52 Quotes of Elizabeth Gilbert

” I think it’s wonderful when a love story begins with a great deal of romance and affection, passion and excitement, that’s how it should be. But I don’t necessarily know that it’s the wisest thing in the world to expect that it ends there, or that it should, 30 years down the road, still look as it did on the night of your first kiss. “
” There were times, especially when I was traveling for ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ when, I swear to God, I would feel this weight of my female ancestors, all those Swedish farmwives from beyond the grave who were like, ‘Go! Go to Naples! Eat more pizza! Go to India, ride an elephant! Do it! Swim in the Indian Ocean. Read those books. Learn a language.’ “
” If life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade – make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand. “
” Absolute certainty is not something I strive for anymore. I’ve learned the hard way that destiny usually looks upon our most strident convictions with amusement, or perhaps even pity. “
” When I diagnose my depression now, I think it was partially about saying goodbye to these kids that I always expected to have but already knew that I wouldn’t. “
” Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless. “
” I love my friends and family, but I also love it when they can’t find me and I can spend all day reading or walking all alone, in silence, eight thousand miles away from everyone. All alone and unreachable in a foreign country is one my most favorite possible things to be. “
” Unfenced by law, the unmarried lover can quit a bad relationship at any time. But you – the legally married person who wants to escape doomed love – may soon discover that a significant portion of your marriage contract belongs to the State, and that it sometimes takes a very long while for the State to grant you your leave. “
” I don’t think you can come into your wisdom until you have made mistakes on your own skin and felt them in reality of your own life. “
” Here’s the thing: the unit of reverence in Europe is the family, which is why a child born today of unmarried parents in Sweden has a better chance of growing up in a house with both of his parents than a child born to a married couple in America. Here we revere the couple, there they revere the family. “
” Oh, I just want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions and a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever. “
” I am far more of a loner than people would imagine. But I am the most gregarious and socially interactive loner you ever met. The thing is, I am fascinated by people’s stories and I’m very talkative and can’t ever say no to anything or anyone, so I tend to over-socialize, to give away too much of my time to the many people I adore. “
” I have these new policies toward my life, like ‘I will not accelerate when I see the yellow light.’ “
” If I am to truly become an autonomous woman, then I must take over that role of being my own guardian. “
” Now, if you are like me – if you are like practically anybody in America – then you probably hold some negative opinions about the French, based upon movies, rumors, recent headlines, unfortunate run-ins with Parisian waiters, or… you know… all that unpleasantness surrounding the Vichy regime. “
” Most important, though, I had to wait until I found the perfect traveling/eating/drinking/napping companion. And I did finally find him, two years ago – my Brazilian-born, French-speaking, wine-worshipping, tripe-consuming, uncomplaining traveler of a sweetheart. “
” If you are given only one opportunity to speak, be certain your voice is heard. “
” You know, I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun. “
” I have no business being a journalist. I’m the least, I’m the least – I’m the most trusting, I absolutely make a habit of believing anything that anybody tells me about themselves. I’ve never had any reason in the world to think that anyone has wanted to harm me, or lie to me. I believe whatever is being sold, most of the time. “
” I think sometimes we look at other people’s marriages and we think they must always be so happy together. I don’t know anybody who’s married for a long time who hasn’t somehow made room in their love story for the hate and resentment that they sometimes feel toward each other. “
” I’ve always been afraid of saying no to people because I don’t want them to be disappointed and dislike me. “
” That is who Barack Obama is – a person of admirable character – and that is who he has remained for me over these last four years. I have not agreed with his every decision, but never once have I seen him break his cool, lose his composure, or abandon his insightful perspective – even during the most serious and/or absurd national disasters. “
” I think that people who live in cultures without quite so much privilege, opportunity or grandiosity have a little bit more respect for the workings of destiny, and the limitations that people can find themselves in through no fault of their own. “
” But, ancient Greece and ancient Rome – people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then, OK? People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. “
” I know I’m not a self-indulgent idiot; I also know I’m not the second coming of Deepak Chopra. If I had believed either of those, or both, as some people do when they get famous, that’s when the mental illness arrives. “
” When I look at my life and the lives of my female friends these days – with our dizzying number of opportunities and talents – I sometimes feel as though we are all mice in a giant experimental maze, scurrying around frantically, trying to find our way through. “
” Sanity and clarity are more important for me and I’m willing to give up a lot of shimmer for it. I’m willing to have more boring friends, who are sane. “
” Part of the elasticity that you need, in order to continue to try to create, is the foregone conclusion that not all of it is going to be fabulously successful. But it’s all going to be part of a long lifetime body of experimentation. “
” My husband is not American. He was born in Brazil, where he grew up under a filthy, corrupt dictatorship. In his twenties, he moved to Europe, where he lived for a while under various socialist democracies. He spent a few years on a kibbutz in Israel, living out a utopian experiment in communal existence. “
” I have a rigid self-accountability. You have to work hard. “
” I used to say, ‘Man, I think I’d be a really good dad. I’ll be a great provider. I’m funny; I’ll go on trips with them – I’ll do all sorts of stuff.’ But the momming? I’m not made for that. I have a really good mom; I know what she put into it. “
” My whole life I’ve been an over-giver. My general operating policy has always been, ‘If it belongs to me, don’t worry: You can have it!’ “
” Marriage is not simply a romantic union between two people; it’s also a political and economic contract of the highest order. “
” I consider a good dinner party at our house to be where people drink and eat more than they’re meant to. My husband is a really fantastic cook. His mother is Italian and if you walk into our house, we assume you’re starving. “
” Mine is just a simple old human story – of one person trying, with great rigor and discipline, to comprehend her personal relationship with divinity. “
” Childlessness doesn’t make people selfish; selfishness makes people selfish. “
” Which is – you know, like check it out, I’m pretty young, I’m only about 40 years old. I still have maybe another four decades of work left in me. And it’s exceedingly likely that anything I write from this point forward is going to be judged by the world as the work that came after the freakish success of my last book, right? “
” But when it comes to writing the thing that I’ve sort of been thinking about lately, is why? You know, is it rational? Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do. “
” I should just put it bluntly, because we’re all sort of friends here now – it’s exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me. Oh, so Jesus, what a thought! You know that’s the kind of thought that could lead a person to start drinking gin at nine o’clock in the morning, and I don’t want to go there. “
” You know, even I have had work or ideas come through me from a source that I honestly cannot identify. And what is that thing? And how are we to relate to it in a way that will not make us lose our minds, but, in fact, might actually keep us sane? “
” When somebody has an enormous success in this culture, people start asking two questions, which are ‘What are you doing now?’ and ‘How are you going to beat that?’ And I have to say, I love the assumption that your intention is to beat yourself constantly – that you’re in battle against yourself. “
” Sureness is something like a neck brace, which we clamp around our lives, hoping to somehow protect ourselves from the frightening, constant whiplash of change. Sadly, the brace doesn’t always hold. “
” These days I settle for feeling only 85 percent sure about most things, most of the time. I believe this is keeping me sane, and I also believe that it’s keeping me human. In fact, I’m 85 percent sure of it. “
” Despite having written five books, I worry that I have not written the right kinds of books, or that perhaps I have dedicated too much of my life to writing, and have therefore neglected other aspects of my being. “
” I’ve always considered myself lucky that I do not have many passions. There’s only one pursuit that I have ever truly loved, and that pursuit is writing. This means, conveniently enough, that I never had to search for my destiny; I only had to obey it. “
” Listen – of course money changes everything, but so does sunlight, and so does food: These are powerful but neutral energy sources, neither inherently good nor evil but shaped only by the way we use them. “
” When I lost my friends, it was because I had used the power of giving on them recklessly. I swept into their lives with my big fat checkbook, and I erased years of obstacles for them overnight – but sometimes, in the process, I also accidentally erased years of dignity. “
” If I could read while I was driving, showering, socializing or sleeping, I would do it. “
” Nothing in the last few years has dazzled me more than Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall,’ which blew the top of my head straight off. I’ve read it three times, and I’m still trying to figure out how she put that magnificent thing together. “
” Every few years, I think, ‘Maybe now I’m finally smart enough or sophisticated enough to understand ‘Ulysses.’ So I pick it up and try it again. And by page 10, as always, I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ “
” I push every day against forces that say you have to go faster, be more effective, be more productive, you have to constantly outdo yourself, you have to constantly outdo your neighbor – all of the stuff that creates an incredibly productive society, but also a very neurotic one. “
” My writing practice taught me the important thing is steadfastness. It’s not necessarily discipline. Discipline can become a prison. When your spiritual practices become another thing for you to be anxious about, they’ve lost their usefulness. “