Books are time machines. They can show us the past, they can paint potential futures. A book from our childhood can take us back into our own histories, but they can also help lead us into our own futures, both by showing us what they could look like, and by giving us the strength and vision to get there. Here are some of YA’s loveliest, saddest, truest quotes about the future.
“If you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.”
“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”
“People make mistakes all the time. Small ones, like you get in the wrong checkout line. The one with the lady with a hundred coupons and a checkbook.
Sometimes you make medium-sized ones. You go to medical school instead of pursuing your passion.
Sometimes you make big ones.
You give up.”
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know.”
“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: We all want everything to be okay. We don’t even wish so much for fantastic or marvelous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough.”
“There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world.”
“I walked over to the hill where we used to go and sled. There were a lot of little kids there. I watched them flying. Doing jumps and having races. And I thought that all those little kids are going to grow up someday. And all of those little kids are going to do the things that we do. And they will all kiss someone someday. But for now, sledding is enough. I think it would be great if sledding were always enough, but it isn’t.”
“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”