My summer is coming to an end. I had a lot of fun this summer but I also wanted to learn this summer. Or I at least wanted to learn things about the world that I could apply to my life.
With that in mind, I took a note on my phone of any quote that resonated with me. These quotes come from a variety of sources such as books, online articles, and even television shows. These are not running specific quotes, although some come from runners. I wanted the things I learned from this summer to be more focused on life.
What follows are a series of quotes I came across this summer. Each quote is followed by a brief description.
- “The hardest things to fix are the things that we don’t want to admit to ourselves. And I finally had to admit to myself that I couldn’t do it on my own.” — Amelia Boone, Professional Ultra Runner
Boone wrote this in a brilliant post about her battling an eating disorder (a struggle so many runners are all too familiar with). But I find that it applies to mental health in general. The past six months or so I’ve become more focused on my own mental health and the struggles I am facing every day. And I’ve finally realized that it is something I have to fix on my own. My poor mental health is not to blame on my job, my social life, or my environment. This emptiness that I feel inside is something I have to take responsibility for and fight for. And let me tell you, it’s a fucking fight man. But it’s a fight I feel like winning.
2. “It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much.” — Seneca, Philosopher
I’ve come to understand that Seneca believed that every second that passes in our lives is lost to death. It is an interesting perspective. I’m trying to take some more time to live the life I want. Sometimes this means I sleep a little less, spend a little more money, make questionable decisions. I’m learning to not beat myself up over these decisions because life is happening right now and I need to make the most of it.
3. “The more we expose ourselves to complete annihilation, the more we can discover the unbreakable parts of humanity.” — Stephen Kersh, Ultrarunner
This was written when trying to describe why Kersh was running the Western States 100 mile race. And damn that is just a beautifully written sentence. It applies to more than just running. Pursuing any task in the fullest will expose you to unbelievably dark places. But the beauty of the human spirit is that we can literally rise from the depths of hell. Coming back from darkness is the most poetic part of our humanity.
4. “We die, trusting the living who follow to find meaning in our lives. That is the sole method in which we can rebel against this cruel world.” — Erwin Smith, Commander of the Survey Corp in Attack On Titan
As someone who is troubled by thinking about how meaningless life is, I am comforted knowing that perhaps those living after me can find some meaning in my life. I am intoxicated by the feeling that my immediate friends and family may find some meaning in my life and that is enough reason to live. I am very envious that Commander Smith has found such a strong purpose for living in this television show. As someone who feels lost and without purpose in life, I hope that I can one day find a purpose for living like Commander Smith did.
5. “You gotta know what you want your day to look like. That’s how you build a life.”
No source for this quote, I just wrote it down because it resonated. I know that it is my responsibility to build my life. So what do I want to look like my day to look like? Right now, I know that at some point in my day I want to run and I want to connect with my friends. It is not an exact answer but it is a start. Connecting with my friends can be as simple as sending the hello text to super deep, meaningful conversations. It is super important to connect with your community of people at least once a day. Find some people you connect with and reach out everyday.
6. “Redefining my concept of what it means to work hard is a process. Rather than deliberating if I am doing enough, the question must become, ‘Am I doing what’s right?’ And the first step to achieving that goal is to stop listening to all the noise.” — Kyle Merber, Professional Track Runner
I am obsessed with being a hard worker. I have long believed in outworking the next guy. I still believe in that, but I love the distinction Merber makes here. To work hard, I don’t just need to work more than the next guy. Instead, I need to do what is right for me. That may be I work less hours, or I run less miles than the next guy. Just because someone is doing more than me doesn’t me they are outworking me. Or even if it does mean, they are outworking me, who cares? Hard work is about doing the right amount of work for myself. And working hard means more than outworking someone else.
7. “Our work preferences and our life preferences do not stay the same because we do not stay the same.” — David Epstein, author of Range
Life becomes more complicated after we leave school. I feel like school, specifically college, pushes this narrative that once you graduate you find a job and then that is what you do for the rest of your life. I believed in that theory so much. But what I failed to recognize in school was that I was going to change. I am 24 years old. That means I am going to change, my job is going to change, my friends are going to change, where I live is going to change, everything is going to change. And that is okay. That is life. And I don’t need to feel trapped with this version of my life just because this is what I imagined life would be like after school.
8. “If we win because we are winners, then we lose because we are losers.”
Again, no source for this quote. And I just love this quote for the simplicity. It is a reminder that the winner you think of in life, has lost so many times. Losing is necessary to create a winner. No one is born to be a loser. Losers can mold themselves into winners. And we have to be careful about our language. We must praise our winners for their hard work, attention to detail, willingness to adapt, etc. We must tell our losers that losing is not their destiny, it just requires some form of adjustment. If winners only win because they are superior, then that means those of us who feel like losers all the time just don;t have what it takes to be winners. And that feels empty and is far from the truth. You can mold yourself into the person you want to be.
Hope you enjoyed this piece. As always, I appreciate feedback.