One side fights for freedom of Man’s soul, But the other wants slavery, and Man to control. So Source cried, “Enough! Now Observers will be sent, To assist with human minds you’ve cleverly bent!” For balance, the pendulum won’t sway too far to one side, And Universal Laws each god must abide. The gods agreed, but did not stop with their plan, To influence mankind as much as they can.
Kendi Thompson (Year of the Cat: The Thirteenth Realm (Book 1))
Here's one way that we try to actively and immediately bring in kindness in our meetings and camps: we ask our girls to stop before they speak and reevaluate what they're going to say based on this acronym: True Honest Important Necessary Kind Is what they're out to say True? Is it Honest? Is it Important? Necessary Kind? We ask the to T.H.I.N.K. before they speak text, or type, and try to incorporate it into their daily lives -- especially within their interactions with their friends and classmates -- as much as possible. It's a choice girls can make: Do they want to encourage others with their words, or bring others down? You might think this won't resonate with your middle school girl, but I promise that it works. It's not about self-editing or asking her not to speak her truth, of course; it's about thinking of others too.
Haley Kilpatrick (The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School -- Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More)
I could say 'I love you'—and I do." Raising his lids, he met her gaze. "But it's not that simple… not for me. I never wanted a wife." He drew in a breath. "I never wanted to love—not you, not any woman. I never wanted to risk it—never wanted to be forced to find out if I could handle the strain. In my family, loving's not easy—it's not a simple sunny thing that makes one merely happy. Love for us—for me—was always going to be dramatic—powerful, unsettling—an ungovernable force. A force that controls me, not the other way about. I knew I wouldn't like it—" His eyes met hers. "And I don't. But… it isn't, it appears, something I have a choice about." His lips twisted. "I thought I was safe—that I had defenses in place, strong and inviolable, far too steely for any mere woman to break through. And none did,“not for years." He paused. "Until you. "I can't remember inviting you in, or ever opening the gates—I just turned around one day and you were there—a part of me." He hesitated, studying her eyes, then his face hardened, his voice deepened. "I don't know what will convince you, but I won't ever let you go. You're mine—the only woman I could ever imagine marrying. You can share my life. You know a hock from a fetlock—you know as much about riding as I do. You can be a partner in my enterprises, not a distant spectator standing at the periphery. You'll stand at the center of it all, by my side.
Stephanie Laurens (A Rogue's Proposal (Cynster, #4))
When I look up, he is still dead. This wasn’t right. I thought the Society only played games with its slaves. Wrong. Julian didn’t score like I did on the tests. He wasn’t as physically capable as me. So he was a sacrificial lamb. One hundred students per House and the bottom fifty are only here to be killed by the top fifty. This is just a bloodydamn test … for me. Even the Bellona Family, powerful as they are, could not protect their less capable son. And that is the point. I hate myself. I know they made me do this, yet it still feels like a choice. Like when I pulled Eo’s legs and felt the snap of her small spine. My choice. But what other choice was there with her? With Julian? They do this to make us wear the guilt. There’s nowhere to wipe the blood, only stone and two na**d bodies. This is not who I am, who I want to be. I want to be a father, a husband, a dancer. Let me dig in the earth. Let me sing the songs of my people and leap and spin and run along the walls. I would never sing the forbidden song. I would work. I would bow. Let me wash dirt from my hands instead of blood. I want only to live with my family. We were happy enough. Freedom costs too much. But Eo disagreed. Damn her.
Pierce Brown (Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1))
David Buss has amassed a lot of evidence that human females across many cultures tend to prefer males who have high social status, good income, ambition, intelligence, and energy--contrary to the views of some cultural anthropologists, who assume that people vary capriciously in their sexual preferences across different cultures. He interpreted this as evidence that women evolved to prefer good providers who could support their families by acquiring and defending resources I respect his data enormously, but disagree with his interpretation. The traits women prefer are certainly correlated with male abilities to provide material benefits, but they are also correlated with heritable fitness. If the same traits can work both as fitness indicators and as wealth indicators, so much the better. The problem comes when we try to project wealth indicators back into a Pleistocene past when money did not exist, when status did not imply wealth, and when bands did not stay in one place long enough to defend piles of resources. Ancestral women may have preferred intelligent, energetic men for their ability to hunt more effectively and provide their children with more meat. But I would suggest it was much more important that intelligent men tended to produce intelligent, energetic children more likely to survive and reproduce, whether or not their father stayed around. In other words, I think evolutionary psychology has put too much emphasis on male resources instead of male fitness in explaining women's sexual preferences.
Geoffrey Miller (The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature)
Lend finished texting someone and slipped his phone into his back pocket, then stood up. I’d never paid much attention to guys’ jeans before (not for lack of desire, but rather lack of opportunity in the Center), but in the past few months I’d come to realize that most guys’ jeans are really, truly horrendous. Too baggy, too tight, too low, etc. It’s like guys don’t realize that they can look great in a good pair of jeans. Shockingly enough girls, too, enjoy a well-framed butt. Another area Lend was perfect in. His jeans choice, I mean. Well, his butt, too. I smiled and stared at his face, watching his two profiles—the glamour one, which fit snugly over his real one. He looked down and caught me staring. “Evie?” “You, my dear boyfriend, are kind of beautiful, you know that?” “That’s what all the old ladies tell me before pinching my cheek.” “Which cheek?” I reached out and goosed him. He jumped and swatted my hand away, laughing.
Kiersten White (Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3))
When did pursuing your ambitions cross the line from brave into foolhardy? How did you know when to stop? In earlier, more rigid, less encouraging (and ultimately, more helpful) decades, things would be much clearer: you would stop when you turned forty, or when you got married, or when you had kids, or after five years, or ten years, or fifteen. And then you would go get a real job, and acting and your dreams for a career in it would recede into the evening, a melting into history as quiet as a briquette of ice sliding into a warm bath. 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. Would Willem work for year upon year at Ortolan, catching the same trains to auditions, reading again and again and again, one year maybe caterpillaring an inch or two forward, his progress so minute that it hardly counted as progress at all? Would he someday have the courage to give up, and would he be able to recognize that moment, or would he wake one day and look in the mirror and find himself an old man, still trying to call himself an actor because he was too scared to admit that he might not be, might never be? According
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
So long as you believe yourself to be 'only human' you have accepted life in a prison cell whose door remains locked only by your own mind. By saying, 'well, I'm only human', you have blindly submitted to all the limitations, fears, pettiness, greed and hatreds which make the common person weak and fragile. Most never become aware that another way is possible. You are human, but much more, too. The much-moreness is the vast, brilliant freedom and power which has confined itself in your humanity. If you are willing (and not everyone is, which is also a perfectly valid choice), you can begin to explore your native powers and experience freedom within limitation. When you do this, you live fully while you are here and you are no longer afraid to die. When you are not afraid of death but seek to live in a state of always-discovering, this is when life is transformed and you accept your birthright to choose and create in extraordinary fashion.
Jacob Nordby
The unexamined life is surely worth living, but is the unloved life worth examining? It seems a strange question until one realizes how much of our so-called mental life is about the lives we are not living, the lives we are missing out on, the lives we could be leading but for some reason are not. What we fantasize about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent. It is the absence of what we need that makes us think, that makes us cross and sad. We have to be aware of what is missing in our lives - even if this often obscures both what we already have and what is actually available - because we can survive only if our appetites more or less work for us. Indeed, we have to survive our appetites by making people cooperate with our wanting. We pressurize the world to be there for our benefit. And yet we quickly notice as children - it is, perhaps, the first thing we do notice - that our needs, like our wishes, are always potentially unmet. Because we are always shadowed by the possibility of not getting what we want, we lean, at best, to ironize our wishes - that is, to call our wants wishes: a wish is only a wish until, as we say, it comes true - and, at worst, to hate our needs. But we also learn to live somewhere between the lives we have and the lives we would like.(…) There is always what will turn out to be the life we led, and the life that accompanied it, the parallel life (or lives) that never actually happened, that we lived in our minds, the wished-for life (or lives): the risks untaken and the opportunities avoided or unprovided. We refer to them as our unloved lives because somewhere we believe that they were open to us; but for some reason - and we might spend a great deal of our lived lives trying to find and give the reason - they were not possible. And what was not possible all too easily becomes the story of our lives. Indeed, our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are. As we know more now than ever before about the kinds of lives it is possible to live - and affluence has allowed more people than ever before to think of their lives in terms of choices and options - we are always haunted by the myth of our potential, of what we might have it in ourselves to be or do. So when we are not thinking, like the character in Randall Jarrell's poem, that "The ways we miss our lives is life", we are grieving or regretting or resenting our failure to be ourselves as we imagine we could be. We share our lives with the people we have failed to be. We discover these unloved lives most obviously in our envy of other people, and in the conscious 9and unconscious) demands we make on our children to become something that was beyond us. And, of course, in our daily frustrations. Our lives become an elegy to needs unmet and desires sacrificed, to possibilities refused, to roads not taken. The myth of our potential can make of our lives a perpetual falling-short, a continual and continuing loss, a sustained and sometimes sustaining rage; though at its best it lures us into the future, but without letting us wonder why such lures are required (we become promising through the promises made to us). The myth of potential makes mourning and complaining feel like the realest things we eve do; and makes of our frustration a secret life of grudges. Even if we set aside the inevitable questions - How would we know if we had realized our potential? If we don't have potential what do we have? - we can't imagine our lives without the unloved lives they contain. We have an abiding sense, however obscure and obscured, that the lives we do lead are informed by the lives that escape us. That our lives are defined by loss, but loss of what might have been; loss, that is, of things never experienced.
Adam Phillips (Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life)
"If you prefer it, Your Excellency, a private room will be free directly: Prince Golitsin with a lady. Fresh oysters have come in." "Ah, oysters!" Stepan Arkadyevich became thoughtful. "How if we were to change our program, Levin?" he said, keeping his finger on the bill of fare. And his face expressed serious hesitation. "Are the oysters good? Mind, now!" "They're Flensburg, Your Excellency. We've no Ostend." "Flensburg will do -- but are they fresh?" "Only arrived yesterday." "Well, then, how if we were to begin with oysters, and so change the whole program? Eh?" "It's all the same to me. I should like cabbage soup and porridge better than anything; but of course there's nothing like that here." "Porridge a la Russe, Your Honor would like?" said the Tatar, bending down to Levin, like a nurse speaking to a child. "No, joking apart, whatever you choose is sure to be good. I've been skating, and I'm hungry. And don't imagine," he added, detecting a look of dissatisfaction on Oblonsky's face, "that I shan't appreciate your choice. I don't object to a good dinner." "I should hope so! After all, it's one of the pleasures of life," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "Well, then, my friend, you give us two -- or better say three-dozen oysters, clear soup with vegetables..." "Printaniere," prompted the Tatar. But Stepan Arkadyevich apparently did not care to allow him the satisfaction of giving the French names of the dishes. "With vegetables in it, you know. Then turbot with thick sauce, then... roast beef; and mind it's good. Yes, and capons, perhaps, and then stewed fruit." The Tatar, recollecting that it was Stepan Arkadyevich's way not to call the dishes by the names in the French bill of fare, did not repeat them after him, but could not resist rehearsing the whole menu to himself according to the bill: "Soupe printaniere, turbot sauce Beaumarchais, poulard a l'estragon, Macedoine de fruits..." and then instantly, as though worked by springs, laying down one bound bill of fare, he took up another, the list of wines, and submitted it to Stepan Arkadyevich. "What shall we drink?" "What you like, only not too much. Champagne," said Levin. "What! to start with? You're right though, I dare say. Do you like the white seal?" "Cachet blanc," prompted the Tatar. "Very well, then, give us that brand with the oysters, and then we'll see." "Yes, sir. And what table wine?" "You can give us Nuits. Oh, no -- better the classic Chablis." "Yes, sir. And your cheese, Your Excellency?" "Oh, yes, Parmesan. Or would you like another?" "No, it's all the same to me," said Levin, unable to suppress a smile.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
This regiment was formed last fall, back in Maine. There were a thousand of us then. There’s not three hundred of us now.” He glanced up briefly. “But what is left is choice.” He was embarrassed. He spoke very slowly, staring at the ground. “Some of us volunteered to fight for Union. Some came in mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came … because it was the right thing to do. All of us have seen men die. Most of us never saw a black man back home. We think on that, too. But freedom … is not just a word.” He looked up into the sky, over silent faces. “This is a different kind of army. If you look at history you’ll see men fight for pay, or women, or some other kind of loot. They fight for land, or because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we’re here for something new. I don’t … this hasn’t happened much in the history of the world. We’re an army going out to set other men free.” He bent down, scratched the black dirt into his fingers. He was beginning to warm to it; the words were beginning to flow. No one in front of him was moving. He said, “This is free ground. All the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by what your father was. Here you can be something. Here’s a place to build a home. It isn’t the land—there’s always more land. It’s the idea that we all have value, you and me, we’re worth something more than the dirt. I never saw dirt I’d die for, but I’m not asking you to come join us and fight for dirt. What we’re all fighting for, in the end, is each other.
Jeff Shaara (The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2))
Do we ever stop dreaming? I know I haven't. I must have been at least twenty-five when the Spice Girls happened, and I distinctly remember imagining my way into the group. I was going to be the sixth Spice, 'Massive Spice', who, against all the odds, would become the most popular and lusted-after Spice. The Spice who sang the vast majority of solo numbers in the up-tempo tracks. The Spice who really went the distance. And I still haven't quite given up on the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Championship. I mean, it can't be too late, can it? I've got a lovely clean T-shirt, and I've figured out exactly how I'd respond to winning the final point (lie on floor wailing, get up, do triumphant lap of the ring slapping crowd members' box). It can't be just me who does this. I'm convinced that most adults, when travelling alone in a car, have a favourite driving CD of choice and sing along to it quite seriously, giving it as much attitude and effort as they can, due to believing – in that instant – that they're the latest rock or pop god playing to a packed Wembley stadium. And there must be at least one man, one poor beleaguered City worker, who likes to pop into a phone box then come out pretending he's Superman. Is there someone who does this? Anyone? If so, I'd like to meet you and we shall marry in the spring (unless you're really, really weird and the Superman thing is all you do, in which case BACK OFF).
Miranda Hart (Is It Just Me?)
Depression goes through stages, but if left unchecked and not treated, this elevator ride will eventually go all the way to the bottom floor. And finally you find yourself bereft of choices, unable to figure out a way up or out, and pretty soon one overarching impulse begins winning the battle for your mind: “Kill yourself.” And once you get over the shock of those words in your head, the horror of it, it begins to start sounding appealing, even possessing a strange resolve, logic. In fact, it’s the only thing you have left that is logical. It becomes the only road to relief. As if just the planning of it provides the first solace you’ve felt that you can remember. And you become comfortable with it. You begin to plan it and contemplate the details of how best to do it, as if you were planning travel arrangements for a vacation. You just have to get out. O-U-T. You see the white space behind the letter O? You just want to crawl through that O and be out of this inescapable hurt that is this thing they call clinical depression. “How am I going to do this?” becomes the only tape playing. And if you are really, really, really depressed and you’re really there, you’re gonna find a way. I found a way. I had a way. And I did it. I made sure Opal was out of the house and on a business trip. My planning took a few weeks. I knew exactly how I was going to do it: I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. There was gonna be no blood, no drama. There was just going to be, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” That’s what it was going to be. So I did it. And it was over. Or so I thought. About twenty-four hours later I woke up. I was groggy; zoned out to the point at which I couldn’t put a sentence together for the next couple of days. But I was semifunctional, and as these drugs and shit that I took began to wear off slowly but surely, I realized, “Okay, I fucked up. I didn’t make it.” I thought I did all the right stuff, left no room for error, but something happened. And this perfect, flawless plan was thwarted. As if some force rebuked me and said, “Not yet. You’re not going anywhere.” The only reason I could have made it, after the amount of pills and alcohol and shit I took, was that somebody or something decided it wasn’t my time. It certainly wasn’t me making that call. It was something external. And when you’re infused with the presence of this positive external force, which is so much greater than all of your efforts to the contrary, that’s about as empowering a moment as you can have in your life. These days we have a plethora of drugs one can take to ameliorate the intensity of this lack of hope, lack of direction, lack of choice. So fuck it and don’t be embarrassed or feel like you can handle it yourself, because lemme tell ya something: you can’t. Get fuckin’ help. The negative demon is strong, and you may not be as fortunate as I was. My brother wasn’t. For me, despair eventually gave way to resolve, and resolve gave way to hope, and hope gave way to “Holy shit. I feel better than I’ve ever felt right now.” Having actually gone right up to the white light, looked right at it, and some force in the universe turned me around, I found, with apologies to Mr. Dylan, my direction home. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. I’m not exaggerating when I say for the next six months I felt like Superman. Like I’m gonna fucking go through walls. That’s how strong I felt. I had this positive force in me. I was saved. I was protected. I was like the only guy who survived and walked away from a major plane crash. I was here to do something big. What started as the darkest moment in my life became this surge of focus, direction, energy, and empowerment.
Ron Perlman (Easy Street: The Hard Way)
In 1970, Alix Kates Shulman, a wife, mother, and writer who had joined the Women's Liberation Movement in New York, wrote a poignant account of how the initial equality and companionship of her marriage had deteriorated once she had children. "[N]ow I was restricted to the company of two demanding preschoolers and to the four walls of an apartment. It seemed unfair that while my husband's life had changed little when the children were born, domestic life had become the only life I had." His job became even more demanding, requiring late nights and travel out of town. Meanwhile it was virtually impossible for her to work at home. "I had no time for myself; the children were always there." Neither she nor her husband was happy with the situation, so they did something radical, which received considerable media coverage: they wrote up a marriage agreement... In it they asserted that "each member of the family has an equal right to his/her own time, work, values and choices... The ability to earn more money is already a privilege which must not be compounded by enabling the larger earner to buy out of his/her duties and put the burden on the one who earns less, or on someone hired from outside." The agreement insisted that domestic jobs be shared fifty-fifty and, get this girls, "If one party works overtime in any domestic job, she/he must be compensated by equal work by the other." The agreement then listed a complete job breakdown... in other worde, the agreement acknowledged the physical and the emotional/mental work involved in parenting and valued both. At the end of the article, Shulman noted how much happier she and her husband were as a result of the agreement. In the two years after its inception, Shulman wrote three children's books, a biography and a novel. But listen, too, to what it meant to her husband, who was now actually seeing his children every day. After the agreement had been in effect for four months, "our daughter said one day to my husband, 'You know, Daddy, I used to love Mommy more than you, but now I love you both the same.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
So he asked her what she’d like to drink. Her choice would be crucial. If she orders a decaf, he thought, I’m getting up and leaving. No one was entitled to drink a decaf when it came to this type of encounter. It’s the least gregarious drink there is. Tea isn’t much better. Just met, and already settling into some kind of dull cocoon. You feel like you’re going to end up spending Sunday afternoons watching TV. Or worse: at the in-laws’. Yes, tea is indisputably in-law territory. Then what? Alcohol? No good for this time of day. You could have qualms about a woman who starts drinking right away like that. Even a glass of red wine isn’t going to cut it. François kept waiting for her to choose what she’d like to drink, and this was how he kept up his liquid analysis of first impressions of women. What was left now? Coke, or any type of soda … no, not possible, that didn’t say woman at all. Might as well ask for a straw, too, while she was at it. Finally he decided that juice was good. Yes, juice, that was nice. It’s friendly and not too aggressive. You can sense the kind of sweet, well-balanced woman who would make such a choice. But which juice? Better to avoid the great classics: apple, orange, too popular. It would have to be only slightly original without being completely eccentric. Papaya or guava—frightening. No, the best is choosing something in between, like apricot. That’s it. Apricot juice: perfect. If she chooses it, I’ll marry her, thought François. At that precise instant, Natalie raised her head from the menu, as if emerging from a long reflection. It was the same reflection in which the stranger opposite her had just been absorbed. “I’ll have a juice…” “…?” “Apricot juice, I guess.” He looked at her as if she were a violation of reality.
David Foenkinos (Delicacy)
A system of justice does not need to pursue retribution. If the purpose of drug sentencing is to prevent harm, all we need to do is decide what to do with people who pose a genuine risk to society or cause tangible harm. There are perfectly rational ways of doing this; in fact, most societies already pursue such policies with respect to alcohol: we leave people free to drink and get inebriated, but set limits on where and when. In general, we prosecute drunk drivers, not inebriated pedestrians. In this sense, the justice system is in many respects a battleground between moral ideas and evidence concerning how to most effectively promote both individual and societal interests, liberty, health, happiness and wellbeing. Severely compromising this system, insofar as it serves to further these ideals, is our vacillation or obsession with moral responsibility, which is, in the broadest sense, an attempt to isolate the subjective element of human choice, an exercise that all too readily deteriorates into blaming and scapegoating without providing effective solutions to the actual problem. The problem with the question of moral responsibility is that it is inherently subjective and involves conjecture about an individuals’ state of mind, awareness and ability to act that can rarely if ever be proved. Thus it involves precisely the same type of conjecture that characterizes superstitious notions of possession and the influence of the devil and provides no effective means of managing conduct: the individual convicted for an offence or crime considered morally wrong is convicted based on a series of hypotheses and probabilities and not necessarily because he or she is actually morally wrong. The fairness and effectiveness of a system of justice based on such hypotheses is highly questionable particularly as a basis for preventing or reducing drug use related harm. For example, with respect to drugs, the system quite obviously fails as a deterrent and the system is not organised to ‘reform’ the offender much less to ensure that he or she has ‘learned a lesson’; moreover, the offender does not get an opportunity to make amends or even have a conversation with the alleged victim. In the case of retributive justice, the justice system is effectively mopping up after the fact. In other words, as far as deterrence is concerned, the entire exercise of justice becomes an exercise based on faith, rather than one based on evidence.
Daniel Waterman (Entheogens, Society and Law: The Politics of Consciousness, Autonomy and Responsibility)
We're nothing but human. The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. Don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other's misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. You the people have the power.. the power to create machines.. the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful.. To make this life a wonderful adventure. We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale.. Most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly. Human happiness does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love that give meaning to the indifferent universe.
Anonymous
Boney freckled knees pressed into bits of bark and stone, refusing to feel any more pain. Her faded t-shirt hugged her protruding ribs as she held on, hunched in silence. A lone tear followed the lumpy tracks down her cheek, jumped from her quivering jaw onto a thirsty browned leaf with a thunderous plop. Then the screen door squeaked open and she took flight. Crispy twigs snapped beneath her bare feet as she ran deeper and deeper into the woods behind the house. She heard him rumbling and calling her name, his voice fueling her tired muscles to go faster, to survive. He knew her path by now. He was ready for the hunt. The clanging unbuckled belt boomed in her ears as he gained on her. The woods were thin this time of year, not much to hide behind. If she couldn’t outrun him, up she would go. Young trees teased her in this direction, so she moved east towards the evergreens. Hunger and hurt left her no choice, she had to stop running soon. She grabbed the first tree with a branch low enough to reach, and up she went. The pine trees were taller here, older, but the branches were too far apart for her to reach. She chose the wrong tree. His footsteps pounded close by. She stood as tall as her little legs could, her bloodied fingers reaching, stretching, to no avail. A cry of defeat slipped from her lips, a knowing laugh barked from his. She would pay for this dearly. She didn’t know whether the price was more than she could bear. Her eyes closed, her next breath came out as Please, and an inky hand reached down from the lush needles above, wound its many fingers around hers, and pulled her up. Another hand, then another, grabbing her arms, her legs, firmly but gently, pulling her up, up, up. The rush of green pine needles and black limbs blurred together, then a flash of cobalt blue fluttered by, heading down. She looked beyond her dangling bare feet to see a flock of peculiar birds settle on the branches below her, their glossy feathers flickered at once and changed to the same greens and grays of the tree they perched upon, camouflaging her ascension. Her father’s footsteps below came to a stomping end, and she knew he was listening for her. Tracking her, trapping her, like he did the other beasts of the forest. He called her name once, twice. The third time’s tone not quite as friendly. The familiar slide–click sound of him readying his gun made her flinch before he had his chance to shoot at the sky. A warning. He wasn’t done with her. His feet crunched in circles around the tree, eventually heading back home. Finally, she exhaled and looked up. Dozens of golden-eyed creatures surrounded her from above. Covered in indigo pelts, with long limbs tipped with mint-colored claws, they seemed to move as one, like a heartbeat. As if they shared a pulse, a train of thought, a common sense. “Thank you,” she whispered, and the beasts moved in a wave to carefully place her on a thick branch.
Kim Bongiorno (Part of My World: Short Stories)
I BELIEVE THAT we know much more about God than we admit that we know, than perhaps we altogether know that we know. God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference. Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. Each of us, for instance, carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness—a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd. Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him. But he also speaks to us about ourselves, about what he wants us to do and what he wants us to become; and this is the area where I believe that we know so much more about him than we admit even to ourselves, where people hear God speak even if they do not believe in him. A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees—some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today? All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
So began my love affair with books. Years later, as a college student, I remember having a choice between a few slices of pizza that would have held me over for a day or a copy of On the Road. I bought the book. I would have forgotten what the pizza tasted like, but I still remember Kerouac. The world was mine for the reading. I traveled with my books. I was there on a tramp steamer in the North Atlantic with the Hardy Boys, piecing together an unsolvable crime. I rode into the Valley of Death with the six hundred and I stood at the graves of Uncas and Cora and listened to the mournful song of the Lenni Linape. Although I braved a frozen death at Valley Forge and felt the spin of a hundred bullets at Shiloh, I was never afraid. I was there as much as you are where you are, right this second. I smelled the gunsmoke and tasted the frost. And it was good to be there. No one could harm me there. No one could punch me, slap me, call me stupid, or pretend I wasn’t in the room. The other kids raced through books so they could get the completion stamp on their library card. I didn’t care about that stupid completion stamp. I didn’t want to race through books. I wanted books to walk slowly through me, stop, and touch my brain and my memory. If a book couldn’t do that, it probably wasn’t a very good book. Besides, it isn’t how much you read, it’s what you read. What I learned from books, from young Ben Franklin’s anger at his brother to Anne Frank’s longing for the way her life used to be, was that I wasn’t alone in my pain. All that caused me such anguish affected others, too, and that connected me to them and that connected me to my books. I loved everything about books. I loved that odd sensation of turning the final page, realizing the story had ended, and feeling that I was saying a last goodbye to a new friend.
John William Tuohy (No Time to Say Goodbye: A Memoir of a Life in Foster Care)
I do love Oregon." My gaze wanders over the quiet, natural beauty surrounding us, which isn't limited to just this garden. "Being near the river, and the ocean, and the rocky mountains, and all this nature ... the weather." He chuckles. "I've never met anyone who actually loves rain. It's kind of weird. But cool, too," he adds quickly, as if afraid to offend me. "I just don't get it." I shrug. "It's not so much that I love rain. I just have a healthy respect for what if does. People hate it, but the world needs rain. It washes away dirt, dilutes the toxins in the air, feeds drought. It keeps everything around us alive." "Well, I have a healthy respect for what the sun does," he counters with a smile." "I'd rather have the sun after a good, hard rainfall." He just shakes his head at me but he's smiling. "The good with the bad?" "Isn't that life?" He frowns. "Why do I sense a metaphor behind that?" "Maybe there is a metaphor behind that." One I can't very well explain to him without describing the kinds of things I see every day in my life. The underbelly of society - where twisted morals reign and predators lurk, preying on the lost, the broken, the weak, the innocent. Where a thirteen-year-old sells her body rather than live under the same roof as her abusive parents, where punks gang-rape a drunk girl and then post pictures of it all over the internet so the world can relive it with her. Where a junkie mom's drug addiction is readily fed while her children sit back and watch. Where a father is murdered bacause he made the mistake of wanting a van for his family. In that world, it seems like it's raining all the time. A cold, hard rain that seeps into clothes, chills bones, and makes people feel utterly wretched. Many times, I see people on the worst day of their lives, when they feel like they're drowing. I don't enjoy seeing people suffer. I just know that if they make good choices, and accept the right help, they'll come out of it all the stronger for it. What I do enjoy comes after. Three months later, when I see that thirteen-year-old former prostitute pushing a mower across the front lawn of her foster home, a quiet smile on her face. Eight months later, when I see the girl who was raped walking home from school with a guy who wants nothing from her but to make her laugh. Two years later, when I see the junkie mom clean and sober and loading a shopping cart for the kids that the State finally gave back to her. Those people have seen the sun again after the harshest rain, and they appreciate it so much more.
K.A. Tucker (Becoming Rain (Burying Water, #2))
Making money in the markets is tough. The brilliant trader and investor Bernard Baruch put it well when he said, “If you are ready to give up everything else and study the whole history and background of the market and all principal companies whose stocks are on the board as carefully as a medical student studies anatomy—if you can do all that and in addition you have the cool nerves of a gambler, the sixth sense of a clairvoyant and the courage of a lion, you have a ghost of a chance.” In retrospect, the mistakes that led to my crash seemed embarrassingly obvious. First, I had been wildly overconfident and had let my emotions get the better of me. I learned (again) that no matter how much I knew and how hard I worked, I could never be certain enough to proclaim things like what I’d said on Wall $ treet Week: “There’ll be no soft landing. I can say that with absolute certainty, because I know how markets work.” I am still shocked and embarrassed by how arrogant I was. Second, I again saw the value of studying history. What had happened, after all, was “another one of those.” I should have realized that debts denominated in one’s own currency can be successfully restructured with the government’s help, and that when central banks simultaneously provide stimulus (as they did in March 1932, at the low point of the Great Depression, and as they did again in 1982), inflation and deflation can be balanced against each other. As in 1971, I had failed to recognize the lessons of history. Realizing that led me to try to make sense of all movements in all major economies and markets going back a hundred years and to come up with carefully tested decision-making principles that are timeless and universal. Third, I was reminded of how difficult it is to time markets. My long-term estimates of equilibrium levels were not reliable enough to bet on; too many things could happen between the time I placed my bets and the time (if ever) that my estimates were reached. Staring at these failings, I realized that if I was going to move forward without a high likelihood of getting whacked again, I would have to look at myself objectively and change—starting by learning a better way of handling the natural aggressiveness I’ve always shown in going after what I wanted. Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
What kind of regrets? For me, very few books cause tears, much less require a handkerchief, but Bronnie Ware’s 2012 book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying did both. Ware spent many years caring for those facing their own mortality. When she questioned the dying about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, Bronnie found that common themes surfaced again and again. The five most common were these: I wish that I’d let myself be happier—too late they realized happiness is a choice; I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends—too often they failed to give them the time and effort they deserved; I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings—too frequently shut mouths and shuttered feelings weighed too heavy to handle; I wish I hadn’t worked so hard—too much time spent making a living over building a life caused too much remorse. As tough as these were, one stood out above them all. The most common regret was this: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me. Half-filled dreams and unfulfilled hopes: this was the number-one regret expressed by the dying. As Ware put it, “Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.” Bronnie Ware’s observations aren’t hers alone. At the conclusion of their exhaustive research, Gilovich and Medvec in 1994 wrote, “When people look back on their lives, it is the things they have not done that generate the greatest regret.... People’s actions may be troublesome initially; it is their inactions that plague them most with long-term feelings of regret.” Honoring our hopes and pursuing productive lives through faith in our purpose and priorities is the message from our elders. From the wisest position they’ll ever have comes their clearest message. No regrets. So make sure every day you do what matters most. When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense. The best lives aren’t led this way.
Gary Keller (The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results)
From an interview with Susie Bright: SB: You were recently reviewed by the New York Times. How do you think the mainstream media regards sex museums, schools and cultural centers these days? What's their spin versus your own observations? [Note: Here's the article Susie mentions: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/05/nat... ] CQ: Lots of people have seen the little NY Times article, which was about an event we did, the Belle Bizarre Bazaar -- a holiday shopping fair where most of the vendors were sex workers selling sexy stuff. Proceeds went to our Exotic Dancers' Education Project, providing dancers with skills that will help them maximize their potential and choices. This event got into the Times despite the worries of its author, a journalist who'd been posted over by her editor. She thought the Times was way too conservative for the likes of us, which may be true, except they now have so many column inches to fill with distracting stuff that isn't about Judith Miller! The one thing the Times article does not do is present the spectrum of the Center for Sex & Culture's work, especially the academic and serious side of what we do. This, I think, points to the real answer to your question: mainstream media culture remains quite nervous and touchy about sex-related issues, especially those that take sex really seriously. A frivolous take (or a good, juicy, shocking angle) on a sex story works for the mainstream press: a sex-positive and serious take, not so much. When the San Francisco Chronicle did its article about us a year ago, the writer focused just on our porn collection. Now, we very much value that, but we also collect academic journals and sex education materials, and not a word about those! I think this is one really essential linchpin of sex-negative or erotophobic culture, that sex is only allowed to be either light or heavy, and when it's heavy, it's about really heavy issues like abuse. Recently I gave some quotes about something-or-other for a Cosmo story and the editors didn't want to use the term "sexologist" to describe me, saying that it wasn't a real word! You know, stuff like that from the Times would not be all that surprising, but Cosmo is now policing the language? Please!
Carol Queen (PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality)
She sorted through the clothes. “Do you mind wearing Emilio’s underwear?” She turned back to him with the two different styles that she’d found. “You’re about the same size. And they’re clean. They were wrapped in a paper package, like from a laundry service.” Max gave her a look, because along with the very nice, very expensive pair of black silk boxers she’d pilfered from Emilio, she’d also borrowed one of his thongs. “What?” Gina said. It was definitely a man-thong. It had all that extra room for various non-female body parts. “Don’t be ridiculous.” “I’m not,” she said, trying to play it as serious. “One, it’s been a while, maybe your tastes have changed. And two, these might actually be more comfortable, considering the placement of your bandage and—” He took the boxers from her. “Apparently I was wrong.” She turned away and started sorting through the pairs of pants and Bermuda shorts she’d grabbed, trying not to be too obvious about the fact that she was watching him out of the corner of her eye. To make sure he didn’t fall over. Right. After he got the boxers on, he took off the bathrobe and . . . Okay, he definitely wasn’t as skinny as he’d been after his lengthy stint in the hospital. Emilio’s pants probably weren’t going to fit him, after all. Although, there was one pair that looked like they’d be nice and loose . . . There they were. The Kelly green Bermuda shorts. Max gave her another one of those you’ve-got-to-be-kidding glances as he put the bathrobe over the back of another chair. “Do I really look as if I’ve ever worn shorts that color in my entire life?” She tried not to smile. “I honestly don’t think you have much choice.” She let herself look at him. “You know, you could just go with the boxers. At least until your pants dry. You know what would really work with that, though? A bowtie.” She turned, as if to go back to the closet. “I’m sure Emilio has a tux. Judging from his other clothes, it’s probably polyester and chartreuse, but maybe the bowtie is—” “Gina.” Max stopped her before she reached the door. He motioned for her to come back. She held out the green shorts, but instead of taking them, he took her arm, pulled her close. “I love you,” Max said, as if he were dispatching some terrible, dire news that somehow still managed to amuse him at least a little. Gina had been hoping that he’d say it, praying even, but the fact that he’d managed to smile, even just a bit while he did, was a miracle. And then, before her heart even had a chance to start beating again, he kissed her. And oh, she was also beyond ready for that particular marvel, for the sweet softness of his mouth, for the solidness of his arms around her. There was more of him to hold her since he’d regained his fighting weight—and that was amazing, too. She skimmed her hands across the muscular smoothness of his back, his shoulders, as his kiss changed from tender to heated. And, God. That was a miracle, too. Except she couldn’t help but wonder about those words, wrenched from him, as if it cost him his soul to speak them aloud. Why tell her this right now? Yes, she’d been waiting for years for him to say that he loved her, but . . . Max laughed his surprise. “No. Why do you . . .?” He figured it out himself. “No, no, Gina, just . . . I should’ve said it before. I should have said it years ago, but I really should have said it, you know, instead of hi.” He laughed again, clearly disgusted with himself. “God, I’m an idiot. I mean, hi? I should have walked in and said, ‘Gina, I need you. I love you, don’t ever leave me again.’” She stared at him. It was probably a good thing that he hadn’t said that at the time, because she might’ve fainted. It was obvious that he wanted her to say something, but she was completely speechless.
Suzanne Brockmann (Breaking Point (Troubleshooters, #9))
The enemy of my soul didn't want me painting that day. To create meant that I would look a little bit like my Creator. To overcome the terrifying angst of the blank canvas meant I would forever have more compassion for other artists. You better believe as I placed the first blue and gray strokes onto the white emptiness before me, the "not good enough" statement was pulsing through my head in almost deafening tones... This parlaying lie is one of his favorite tactics to keep you disillusioned by disappointments. Walls go up, emotions run high, we get guarded, defensive, demotivated, and paralyzed by the endless ways we feel doomed to fail. This is when we quit. This is when we settle for the ease of facebook.... This is when we get a job to simply make money instead of pursuing our calling to make a difference. This is when we put the paintbrush down and don't even try. So there I was. Standing before my painted blue boat, making a choice of which voice to listen to. I'm convinced God was smiling. Pleased. Asking me to find delight in what is right. Wanting me to have compassion for myself by focusing on that part of my painting that expressed something beautiful. To just be eager to give that beauty to whoever dared to look at my boat. To create to love others. Not to beg them for validation. But the enemy was perverting all that. Perfection mocked my boat. The bow was too high, the details too elementary, the reflection on the water too abrupt, and the back of the boat too off-center. Disappointment demanded I hyper-focused on what didn't look quite right. It was my choice which narrative to hold on to: "Not good enough" or "Find delight in what is right." Each perspective swirled, begging me to declare it as truth. I was struggling to make peace with my painting creation, because I was struggling to make make peace with myself as God's creation. Anytime we feel not good enough we deny the powerful truth that we are a glorious work of God in progress. We are imperfect because we are unfinished. So, as unfinished creations, of course everything we attempt will have imperfections. Everything we accomplish will have imperfections. And that's when it hit me: I expect a perfection in me and in others that not even God Himself expects. If God is patient with the process, why can't I be? How many times have I let imperfections cause me to be too hard on myself and too harsh with others? I force myself to send a picture of my boat to at least 20 friends. I was determined to not not be held back by the enemy's accusations that my artwork wasn't good enough to be considered "real art". This wasn't for validation but rather confirmation that I could see the imperfections in my painting but not deem it worthless. I could see the imperfections in me and not deem myself worthless. It was an act of self-compassion. I now knew to stand before each painting with nothing but love, amazement, and delight. I refused to demand anything more from the artist. I just wanted to show up for every single piece she was so brave to put on display.. Might I just be courageous enough to stand before her work and require myself to find everything about it I love? Release my clenched fist and pouty disappointments, and trade my "live up" mentality for a "show up" one? It is so much more freeing to simply show up and be a finder of the good. Break from the secret disappointments. Let my brain venture down the tiny little opening of love.. And I realized what makes paintings so delightful. It's there imperfections. That's what makes it art. It's been touched by a human. It's been created by someone whose hands sweat and who can't possibly transfer divine perfection from what her eyes see to what her fingertips can create. It will be flawed.
Lysa TerKeurst (It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered)
Suppose he really is in love. What about her? She never has anything good to say about him.” “Yet she blushes whenever he enters a room. And she stares at him a good deal. Or hadn’t you noticed that, either?” “As a matter of fact, I have.” Gazing up at him, she softened her tone. “But I do not want her hurt, Isaac. I must be sure she is desired for herself and not her fortune. Her siblings had a chance of not gaining their inheritance unless the others married, so I always knew that their mates loved them, but she…” She shook her head. “I had to find a way to remove her fortune from the equation.” “I still say you’re taking a big risk.” He glanced beyond her to where Celia was talking to the duke. “Do yo really think she’d be better off with Lyons?” But she doesn’t love him…If you’d just give her a chance- “I do not know,” Hetty said with a sigh. “I do not know anything anymore.” “Then you shouldn’t meddle. Because there’s another outcome you haven’t considered. If you try to manipulate matters to your satisfaction, she may balk entirely. Then you’ll find yourself in the sticky position of having to choose between disinheriting them all or backing down on your ultimatum. Personally, I think you should have given up that nonsense long ago, but I know only too well how stubborn you can be when you’ve got the bit between your teeth.” “Oh?” she said archly. “Have I been stubborn with you?” He gazed down at her. “You haven’t agreed to marry me yet.” Her heart flipped over in her chest. It was not the first time he had mentioned marriage, but she had refused to take him seriously. Until now. It was clear he would not be put off any longer. He looked solemnly in earnest. “Isaac…” “Are you worried that I am a fortune hunter?” “Do not be absurd.” “Because I’ve already told you that I’ll sign any marriage settlement you have your solicitor draw up. I don’t want your brewery or your vast fortune. I know it’s going to your grandchildren. I only want you.” The tender words made her sigh like a foolish girl. “I realize that. But why not merely continue as we have been?” His voice lowered. “Because I want to make you mine in every way.” A sweet shiver swept along her spine. “We do not need to marry for that.” “So all you want from me is an affair?” “No! But-“ “I want more than that. I want to go to sleep with you in my arms and wake with you in my bed. I want the right to be with you whenever I please, night or day.” His tone deepened. “I love you, Hetty. And when a man loves a woman, he wants to spend his life with her.” “But at our age, people will say-“ “Our age is an argument for marriage. We might not have much time left. Why not live it to the fullest, together, while we’re still in good health? Who cares about what people say? Life is too short to let other people dictate one’s choices.” She leaned heavily on his arm as they reached the steps leading up to the dais at the front of the ballroom. He did have a point. She had been balking at marrying him because she was sure people would think her a silly old fool. But then, she had always been out of step with everyone else. Why should this be any different? “I shall think about it,” she murmured as they headed to the center of the dais, where the family was gathering. “I suppose I’ll have to settle for that. For now.” He cast her a heated glance. “But later this evening, once we have the chance to be alone, I shall try more effective methods to persuade you. Because I’m not giving up on this. I can be as stubborn as you, my dear.” She bit back a smile. Thank God for that.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
The only thing I can’t figure out is why you still eat the food your captors fed you. Why don’t you hate it as much as you hate them?” Fila glanced down at her plate. It contained a strange mixture of Afghan and Mexican dishes. She held up a flatbread. “This isn’t Taliban food—it’s Afghan food. It’s my mother’s food. I grew up eating it before I was ever captured. To me it means love and tenderness, not hate and violence.” “Taliban, Afghan—it’s all the same.” She waved the bread. “No, it’s not. Not one bit. Afghan culture is over two thousand years old. And it’s a conservative culture—it’s had to be—but it’s not a culture of monsters. Afghans are people like you, Holt. They’re born, they grow up, they live and love and they die just like we do. I didn’t study much history before I was taken, but I know this much. America’s story is that of the frontier—of always having room to grow. Afghanistan’s story is that of occupation. By the Russians, the British, the Mongols—even the ancient Greeks. On and on for century after century. Imagine all those wars being fought in Montana. Foreign armies living among us, taking over your ranch, stealing everything you own, killing your wife and children, over and over and over again.” She paused to catch her breath. “Death is right around the corner for them—all the time. Is it any wonder that a movement that turns men into warriors and codes everything else into rigid rules might seem like the answer?” She still wasn’t sure if Holt was following her. What analogy would make sense to him? She wracked her brain. “If a bunch of Californians overran Chance Creek and forced everyone to eat tofu, would you refuse to ever eat steak again?” He made a face. “Of course not!” “Then imagine the Taliban are the Californians, forcing everyone to eat tofu. And everyone does it because they don’t know what else to do. They still love steak, but they will be severely punished if they eat it—so will their families. That’s what it’s like for many Afghans living under Taliban control. It’s not their choice. They still love their country. They still love their heritage. That doesn’t mean they love the group of extremists who have taken over.” “Even if those Taliban people went away, they still wouldn’t be anything like you and me.” Holt crossed his arms. Fila suppressed a smile at his inclusion of her. That was a step in the right direction even if the greater message was lost on him. “They’re more like you than you think. Defensive. Angry. Always on the lookout for trouble.” Holt straightened. “I have four sons. Of course I’m on the lookout for trouble.” “They have sons, too.” She waited to see if he understood. Holt shook his head. “We’re going to see different on this one. But I understand about the food. Everyone likes their mother’s cooking best.” He surveyed her plate. “You got any more of that bread?” She’d take that as a victory.
Cora Seton (The Cowboy Rescues a Bride (The Cowboys of Chance Creek, #7))
Close friendships, Gandhi says, are dangerous, because “friends react on one another” and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing. This is unquestionably true. Moreover, if one is to love God, or to love humanity as a whole, one cannot give one's preference to any individual person. This again is true, and it marks the point at which the humanistic and the religious attitude cease to be reconcilable. To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others. The autobiography leaves it uncertain whether Gandhi behaved in an inconsiderate way to his wife and children, but at any rate it makes clear that on three occasions he was willing to let his wife or a child die rather than administer the animal food prescribed by the doctor. It is true that the threatened death never actually occurred, and also that Gandhi — with, one gathers, a good deal of moral pressure in the opposite direction — always gave the patient the choice of staying alive at the price of committing a sin: still, if the decision had been solely his own, he would have forbidden the animal food, whatever the risks might be. There must, he says, be some limit to what we will do in order to remain alive, and the limit is well on this side of chicken broth. This attitude is perhaps a noble one, but, in the sense which — I think — most people would give to the word, it is inhuman. The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals. No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid. There is an obvious retort to this, but one should be wary about making it. In this yogi-ridden age, it is too readily assumed that “non-attachment” is not only better than a full acceptance of earthly life, but that the ordinary man only rejects it because it is too difficult: in other words, that the average human being is a failed saint. It is doubtful whether this is true. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. If one could follow it to its psychological roots, one would, I believe, find that the main motive for “non-attachment” is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work. But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is “higher”. The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all “radicals” and “progressives”, from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.
George Orwell
This is how we understand depressive psychosis today: as a bogging down in the demands of others-family job, the narrow horizon of daily duties. In such a bogging down the individual does not feel or see that he has alternatives, cannot imagine any choices or alternate ways of life, cannot release himself from the network of obligations even though these obligations no longer give him a sense of self-esteem, of primary value, of being a heroic contributor to world life even by doing his daily family and job duties. As I once speculated, the schizophrenic is not enough built into his world-what Kierkegaard has called the sickness of infinitude; the depressive, on the other hand, is built into his world too solidly, too overwhelmingly. Kierkegaard put it this way: But while one sort of despair plunges wildly into the infinite and loses itself, a second sort permits itself as it were to be defrauded by "the others." By seeing the multitude of men about it, by getting engaged in all sorts of worldly affairs, by becoming wise about how things go in this world, such a man forgets himself...does not dare to believe in himself, finds it too venturesome a thing to be himself, far easier and safer to be like the others, to become an imitation, a number, a cipher in the crowd. This is a superb characterization of the "culturally normal" man, the one who dares not stand up for his own meanings because this means too much danger, too much exposure. Better not to be oneself, better to live tucked into others, embedded in a safe framework of social and cultural obligations and duties. Again, too, this kind of characterization must be understood as being on a continuum, at the extreme end of which we find depressive psychosis. The depressed person is so afraid of being himself, so fearful of exerting his own individuality, of insisting on what might be his own meanings, his own conditions for living, that he seems literally stupid. He cannot seem to understand the situation he is in, cannot see beyond his own fears, cannot grasp why he has bogged down. Kierkegaard phrases it beautifully: If one will compare the tendency to run wild in possibility with the efforts of a child to enunciate words, the lack of possibility is like being dumb...for without possibility a man cannot, as it were, draw breath. This is precisely the condition of depression, that one can hardly breath or move. One of the unconscious tactics that the depressed person resorts to, to try to make sense out of his situation, is to see himself as immensely worthless and guilty. This is a marvelous "invention" really, because it allows him to move out of his condition of dumbness, and make some kind of conceptualization of his situation, some kind of sense out of it-even if he has to take full blame as the culprit who is causing so much needless misery to others. Could Kierkegaard have been referring to just such an imaginative tactic when he casually observed: Sometimes the inventiveness of the human imagination suffices to procure possibility....
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
Then Daniel stepped forward and a trumpet sounded, followed by a drum. The dance was beginning. He took her hand. When he spoke, he spoke to her, not to the audience,as the other players did. "The fairest hand I ever touched," Daniel said. "O Beauty, till now I never knew thee." As if the lines had been written for the two of them. They began to dance,and Daniel locked eyes with her the whole time. His eyes were crystal clear and violet, and the way they never strayed from hers chipped away at Luce's heart. She knew he'd loved her always,but until this moment,dancing with him on the stage in front of all these people,she had never really thought about what it meant. It meant that when she saw him for the first time in every life,Daniel was already in love with her. Every time. And always had been. And every time, she had to fall in love with him from scratch.He could never pressure her or push her into loving him. He had to win her anew each time. Daniel's love for her was one long, uninterrupted stream.It was the purest form of love there was,purer even than the love Luce returned. His love flowed without breaking,without stopping. Whereas Luce's love was wiped clean with every death, Daniel's grew over time, across all eternity. How powerfully strong must it be by now? Hundreds of love stacked one on top of the other? It was almost too massive for Luce to comprehend. He loved her that much,and yet in every lifetime,over and over again,he had to wait for her to catch up. All this time,they had been dancing with the rest of the troupe, bounding in and out of the wings at breaks in the music,coming back onstage for more gallantry,for longer sets with more ornate steps,until the whole company was dancing. At the close of the scene,even though it wasn't in the script,even though Cam was standing right there watching,Luce held fast to Daniel's hand and pulled him to her,up against the potted orange trees.He looked at her like she was crazy and tried to tug her to the mark dictated by her stage directions. "What are you doing?" he murmured. He had doubted her before,backstage when she'd tried to speak freely about her feelings.She had to make him believe her.Especially if Lucinda died tonight,understanding the depth of her love would mean everything to him. It would help him to carry on,to keep loving her for hundreds more years, through all the pain and hardship she'd witnessed,right up to the present. Luce knew that it wasn't in the script, but she couldn't stop herself: She grabbed Daniel and she kissed him. She expected him to stop her,but instead he swooped her into his arms and kissed her back.Hard and passionately, responding with such intensity that she felt the way she did when they were flying,though she knew her feet were planted on the ground. For a moment, the audience was silent. Then they began to holler and jeer.Someone threw a shoe at Daniel, but he ignored it. His kisses told Luce that he believed her,that he understood the depth of her love,but she wanted to be absolutely sure. "I will always love you,Daniel." Only, that didn't seem quite right-or not quite enough. She had to make him understand,and damn the consequences-if she changed history,so be it. "I'll always choose you." Yes, that was the word. "Every single lifetime, I'll choose you.Just as you have always chosen me.Forever." His lips parted.Did he believe her? Did he already know? It was a choice, a long-standing, deep-seated choice that reached beyond anything else Luce was capable of.Something powerful was behind it.Something beautiful and- Shadows began to swirl in the rigging overhead. Heat quaked through her body, making her convulse,desperate for the fiery release she knew was coming. Daniel's eyes flashed with pain. "No," he whispered. "Please don't go yet." Somehow,it always took both of them by surprise.
Lauren Kate (Passion (Fallen, #3))