Thirty Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 394 quotes )
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.
Thirty- eight years old and he was finished. He sipped at the coffee and remembered where he had gone wrong -- or right. He'd simply gotten tired -- of the insurance game, of the small offices and high glass partitions, the clients; he'd simply gotten tired of cheating on his wife, of squeezing secretaries in the elevator and in the halls; he'd gotten tired of Christmas parties and New Year's parties and birthdays, and payments on new cars and furniture payments -- light, gas, water -- the whole bleeding complex of necessities. He'd gotten tired and quit, that's all. The divorce came soon enough and the drinking came soon enough, and suddenly he was out of it. He had nothing, and he found out that having nothing was difficult too. It was another type of burden. If only there were some gentler road in between. It seemed a man only had two choices -- get in on the hustle or be a bum.
Thirty years will pass before I remember that moment when suddenly I knew each man has one brother who dies when he sleeps and sleeps when he rises to face this life, and that together they are only one man sharing a heart that always labours, hands yellowed and cracked, a mouth that gasps for breath and asks, Am I gonna make it?
I was in the fifth grade the first time I thought about turning thirty. My best friend Darcy and I came across a perpetual calendar in the back of the phone book, where you could look up any date in the future, and by using this little grid, determine what the day of the week would be. So we located our birthdays in the following year, mine in May and hers in September. I got Wednesday, a school night. She got a Friday. A small victory, but typical. Darcy was always the lucky one. Her skin tanned more quickly, her hair feathered more easily, and she didn't need braces. Her moonwalk was superior, as were her cart-wheels and her front handsprings (I couldn't handspring at all). She had a better sticker collection. More Michael Jackson pins. Forenze sweaters in turquoise, red, and peach (my mother allowed me none- said they were too trendy and expensive). And a pair of fifty-dollar Guess jeans with zippers at the ankles (ditto). Darcy had double-pierced ears and a sibling- even if it was just a brother, it was better than being an only child as I was.But at least I was a few months older and she would never quite catch up. That's when I decided to check out my thirtieth birthday- in a year so far away that it sounded like science fiction. It fell on a Sunday, which meant that my dashing husband and I would secure a responsible baby-sitter for our two (possibly three) children on that Saturday evening, dine at a fancy French restaurant with cloth napkins, and stay out past midnight, so technically we would be celebrating on my actual birthday. I would have just won a big case- somehow proven that an innocent man didn't do it. And my husband would toast me: "To Rachel, my beautiful wife, the mother of my chidren and the finest lawyer in Indy." I shared my fantasy with Darcy as we discovered that her thirtieth birthday fell on a Monday. Bummer for her. I watched her purse her lips as she processed this information."You know, Rachel, who cares what day of the week we turn thirty?" she said, shrugging a smooth, olive shoulder. "We'll be old by then. Birthdays don't matter when you get that old."I thought of my parents, who were in their thirties, and their lackluster approach to their own birthdays. My dad had just given my mom a toaster for her birthday because ours broke the week before. The new one toasted four slices at a time instead of just two. It wasn't much of a gift. But my mom had seemed pleased enough with her new appliance; nowhere did I detect the disappointment that I felt when my Christmas stash didn't quite meet expectations. So Darcy was probably right. Fun stuff like birthdays wouldn't matter as much by the time we reached thirty.The next time I really thought about being thirty was our senior year in high school, when Darcy and I started watching ths show Thirty Something together. It wasn't our favorite- we preferred cheerful sit-coms like Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains- but we watched it anyway. My big problem with Thirty Something was the whiny characters and their depressing issues that they seemed to bring upon themselves. I remember thinking that they should grow up, suck it up. Stop pondering the meaning of life and start making grocery lists. That was back when I thought my teenage years were dragging and my twenties would surealy last forever.Then I reached my twenties. And the early twenties did seem to last forever. When I heard acquaintances a few years older lament the end of their youth, I felt smug, not yet in the danger zone myself. I had plenty of time..
Do you know I've been sitting here thinking to myself: that if I didn't believe in life, if I lost faith in the woman I love, lost faith in the order of things, were convinced in fact that everything is a disorderly, damnable, and perhaps devil-ridden chaos, if I were struck by every horror of man's disillusionment -- still I should want to live. Having once tasted of the cup, I would not turn away from it till I had drained it! At thirty though, I shall be sure to leave the cup even if I've not emptied it, and turn away -- where I don't know. But till I am thirty I know that my youth will triumph over everything -- every disillusionment, every disgust with life. I've asked myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that could overcome this frantic thirst for life. And I've come to the conclusion that there isn't, that is until I am thirty.
There is a law in the Archipelago that those who have been treated the most harshly and who have withstood the most bravely, who are the most honest, the most courageous, the most unbending, never again come out into the world. They are never again shown to the world because they will tell tales that the human mind can barely accept. Some of your returned POW's told you that they were tortured. This means that those who have remained were tortured ever more, but did not yield an inch. These are your best people. These are your foremost heroes, who, in a solitary combat, have stood the test. And today, unfortunately, they cannot take courage from our applause. They can't hear it from their solitary cells where they may either die or remain for thirty years like Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who was seized in 1945 in the Soviet Union. He has been imprisoned for thirty years and they will not give him up.
Slowly, Woyzeck, take it slowly. One thing after another one. You make me feel giddy. - What am I supposed to do with the ten minutes you save rushing that way? What use are they to me? Think about it, Woyzeck; you've got a good thirty years left. Thirty years. That makes three hundred and sizty months - and then there's days, hours, minutes! What're you going to do with such a monstrous amount of time? Eh? Space it out a bit, Woyzeck.
A philosopher has remarked that if a man knew that he had thirty years of life before him, it would not be an unwise thing to spend twenty of those in mapping out a plan of living and putting himself under rule; for he would do more with the ten well-arranged years than with the whole thirty if he spent them at random. There is much truth in that saying. A man will do little by firing off his gun if he has notlearned to take aim.
It is in the twenties that the actual momentum of life begins to slacken, and it is a simple soul indeed to whom as many things are as significant and meaningful at thirty as at ten years before. At thirty an organ-grinder is a more or less a moth eaten man who grinds an organ - and once he was an organ-grinder! The unmistakable stigma of humanity touches all those impersonal and beautiful things that only youth ever grasps in their impersonal glory.
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal; 2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it; 3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
I know, it looks pure and beautiful to you now, at your great old age of twenty-two. But do you know what it means? Thirty years of a lost cause, that sounds beautiful, doesn't it? But do you know how many days there are in thirty years? Do you know what happens in those days?... I want you to know what's in store for you. There will be days when you'll look at your hands and you'll want to take something and smash every bone in them, because they'll be taunting you with what they could do, if you found a chance for them to do it, and you can't find that chance, and you can't bear your living body because it has failed those hands somewhere.