concept

the past Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes about the past
01
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“All the events of your past have formed a lens, or paradigm, through which you see the world. And since no one’s past is exactly like anyone else’s, no two people see alike.”
Sean Covey
author
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens
book
teenagers
being different
seeing
world
the past
concepts
02
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“I’m very good at the past. It’s the present I can’t understand.”
03
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“In school, we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands. Some say those are just stories, but I don’t believe that. The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.”
Mare Barrow
character
04
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“That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”
05
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“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”
06
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“The darkness outside is what the old folks have been talking about. It’s what they’ve come from. It’s what they endure. The child knows that they won’t talk any more because if he knows too much about what’s happened to them, he’ll know too much too soon, about what’s going to happen to him.”
07
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“Like someone who has imperfect vision, we see things, which are remote from us; so much light the Supreme Ruler still gives to us; when they draw nigh, or are, our intellect is altogether void; and except what others bring us, we know nothing of your human state.”
08
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“My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.”
09
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The past always seems better when you look back on it than it did at the time. And the present never looks as good as it will in the future.
10
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“Perhaps I should have run the other way right then and there, realizing that a guy like this might bring out the worst in me.”
11
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“After all, guilt and remorse were worthless emotions, weren’t they? Well, I knew they weren’t; but I had no time for them. Forward motion; that was the key. Run as fast as you can and don’t look back.”
12
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“I never did learn anything out of my past life, now I have to suffer again.”
13
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“In retrospect, I remember feeling somewhat relieved - that the chaos and insanity would finally be behind me.”
14
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“To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all at the same time.”
15
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“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”
16
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“There are two levels to your pain: the pain that you create now, and the pain from the past that still lives on in your mind and body. Ceasing to create pain in the present and dissolving past pain - this is what I want to talk about now.”
17
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“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are cause by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
18
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″... this is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He can see.”
19
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“You can never put it back together like it was.”
20
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“It had been good being around the living again instead of moping around with the ghosts of her past.”
21
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“‘We all bear scars, Dorian. Mine just happen to be more visible than most.’”
22
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“The doors to the world of the wild are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”
23
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“Mr. Stott had warned him that he would not be able to change the past. He had explained that everything he did would be something that had already happened. Which meant that trying to convince his friends he was a time traveler would be a dead end. He had already failed! With less than an hour to burn, he had to make the most of his time.”
24
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“For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how. You’ll have forgotten what granted you this awareness in the first place
25
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“Freedom or death lay at this table. Her past and future were seated on a glass throne.”
26
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“The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable. There were passions in him that would find their terrible outlet, dreams that would make the shadow of their evil real.”
27
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“For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how.”
28
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“Henry is glancing around us, worrying that readers, co-workers are noticing us, searching his memory, realizing that some future self of his has met this radiantly happy girl standing in front of him.”
29
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“And this astoundingly beautiful amber-haired tall slim girl turns around and looks at me as though I am her personal Jesus. My stomach lurches. Obviously she knows me, and I don’t know her. Lord only knows what I have said, done, or promised to this luminous creature.”
30
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“Back in the time when life was easy, the Internet would have told me what I needed to know. The great thing about the Internet was it didn’t care why you were asking.”
31
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“I am conducting conversations with Henry as though he were here with me, as though he could see through my eyes, think with my brain.”
32
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“To Sethe, the future was a matter of keeping the past at bay. The ‘better life’ she believed she and Denver were living was simply not that other one.”
Denver
Sethe
characters
33
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“We may not have a future, but you can’t deny we have a past.”
34
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“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”
35
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“Sometimes I would give anything to open up Henry’s brain and look at his memory like a movie. I remember when I first learned to use a computer; I wanted to push my hands though the screen and get the real thing in there, whatever it was. I like to do things directly, touch the textures, see the colors. ”
36
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“It’s funny how memory erodes. If all I had to work from where my childhood memories, my knowledge of my mother would be faded and soft, with a few sharp moments standing out.”
37
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“Working dough. Working, working dough. Nothing better than that to start that day’s serious work of beating back the past.”
Sethe
character
work hard
the past
work
concepts
38
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“I stare at Clare, standing before me, and I am sorry to be here, sorry to ruin her Christmas. “I’m sorry, Clare. I didn’t mean to put all this sadness on you. I just find Christmas… difficult.”
39
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“There is no stage you comprehend better than the one you have just left.”
40
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“But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day.”
41
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“The future was sunset; the past was something to leave behind. And if it didn’t stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out.”
Ella
character
sunsets
the past
future
concepts
42
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“Every day the future looks a little bit darker. But the past, even the grimy parts of it, well, it just keeps on getting brighter all the time”
43
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“Perhaps--I want the old days back again and they’ll never come back, and I am haunted by the memory of them and of the world falling about my ears.”
44
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“For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you.”
45
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“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
46
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“When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”
47
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“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”
48
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“At my age, I should not be afraid of anything—certainly not my own past.”
49
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“I want to remember . . . Because it happened to me. And I’m still me.”
50
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“People reflexively assume that competition is always a good thing, that it always brings out the best in people, but that’s only true of people who can forget the competition. The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past.”
51
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“Somehow, long ago, my little kid’s brain had pasted together pieces of overheard conversations: When Mom was a teenager, I started making her belly fat.”″
52
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“Respect the past; you never know how it may affect you.”
Eragon
book
Brom
character
the past
respect
concepts
53
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“Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn’t exist and never shall. There is only now.”
54
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“Hostile to the past, impatient of the present, and cheated of the future, we were much like those whom men’s justice, or hatred, forces to live behind prison bars.”
55
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“They are living in the moment. They are not ashamed of the past; they are not worried about the future. Little children express what they feel, and they are not afraid to love.”
56
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“I have no need for the past, I thought, like a child. I did not consider that the past might have a need for me.”
57
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“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
58
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“Neither question nor answer was meant as anything more than a polite preamble to conversation. Both [Rahel] and [Comrade Pillai] knew that there are things that can be forgotten. And things that cannot – that sit on dusty shelves like stuffed birds with baleful, sideways-staring eyes.”
59
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“You have blotted out the past for me, far more effectively than all the bright lights of Monte Carlo.”
60
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“The past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories.”
61
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“The days when you could act out of your noble instincts are over. Except of course, you here in Europe don’t yet seem to know it.”
62
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“But I would help him as best I could. And I would try to keep friendship with him, maybe plant a few ideas in his mind that would help both me and the people who would be his slaves in the years to come. I might even be making things easier for Alice.”
63
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“The place, the time would either kill him outright or mark him somehow.”
64
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“There, in childhood, there had been something really pleasant with which it would be possible to live if it could return. But the child who had experienced that happiness existed no longer, it was like a reminiscence of somebody else.”
65
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“Strange, what brings these past things so vividly back to us, sometimes!”
66
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“Three decades ago, in a top story of the century, Americans placed six flags on the Moon. Today we no longer try for new and bold space achievements; instead we celebrate the anniversaries of the past.”
67
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“In running from her past, Mommy has created her own nation, a rainbow coalition.”
68
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“Slavery was a long slow process of dulling.”
69
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″... but comfortable as her life had been there she could not go back. The anti-climax would be too intolerable; and her return might bring reproach upon her idolized husband.”
70
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“These people were my relatives, my ancestors. And this place could be my refuge.”
71
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″...a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment...”
72
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“You are very good. But it strikes me that there is a want of harmony between your present mood of self-sacrifice and your past mood of self-preservation.”
73
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“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”
74
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“All stories told have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.”
75
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“We haven’t re-created the past here. The past is gone. It can never be re-created. What we’ve done is reconstruct the past—or at least a version of the past. And I’m saying we can make a better version.”
76
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“But in the meantime, you got to remember, you can’t always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now.”
77
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“No one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. ”
78
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“There’s always been a lottery. ”
79
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“Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon. ”
80
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“Guess we better get started, get this over with, so we can go back to work.”
81
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“Well, that’s all in the past. Tomorrow, I’ll start finding out what life is really like.”
82
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“Our identities are always changing and growing, they’re not meant to be pinned down. Our histories are never all good or all bad, and running from the past is the surest way to be defined by it. That’s when it owns us. The key is bringing light to the darkness - developing awareness and understanding.”
83
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“Remember this also: it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago. It is hard to see what we are. If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.”
84
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“Some towns … want to talk about what happened, about the past. Other towns, discussion of the past is discouraged. We went to a place once where the children didn’t know the world had ever been different, although you’d think all the rusted-out automobiles and telephones wires would give them a clue.”
85
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“As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lessons.”
86
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“I certainly do know heaps of stories, but I learned most of them from Gramps. Gram suggested I tell one about my mother. That I could not do. I had just reached the point where I could stop thinking about her every minute of every day.”
87
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“Death holds up an all-seeing mirror, ‘the mirror of past actions’, to our eyes, in which the consequences of all our negative and positive actions are clearly seen and there is a weighing of our past actions in the light of their consequences, the balance of which will determine the kind of existence or mental state we are being driven to enter.”
88
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“A fresh start gives us the chance to reflect on the past, weigh the things we’ve done, and apply what we’ve learned from those things to the future. If we don’t examine the past, we don’t learn from it.”
89
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“Abandon your notions of the past, without attributing a temporal sequence! Cut off your mental associations regarding the future, without anticipation! Rest in a spacious modality, without clinging to [the thoughts of] the present. Do not meditate at all, since there is nothing upon which to meditate. Instead, revelation will come through undistracted mindfulness — Since there is nothing by which you can be distracted.”
90
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All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.
91
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“Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth—or, perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives—they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past. Such people don’t believe that they deserve any better—so they don’t go looking for it. Or, perhaps, they don’t want the trouble of better. Freud called this a ‘repetition compulsion.’ He thought of it as an unconscious drive to repeat the horrors of the past—sometimes, perhaps, to formulate those horrors more precisely, sometimes to attempt more active mastery and sometimes, perhaps, because no alternatives beckon. People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it. It’s partly fate. It’s partly inability. It’s partly … unwillingness to learn? Refusal to learn? Motivated refusal to learn?”
92
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″‘And there were Dwarfs. And there were lovely little Fauns in all the woods. They had feet like goats. And—’ ‘That’s all nonsense, for babies,’ said the King sternly.”
93
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″‘And look at those other steps—the broad, shallow ones—going up to that doorway. It must have been the door into the great hall.’ ‘Ages ago, by the look of it,’ said Edmund.”
94
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“I had agreed with Mother to look to the future, but secretly I dreamed of returning to the past.”
95
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″‘It is hard for you, little one,’ said Aslan. ‘But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now.‘”
96
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“One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday.”
97
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“So many black families spend all of their time trying to fix the problems of the past. That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it ‘the black tax.’ Because the generations who came before you have been pillaged, rather than being free to use your skills and education to move forward, you lose everything just trying to bring everyone behind you back up to zero.”
98
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“But there’s nothing to be done about it. All I can do is put in time waiting for the inevitable, observing as the ghosts of my past rattle around my vacuous present. They crash and bang and make themselves at home, mostly because there’s no competition. I’ve stopped fighting them.”
99
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“Atonement was powerful; it was the lock on the door you closed against the past. ”
100
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“To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you.”
101
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Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive.
102
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“Even my best and only friend Ricky didn’t believe me, and he’d been there.”
103
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“My salad days, When I was green in judgment, cold in blood. ”
104
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“My dad explained it to me: Grandpa had told him some of the same stories when he was a kid, and they weren’t lies, exactly, but exaggerated version of the truth.”
105
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“We are not prepared to go where we need to go. So we do not clearly see the need to end something, or we maintain false hope, or we just are not able to do it. As a result, we stay stuck in what should now be in our past.”
106
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“For better or for worse, we ate the fruit of knowledge long, long ago.”
107
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“From everything you told me, both of us did some pretty wrong stuff when we were younger. And both of us had second chances.”
108
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“The day dawned, and already the time of youth was fleeing the house which the three giants of my dreams had built. ”
109
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“Ay, every generation, every man is a part of his past.”
110
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“They understood that I had to be away from the places that held the memories of my friend.”
111
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“It was the Lunas who carried the charter from the Mexican government to settle the valley. That took courage.”
112
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“Time stood still, and it shared with me all that had been, and all that was to come.”
113
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“I am a stranger in this church. Indeed, I have not been here since spring of 1692, so long ago now that it seems but a dim memory, and the girl I was at that time seems certainly like another person. Me and yet not me, that young girl. For she was as innocent to the dangers around her as my own baby daughter who now sleeps peacefully in my arms.”
114
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“He said, ‘You saw her snip the cord.’ ‘Yeah. So?’ But even as I said it, I knew it was a big deal. ‘This is not happening,’ Grover mumbled. He started chewing at his thumb. ‘I don’t want this to be like the last time.‘”
115
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“Even you are not rich enough, Sir Robert, to buy back your past. No man is.”
116
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“That’s what heaven is. You get to make sense of your yesterdays.”
117
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″So thank you, Justin. Sincerely. My very first kiss was wonderful. And for the month or so that we lasted, and everywhere that we went, the kisses were wonderful. You were wonderful.”
118
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“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”
119
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“Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done.”
120
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“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.”
121
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“The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.”
122
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“The past can be escaped only by embracing something better, and he figured that was what she’d done.”
123
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“Everyone has a past, but that’s just it—it’s in the past. You can learn from it, but you can’t change it.”
124
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“Perhaps that’s why I find myself looking backward. The past has a clarity I can no longer see in the present.”
125
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“I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught.”
126
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“The past and the present are within my field of inquiry, but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer.”
127
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The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now.
128
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When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment.
129
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Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.
130
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The past can’t hurt you anymore, not unless you let it.
131
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“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
132
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“Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it.”
133
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“Without a past you can’t have a future.”
134
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“A story can be new and yet tell about olden times. The past comes into existence with the story.”
135
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“No one should be entirely judged by their past.”
136
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“That truth first came to light a few weeks ago, at a party, with Hannah directly in front of me. An amazing moment when everything seemed to be falling into place.”
137
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“Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is.”
138
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“He had been so intent on finding the cattle that he had forgotten all the events of the past days and past years. Hunting the cattle was good for that. Old Betonie was right.”
139
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″(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all Enacted on this same divan or bed; I who have sat by Thebes below the wall And walked among the lowest of the dead.)”
140
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“This book probably makes it seem like I hate myself and everything I do. But that’s not totally true. I mostly just hate every person I’ve ever been. I’m actually fine with myself right now.”
141
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“April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.”
142
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“Do You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember Nothing?”″
143
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“In the mountains, there you feel free. I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.”
144
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“O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.”
145
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“He was getting disgusted at this increasing nostalgic preoccupation with the past. It was a weakness, he knew, a weakness he could scarcely afford if he intended to go on.”
146
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“Lies are never forgotten, they go on and they grow.”
147
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“Regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow are twin thieves that rob us of the moment.”
148
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“I just... I caught myself thinking about it over and over. And then I realized that I was simply remembering it as something that was wrong with me. That was the story I was telling myself - that I was somehow inferior. Isn’t that interesting? The past is just a story we tell ourselves.”
149
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“I don’t know. I have a lot of dreams about my ex-wife, Catherine, where we’re friends like we used to be. We’re not gonna be together, we’re not together, but we’re friends still. She’s not angry.”
150
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“My counsel to you is to make sure your mirror is set so that you can see the past without allowing it to distract you from the present.”
151
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“It’s Riot Gear. It’s retro. It’s beat up to look like one of the big twentieth-century riots. It’s been big since earlier this week.”
152
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“I don’t feel anything when I’m with them. I don’t even see them. I see you. I taste you. And when they ask me who Tessa is, because that’s the only name I’m saying in their ear, you wanna know what I tell them?” She sniffs loudly and her lip trembles, but she doesn’t answer. And I don’t wait for her to, either. I lean closer, brushing my nose against her cheek and up to her temple. “I tell them she’s the worst fucking thing that ever happened to me, and I can’t let her go.”
153
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“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”
154
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“Her neck scars are a road map, too, aren’t they? Places she’s been best not to remember”
155
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“We start out a million years ago in a small community on some grassy plain; we hunt animals, have children, and develop a rich social, sexual, and intellectual life, but we know almost nothing about our surroundings.”
156
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“This they tell, and whether it happened so or not I do not know; but if you think about it, you can see that it is true.”
157
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“Nostalgia is not what it used to be.”
158
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“Not back to that me, not to that six-seven year old ventriloquist’s dummy dressed in a white evening suit. Not to that charlatan born-must I have no charity for me?
159
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“You need not fear it, but you must always bear in mind that the past is never quite as finished with you as you think you are with it.”
160
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“Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries, or fears. Come back to the present moment, and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.”
161
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“Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries, or fears. Come back to the present moment, and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.”
162
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“I feel like the oldest person in the world with the longest stretch of life before me.”
163
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“She isn’t stupid. She’s intelligent enough in a purely feminine way. Eighteenth-century France would have been a marvelous setting for her, or the old South if she hadn’t made the mistake of being born a Negro.”
164
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“All of the time Juana had been trying to rescue something of the old peace, of the time before the pearl. But now it was gone, and there was no retrieving it. And knowing this, she abandoned the past instantly.”
165
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“I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.”
166
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“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces.”
167
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“Something like that happened to me, you know. I ... I’m not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another ... If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”
168
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“You don’t want to abandon the skills and experience you have gained,but to find a new way to apply them. Your eye is on the future, not the past.Often such creative readjustments lead to a superior path for us—we are shaken out of our complacency and forced to reassess where we are headed.”
169
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“No worry, lass. I’ve been hurt by much worse, and by people much less pretty.”
170
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“Always, he wonders why and how he has let four months—months increasingly distant from him—so affect him, so alter his life. But then, he might as well ask—as he often does—why he has let the first fifteen years of his life so dictate the past twenty-eight. He has been lucky beyond measure; he has an adulthood that people dream about: Why, then, does he insist on revisiting and replaying events that happened so long ago? Why can he not simply take pleasure in his present? Why must he so honor his past? Why does it become more vivid, not less, the further he moves from it?”
171
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“History is a conversation and sometimes a shouting match between present and past, though often the voices we most want to hear are barely audible.”
172
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“But as the scissors snip-snapped through her hair and the razor shaved the rest, she realized with a sudden awful panic that she could no longer recall anything from the past. I cannot remember, she whispered to herself.”
173
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“All answers lie beyond the gate of experience.”

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