10 Quotes That Capture The Human Experience

sezer66 / (Shutterstock.com)
sezer66 / (Shutterstock.com)

This semester, I’m studying abroad in the Middle East. Navigating the differences in cultural norms and the language barrier has been an adventure in itself. But what has surprised me most about my experience here are the underlying similarities I see between myself and the people here, despite our divergent histories, languages, and lifestyles. It’s hard to put into words, this singular human experience that seems to bond us all, but this is my attempt. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


“Life is short but it is wide. This too shall pass.”

—Rebecca Wells


“We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we’ve never even met?”

—David Foster Wallace


“Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises. Sometimes that beauty is too much for me to handle. Do you know that feeling? When something is just too beautiful? When someone says something or writes something or plays something that moves you to the point of tears, maybe even changes you.”

—Mark Oliver Everett


“And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head.”

—Primo Levi


“Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.”

—Frances Hodgson Burnett


“You’re terrified of being alone. Anything you do now will be motivated by fear. You have to stop worrying about finding love again. It will come when it comes. Get comfortable with being alone. It will empower you.”

—Jonathan Tropper


“I want to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race—that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and it’s words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

—Markus Zusak


“Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy.”

—Henri Frederic Amiel


“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of gray to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.”

—Libba Bray


“I was lying in bed one night and I thought
‘I’ll just quit—to hell with it.’
And another little voice inside me said,
‘don’t quit—save that tiny little ember of spark.’
And never give them that spark because as long as you have that spark,
You can start the greatest fire again.”

—Charles Bukowski

IR student spending the year abroad in Amman, Jordan & Belfast, Northern Ireland. Writer. Arabic Lover. Coffee Addict. Music Enthusiast.

Keep up with Shannon on vagabond-tales.tumblr.com

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