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Youth

  • ... it's the young who take chances, for whom Hope is a flag that never flies at half-mast.

  • Youth is stranger than fiction.

  • I wanted to know more about the young ... strange that though they laughed so loud, they so seldom smiled. Perhaps laughter was involuntary whereas smiling was part of an attitude to life.

  • Youth goes caparisoned in immortality.

  • ... youth is always sure that change must mean something better.

  • Young folks don't want you to understand 'em. You've got no more right to understand them than you have to play their games or wear their clothes. They belong to themselves.

  • I suppose it is a gift, being young, but it isn't special. We've all got it, early in life.

  • Your grandparents did not endure the indignities of a steerage journey to Ellis Island so that you could stand outside a discothèque and beg a wallpaper designer to take you in with him.

  • I have always preferred the company of older people. No one in the history of the world has had less interest in the young than I do. I am not interested in what young people are thinking. They're thinking less than old people, of course. I mean, what could they be thinking? And what are they doing? They're doing the same stupid things you did.

  • It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance its allotted length.

  • If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new.

  • The young are so much more vulnerable than the old — the stuff is still warm and malleable, it takes impressions.

  • ... youth looks at its world and age looks through it; youth must get busy on problems whose outlines stand single and strenuous before it, while age can, with luck, achieve a cosmic private harmony unsuited for action as a rule.

  • Youth, in most ways, is a grossly overadvertised commodity. It is supposed to be the best part of life; but actually it is a jungle and a swamp and a desert. Everything is too terribly important to be borne; that is why we have to appear irresponsible and downright silly. We just couldn't bear caring so much about everything, if we didn't.

  • Youth knows no remedy for grief but death.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "The Right Side of Thirty" (1930), Pavements at Anderby ()
  • It is a wise provision that youth cannot see what it owes the previous generation. This is a chicken that comes back to roost in heavier years.

  • He was beautifully sozzled last night, and had one breakfast before he came out and another with me at the Mitre. I do not envy the heart of youth, but only its head and stomach.

  • Nothing is more cruel to the young than to tell them that the world is made for youth.

  • The younger generation forms a country of its own. It has no geographical boundaries. I've talked with young Hungarians in Budapest, with young Italians in Rome, with young Frenchmen in Paris, and with young people all over. ... These young people are going to do things. They are going to change things.

  • Youth moves out, leaving no forwarding address. No matter how you try, you can't reach that person again or that place.

  • Youth makes no compromise with life. It demands all, passionately; loses all, or wins, with anguish of spirit.

  • A young Apollo, golden-haired, / Stands dreaming on the verge of strife / Magnificently unprepared / For the long littleness of life.

  • Your youth is like a water-wetted stone, / Bright with a beauty that is not its own.

  • ... it is harder to be philosophical when you are young.

  • Young people never believe in the possibility of their own deaths. That's one reason old men can send them to war.

  • Youth was serious / but not entirely fatal.

    • Rosario Castellanos,
    • "Monologue of a Foreign Woman" (1959), in Julian Palley, trans., Meditation on the Threshold ()
  • Tis a Maxim with me to be young as long as one can. There is nothing can pay one for that invaluable ignorance which is the companion of youth, those sanguine groundlesse Hopes, and that lively vanity which makes all the Happinesse of Life. To my extreme Mortification I grow wiser every day ...

  • Oh, those were the good times — I was so unhappy.

  • If youth did not matter so much to itself, it would never have the heart to go on.

  • ... youth, when it is hurt, likes to feel itself betrayed.

  • ... he loved youth — he was weak to it, it kindled him. If there was one eager eye, one doubting, critical mind, one lively curiosity in a whole lecture-room full of commonplace boys and girls, he was its servant. That ardor could command him.

  • People are always talking about the joys of youth — but, oh, how youth can suffer!

  • ... it is a shocking trick for a young person to be always lolling upon a sofa.

  • Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.

  • In youth we learn, in age we understand.

  • To be young is delightful; to be old is comfortable.

  • Of all damnable offenses preaching prudence to the young is the most damnable.

  • ... the most charming thing about youth is the tenacity of its impressions.

  • My idea of hell is to be young again.


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  • Youth is an arithmetical statement of passing interest, each hour eats it up.

  • Youth can never know the worst, she understood, because the worst that one can know is the end of expectancy.

  • ... audacity is of all qualities the most youthful.

  • But youth isn't happy. Youth is sadder than age.

  • Give the young half a chance and they will create their own future, they will even create their own heaven and earth.

  • Youth is the season of tragedy and despair. Youth is the time when one's whole life is entangled in a web of identity, in a perpetual maze of seeking and of finding, of passion and of disillusion, of vague longings and of nameless griefs, of pity that is a blade in the heart, and of 'all the little emptiness of love.'

  • Thou blessed season of our spring, / When hopes are angels on the wing ...

    • L.E. Landon,
    • "Poetical Portrait II," The Venetian Bracelet ()
  • ... youth, balancing itself upon hope, is forever in extremes: its expectations are continually aroused only to be baffled, and disappointment, like a summer shower, is violent in proportion to its brevity.

  • Youth is a season that has no repose.

  • The youth of to-day is fairly hard, Missie. Hard as to its elders; it reserves its compromises for itself.

  • Well, that was life. It was an old tree, and the old passed on. Probably they did not mind. There came a time when all sap ran slowly, and the peace of age with all things behind it merged easily into the peace of death. The difficult thing was to be young.

  • I shall be thirty-one next birthday. My youth is gone like a dream; and very little use have I ever made of it. What have I done these last thirty years? Precious little.

    • Charlotte Brontë,
    • 1847, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 ()
  • In her voice was the despair that only youth can feel and only once in a lifetime — the first time!

  • Tomorrow will come and today will pass, / But the hearts of the young are brittle as glass.

    • Phyllis McGinley,
    • "Homework for Annabelle," The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley ()
  • All your youth you want to have your greatness taken for granted; when you find it taken for granted, you are unnerved.

  • ... very young people are true but not resounding instruments.

  • Youth has a quickness of apprehension, which it is very apt to mistake for an acuteness of penetration.

    • Hannah More,
    • "On the Danger of Sentimental or Romantic Connexions," Essays on Various Subjects ()
  • ... to be young / Was always to live in other peoples' houses / Whose peace, if we sought it, had been made by others, / Was ours at second-hand and not for long.

  • I remember being so young I thought all artists were famous.

  • The young never take anything seriously if it sounds simple.

  • When we are young the idea of death or failure is intolerable to us; even the possibility of ridicule we cannot bear. But we have also an unconquerable faith in our own stars, and in the impossibility of anything venturing to go against us. As we grow old we slowly come to believe that everything will turn out badly for us, and that failure is in the nature of things, but then we do not much mind what happens to us one way or the other. In this way a balance is obtained.

    • Isak Dinesen,
    • "The Deluge at Norderney," Seven Gothic Tales ()
  • I felt so young, so strong, so sure of God!

  • Being young is greatly overestimated ... Any failure seems so total. Later on you realize you can have another go.

  • When I was young, I saw middle age as a vast dull expanse, something like a big gray parking lot baking in the sun, filled with empty cars, deserted of life, but serving a useful purpose. I certainly didn't intend to end up parked there.

  • Youth is a mortal wound.

  • Being young is not having any money; being young is not minding not having any money.

  • Youth is not time of life — it is a state of mind.

  • Young people think they never can change, but they do in the most wonderful manner, and very few die of broken hearts.

  • A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing in nothing.

  • A fondness for martyrdom, especially of the verbal variety, is common to the young.

  • Youth is no less vulnerable, by the very quality it has of making the heart ache that beholds and has lost it.

  • Nothing, perhaps, in all this mysterious world is so inscrutable a mystery as the mind of early youth. It crawls, the beetle creature, in a hard shell, hiding the dim, inner struggle of its growing wings, moving numbly as if in a torpid dream. It has forgotten the lively grub stage of childhood, and it cannot foresee the dragon-fly adventure just ahead. This blind, dumb, numb, imprisoned thing, an irritation to the nerves of every one who has to deal with it, suffers. First it suffers darkly and dimly the pain growth, and then it suffers the sharp agony of a splitting shell, the dazzling wounds of light, the torture of first moving its feeble wings. It drags itself from its shell, it clings to its perch, it finds itself born anew into the world.

  • Youth gives a sense of new days dawning bright, going on for ever, and a kind of tamped-down excitement which keeps breaking through even the worst days of poverty, depression and loneliness. But then youth is something which only exists in retrospect; you are barely conscious of it while you have it.

  • Youth! youth! how buoyant are thy hopes! they turn, / Like marigolds, toward the sunny side.

    • Jean Ingelow,
    • "The Four Bridges," The Poetical Works of Jean Ingelow ()
  • ... youth is so insatiable of happiness, and has such sublimely insane faith in its own power to make happy and be happy!

    • Jane Welsh Carlyle,
    • letter (1859), in James Anthony Froude, ed., Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, vol. 2 ()
  • Heroics are not easily had for the young in our times. Perhaps that is why they go to such extremes to create their own dangers.

  • He was in that young morbid state when the mind hangs its own cloud over the universe.

  • ... Youth asks no greater privilege than to fight its own battles. It is mistaken kindness to shield — it weakens one in the years to come.

  • The youthful heart is ready to believe what it wishes will happen.

  • Youth often gets the friendships it deserves.

  • Time misspent in youth is sometimes all the freedom one ever has.

  • Youth is harmed by having wisdom thrust upon it. Youth must gather wisdom slowly, in laughter and tears.

  • Only the young die good.

    • Ethel Watts Mumford,
    • in Oliver Herford, Ethel Watts Mumford, and Addison Mizner, The Complete Cynic ()
  • Why, I wonder, do people who at one time or another have all been young themselves, and who ought therefore to know better, generalize so suavely and so mendaciously about the golden hours of youth — that period of life when every sorrow seems permanent, and every set-back insuperable?

  • Young people want to look like peas in a pod, and there is no use trying to make them different.

  • All the humiliating, tragicomic, heartbreaking things happened to me in my girlhood, and nothing makes me happier than to realize I cannot possibly relive my youth.

  • Nineteen may be optimistic — but it suffers so!

  • In youth our most bitter disappointments, our brightest hopes and ambitions, are known only to ourselves. Even our friendship and love we never fully share with another; there is something of every passion, in every situation, we conceal.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • I've never understood why people consider youth a time of freedom and joy. It's probably because they have forgotten their own.

  • Easy for them to keep their youth who will never learn a lesson ...

  • When you're young you think you can never stop being young.

  • It is easy to be young. (Everybody is, / at first.) It is not easy / to be old. It takes time. / Youth is given; age is achieved.

  • Youth is always a little offended to find itself not preferred: it cannot help feeling that when it admits the old to its society, it confers a benefit.

  • Youth deals only in extremes ...

  • A wound in a young heart is like a wound in a young tree. It does not grow out. It grows in.

  • It is terrible to be twenty, Lady Slane. It is as bad as being faced with riding over the Grand National course. One knows one will almost certainly fall into the Brook of Competition, and break one's leg over the Hedge of Disappointment, and stumble over the Wire of Intrigue, and certainly come to grief over the Obstacle of Love.

  • To young people the future is still long.

  • My youth is escaping without giving me anything it owes me.

  • Who would ever think that so much can go on in the soul of a young girl?

  • This is a youth-oriented society, and the joke is on them because youth is a disease from which we all recover.

  • I was trying to make them face their fears. Youth spends so much energy trying to forget them. There's the fear of failure in examinations, fear of sex, fear of not getting a job, fear of unpopularity, fear of appearing naïve. Youth discovers many bunkholes in which to hide when frightened. They are mostly unhealthy, none of them bombproof.

  • The search of the Holy Grail or the voyage towards a new continent never enlisted so much energy and so much faith as does this pursuit of youth by old age. It is a race not of the fleet but of the most credulous.

  • What is youth anyway? Nothing but a tight skin.

  • Young folks is like moth millers, you can't keep 'em from the bright lights.

  • ... we are so scornful when we are young!

  • When I was young and loved life's laughter / I climbed tall hills and touched the sun; / I did not know till long years after / That ecstasy and pain are one.

  • Let us try, if we can, to enter into death with open eyes ...

  • ... when one is young, enthusiasm and optimism rule one's conduct. Nothing is a trouble, and one goes ahead as ruthlessly as a hot iron over creased garments.

  • Age and youth have the same appetites but not the same teeth.

    • Magdalena Samozwaniec,
    • in Jacek Galazka and ‎Barbara Świdzińska, eds., A Treasury of Polish Aphorisms ()
  • we can be anything we want / for we are the young ones / walken without footprints ...

  • Youth is something very new: twenty years ago no one mentioned it.

    • Coco Chanel,
    • in Marcel Haedrich, Coco Chanel: Her Life, Her Secrets ()
  • Youth lives in an atmosphere of energy waiting to make contact.

  • I have a theory that I did most of my observing probably before I was twenty, stored it, and am still drawing on it.

  • ... things troubles young uns worse'n they does us older folks.

  • ... the springtime of life isn't a chain; it's a pair of wings.

    • Sok-kyong Kang,
    • "A Room in the Woods," in Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton, trans., Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers ()
  • The wings of youth are easily injured — indeed they are.

    • Sok-kyong Kang,
    • "A Room in the Woods," in Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton, trans., Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers ()
  • This generation does not think. While the level of intelligence is high, it is atrophied with inactivity. These young men and women do not think for themselves. They take what they like of what they hear, and reject by instinct rather than by reason.

  • ... the secret of youth is arrested development.

  • The young see what they wish to see. The old see what they do not wish.

  • What does youth know of the magnificent emotions and possibilities of middle age?

  • Youth is slipping, dripping, pearl on pearl, away.

  • Youth, ah, Youth! all men's desire and sorrow.

  • Love, with very young people, is a heartless business. We drink at that age from thirst, or to get drunk; it is only later in life that we occupy ourselves with the individuality of our wine.

    • Isak Dinesen,
    • "The Old Chevalier," Seven Gothic Tales ()
  • To callow wings no flight is too high to attempt. At sixteen all things are possible.

  • What is the special privilege of youth? It is, I think, the power of looking forward, the firm belief that the future holds something that is worth possessing, and that, therefore, one can let the present moment drop from one without regret and without fear.

    • Edith Sitwell,
    • "Why Worry About Your Age?" (1932), in Elizabeth Salter and Allanah Harper, eds., Edith Sitwell: Fire of the Mind ()
  • Youth is not an essential, but rather an accidental property. Nobody is in essence young. One either ceases to be or ceases to be young.

  • ... youth has everything — everything but experience and tolerance.

  • If arrogance is the heady wine of youth, then humility must be its eternal hangover.

  • Fear is for the old. Lack of it is one of the joys of youth.

  • There is no hopelessness so sad as that of early youth, when the soul is made up of wants ...

    • Rebekah Kohut,
    • 1896, in Ellen M. Umansky and Dianne Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality ()
  • Youth is, after all, just a moment, but it is the moment, the spark that you always carry in your heart.

  • ... by the mercy of God all the ideas of youth are reversible!

  • Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending.

    • Anne Bradstreet,
    • "Meditations Divine and Moral" (1664), in John Harvard Ellis, ed., The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse ()
  • That's what being young is all about. You have the courage and the daring to think that you can make a difference. You're not prone to measure your energies in time. You're not likely to live by equations.

    • Ruby Dee,
    • in Brian Lanker, I Dream a World ()
  • The hatred of the youth culture for adult society is not a disinterested judgment but a terror-ridden refusal to be hooked into the, if you will, ecological chain of birthing, growing, and dying. It is the demand, in other words, to remain children.

  • ... you may only be young once, but you can be immature forever.

  • You're like a cake when you're young. You can't rush it or it will fall, or just turn out wrong. Rising takes patience, and heat.

  • But who would hold up his head, if people judged us by what we were like at twenty?

  • Youth is a marvelous garment.

  • Kids trying to claw their way to a better life meet with rejection and despair at every corner. Eventually, some of them find it easier to stop fighting, simply surrender to what's all around them. Why fight the system? Gangs have power, money, respect, all the things missing from a desperate kid's life. Unfortunately, gang members also have the life expectancy of a radio battery.