A great quote in 20 words or less. GO!
June 10, 2014 2:01 AM   Subscribe

When I sleep aboard a boat I often slip a 6" piece of cardboard into the vent over my head to stop the chilly airflow while I sleep. I want to write on it with marker a nice quote I'll look up at every time I'm in bed. I'd like for it to be a nice reminder to see every night before I close my eyes.

It should be short and inspirational. Possible subject matter: personal growth, meaning in life, finding one's passion, simple pleasures, rewards of travel, not worrying about money or what's around the bend, not sweating the small stuff...and so on.

Nothing boating or ocean related, please.
I sleep next to my mate.
I'm not religious.
posted by AnOrigamiLife to Writing & Language (26 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."
—Presidential candidate George W. Bush, LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000
posted by hal_c_on at 2:23 AM on June 10, 2014 [8 favorites]

The lovely and wonderful Marian Call's Good Morning Moon seems like a nice song to wake up to on a boat, especially if you're traveling, but it's not a boat song (it's about waking up in space). "Good day to be a speck like me, fast and free is how we fly" is a particular favorite of mine.

Do you have any particular interests or hobbies or fascinations or strange loves that you might want things related to? Inspirational quotes is a biiiiiig field, even if you restrict the length. I tend to write a lot of lines on my skin in places people can't see to remind myself of them, usually from songs, but they're all stuff that connects to a context to me, and that's what makes them work, I think. But here are some shots in the dark, I suppose.

I'm a fan of Dessa, and Fighting Fish has a couple of great lines-- "I don't wanna walk, rather swing and miss", "If you don't aim for the center it's a waste of the art" and "I swallow the dice, I make my own luck now" are ones I particularly like, but I tend to like a bit of aggression in my inspiration.

I'm big on Joey Comeau's “Having all the answers just means you've been asking boring questions” and "We're all going to die, I intend to deserve it".
posted by NoraReed at 2:32 AM on June 10, 2014

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
- Martin Luther King

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
- Ghandi
posted by bernardbeta at 2:34 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My personal motto these days comes from Janelle Monae's Q.U.E.E.N.

"Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am."
posted by HermitDog at 2:35 AM on June 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

Not intentionally ocean related - just a good quote.
posted by bernardbeta at 2:35 AM on June 10, 2014

Another Ghandi: I will not let you walk through my mind with your dirty feet.
posted by rpfields at 3:09 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Soon you will have forgotten the world, and soon the world will have forgotten you."

"Very little is needed to make a happy life."

--Marcus Aurelius
posted by Chrischris at 3:11 AM on June 10, 2014

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Mark Twain

or, considering where the card is, perhaps:

"A nurse is to maintain the air within the room as fresh as the air without, without lowering the temperature." Florence Nightingale
posted by rongorongo at 3:34 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Don't stop when the hell comes"
posted by alchemist at 4:12 AM on June 10, 2014

“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

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
- Bob Dylan
posted by billiebee at 4:18 AM on June 10, 2014

“Integrity is not a conditional word.” -Travis McGee (John d MacDonald)
posted by chasles at 4:22 AM on June 10, 2014

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."-- John A. Shedd
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:19 AM on June 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

24 words, but I love them:

"Little ideas that tickle and nag and refuse to go away should never be ignored … for in them lie the seeds of destiny."

(from Babe)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:26 AM on June 10, 2014

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

- Gandhi.
posted by AbePlaysGuitar at 5:43 AM on June 10, 2014

'For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow'


'You see it's all a show, keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you'


'I mean - what have you got to lose?
You know, you came from nothing - you're going back to nothing
What have you lost?'

- Eric Idle
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:56 AM on June 10, 2014

Flag it and move on. - Metafilter

Nothing exists in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. - Dana Scully
posted by cocoagirl at 6:48 AM on June 10, 2014

A little long, but:

A vision without a task is but a dream.
A task without a vision is drudgery.
A vision and a task is the hope of the world.
posted by brentajones at 8:07 AM on June 10, 2014

For I am Brahman within this body, life immortal that shall not perish: I am the Truth and the Joy for ever. -- Bhagavad Gita 14:27

If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
-- Lao Tzu

You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust, what do you have to be scared of?
posted by zengargoyle at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

The recent Maya Angelou eulogy thread seems appropriate:

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. (19 words)

Good done anywhere is good done everywhere.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (25 words)

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. (21 words)

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. (26 words)

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:47 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you have the same word-aesthetic I do, but Welcome to Night Vale has some really, really great quotes.

"Above us, only stars. Below us, only stars. To all sides, only stars. Inside us, only stars. "

- Welcome to Night Vale

"All the beauty in the world was made within the oppressive limitations of time, and death, and impermanence."

-Welcome To Night Vale Episode 42 (Numbers)

"A name is a lie that keeps us from thinking you might be more that one single being"
WTNV Twitter

"Words belong to our enemies"
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:23 AM on June 10, 2014

"Awake, my dear. Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the vast fields of Light, And let it breathe." Hafez

"She did not need much, wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cozy bed, and to love and be loved in return." Starra Neely Blade

"Come what might, she would be wild, untrammeled, free." James Joyce, Ulysses

"The seed is in the ground / Now may we rest in hope / While darkness does its work." Wendell Berry

"Bring me warm rain and dried lavender and you. I want you most of all." Emery Allen

"Embrace the current season of your life." Gabrielle Muir
posted by barchan at 10:46 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

"I have loved the stars too fondly / to be fearful of the night." Sarah Williams
posted by rjs at 11:09 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

From ee cummings

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go

Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.

I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness (22 words)

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:02 PM on June 10, 2014

From Tom Stoppard:
Happiness is equilibrium, so shift your weight.
posted by mmiddle at 1:12 PM on June 10, 2014

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde
posted by jabes at 2:09 PM on June 10, 2014

"I've got nothing to do today but smile" - Simon Garfunkel

"Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted" - John Lennon

"We shouldn't be seeking harrowing challenges but rather tasks we find natural and interesting. Tasks we were apparently born to perform" - Kurt Vonnegut
posted by neurotic narwhal at 11:15 PM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

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