Chapter 2: A Parkinson’s Reading Companion on Life

“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know, life’s a dance, you learn as you go.” John Michael Montgomery

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Omar Khayyam

Précis: “Thought-filled Responses” is a part of my undergraduate course, “Biology of Blood Diseases”; the 62 students were asked to submit a quote on five of the following: hope, courage, journey, persistence, positivity, strength, adversity, mindfulness, and life (for further details click here). This blog post is Chapter 2 including all of the quotes about ‘life’ submitted by the class (click here to read Chapter 1: A Parkinson’s Reading Companion on Hope).

Life in the presence of Parkinson’s: Life with Parkinson’s is somewhat like walking into a strong head wind while you are maintaining both your equilibrium and pace as you progress. But then abruptly the wind changes direction, and your balance is now challenged from a very different angle; the aggregate wind effect alters your walking cadence and partly diminishes your confidence. Living with Parkinson’s is a nuisance although your daily activities can definitely be performed, and work/career is still very much a viable option. However, always in the background is a premonition that your Parkinson’s is progressing  (which may or may not be true). Nevertheless, your life can still be full and fulfilling, very happy and loving; with constant effort combined with hope and positivity, you can have a complete life in the presence of Parkinson’s. May these quotes about life be a reminder that you are still you even with this unrelenting disorder.

Life:  I am pleased to present Chapter 2 about life with my co-authors: Angle, Hannah; Arthur, Kallie; Artov, Michael; Bagley, Kendall; Batista, Kayla; Blaylock, Allison; Byrd, Emory; Cabell, Grant; Catalano, Michael; Clark, Kendall; Cossaart, Kristen; Culpepper, Houston; Das, Snigdha; Davis, Eric; Defazio, Stephanie; Doudnikoff, Alex; Dua, Shawn; Evans, Jessica; Evick, Andrew; Farooque, Tazeen; Ford, Kelsey; German, Zachary; Gouveia, Katie; Hall, Nikita; Isler, Victoria; Kirkley, Joel; Koutleva, Elitza; Laudun, Katie; Le, Kevin; Little, Sarah; Mackey, Josselyn; Macon, Briana; Maddox, Kaity; Marquino, Grace; Mattox, Daniel; Mcknight, Kyle; Mcmanus, Brenna; Mcshane, Sarah; Monkiewicz, Caroline; Nguyen, Michelle; Nguyen, Teresa; Olinger, Emily; Patel, Darshan; Patel, Dilesh; Patel, Jenny; Perez, Abby; Peters, Daniel; Quirin, Julia; Rawlins, Shelby; Raynor, Nathan; Renn, Matt; Scott, Alicia; Sherry, Alex; Shin, Christine; Stanton, Kate; Story, Charlotte; Swango, Summer; Szyperski, Caroline; Windley, Taylor; Wooley, Caleb; Xu, Alice; Yang, Michelle.

“In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go.”
Jack Kornfield

“As long as the heart beats, as long as body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life” Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth 

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy” Dalai Lama

 “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi

 ”To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived- that is to have succeeded. ”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

”Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” Coach Jimmy V

 “We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we’re too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams.” Herb Brooks

“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us” Charles Bukowski

 “All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.” Le Petit Prince

“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” Edwin Way Teale

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.” Rabindranath Tagore

“Life before Death. Strength before Weakness. Journey before Destination.” Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.” William Wallace, Braveheart

 “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” Mark Twain

 “There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” Nelson Mandela

 “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes

“When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!” Finding Nemo

“It’s not the length of life, but the depth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese Proverb

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” Louis Sachar

“You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed, or unworthy. You were created to be victorious.” Joel Osteen

“Never forget, nor dwell on the past.” Kaity Maddox

“I think it’s better to not know certain things. It gives the world an extra bit of mystery, which is important to us as human beings.” B.J. Novak

 “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkegaard

“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” George Santayana

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.” Lin Yutang

“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.” Mahatma Gandhi

“If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”Gerard Way

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Albert Einstein

 “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the beat of a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears however measured or far off.” Henry David Thoreau

 “My only regret is blowing the best day of my life while I’m so young” Calvin and Hobbes

 “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” -William G.T. Shedd

 “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

 “Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.”

“Life is beautiful. People are complicated. Conversations can be difficult. Relationships are messy. Suffering is a reality. All this is true. But the more important truth is that we always have a choice. We choose how to act, how to speak, how to react, and what meaning to imbue on it all. It’s that very agency that gives us the power to change things, whether it be a conversation, relationship, or the world.” Jamie Shea

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller

Dante The Inferno Canto XXVI, lines 118-120.
“Considerate la vostra semenza:
fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.”
[Consider your origin;

you were not born to live like brutes,
but to follow virtue and knowledge.]

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

Man is his own star, and the soul that can
Render an honest, and a perfect man
Commands all light, all influence, all fate,
Nothing to him falls early or too late.
Our acts our Angels are, or good, or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.”
John Fletcher An Honest Man’s Fortune

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking
into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.” 
Mary Oliver

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”  Lou Holtz

“I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.” Ty Webb, Caddyshack

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Life is not a spectator sport. Win, lose or draw, the game is in progress, whether we want it to be, or not. So, go ahead, argue with the refs, change the rules… cheat a little, take a break… and tend to your wounds. But play. Play. Play hard. Play fast. Play loose and free. Play as if there is no tomorrow.” Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy.

“Those who follow the rules rarely make history.” Jaya

“Carpe diem.” taken from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace’s work Odes (23 BC)

“The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.” Chuck Palahniuk

”To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” Oscar Wilde

”If it doesn’t nourish your soul, get rid of it.” Anonymous

”Live less out of habit and more out of intent.” Anonymous

“In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life maybe empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves.”  Atul Gawande

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