Musings on Some Inspirational Quotes about the Past, Present, and Future (Part I)

by Mira

Motivational and inspirational quotes from Pinterest about getting over the past, living in the present, and shaping the future. They can give you many ideas for Zazzle.

I love quotes on Pinterest. It's one of my favorite activities there. Of course you can never be sure that the quotes come from the people they're attributed to, but it's fun regardless. You find quotes you resonate with, some of them very serious ("Some people come in your life as blessings, others come in your life as lessons"), others mildly amusing yet catchy ("Don't look back. You're not going that way"), while still others really funny in a whole range of ways ("Sorry, I'm not Adele. I don't wish the best for you nor do I want to find someone like you"), many of them witty in one way or another – such as this one by Nietzsche (or so they say), "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

What's surprising is that at least half of the quotes on Pinterest are not the famous or less-than-famous authors' thoughts that you can find on Goodreads, but rather short motivational and inspirational quotes culled from people writing for the Web.

Anyway, this was a short intro into the Quotes category on Pinterest for those who don't do Pinterest. Perhaps I should have also added that you see the quotes as images, with all sorts of fonts, on blank background or juxtaposed to or superimposed on inspiring images (photos of people working out, cartoons of sassy Victorian ladies, beautiful landscapes, etc.). Pinterest is, in fact, image-driven, so people come here for more visual things than words, but things like quotes and nutrition info have found their way onto this platform, combining text and image.

I'll end this intro with one final thought from Pinterest: "I don't always pin, but when I do, I pin 5,000 things in one sitting."

A wonderful stroke of luck
A wonderful stroke of luck

Thoughts about the Past, Present, and Future

Now on to the topic of this article. I will be going over some quotes I pinned on my Pinterest boards about the importance of leaving the past behind and living in the present, of freeing yourself from the past in order to create a future that suits you better.

While I agree that some things of the past are better left alone, I am a person who always finds strength in the past. I find the past to be a source of nourishment and inspiration. It also defines who I am. The question becomes trickier here, given that existence defines much of the essence continually, sometimes confirming what you know about yourself, while at other times making you face things about yourself that you have to reconcile with your old self. But that doesn't mean that my looking back is counterproductive: on the contrary, I think that reconciling the past you with the present you is quite a fruitful exercise, one that feeds your being.

So the question is not as easy to me as some of the motivational quotes I found on Pinterest make it sound, but it's fun reading those statements because some of them ring so true, and do invite reflection better than others.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about the past, present, and future from Pinterest. Which doesn't mean that I agree with them whole-heartedly. Life is more complicated than single-minded statements.

It's Fun to Make Quote Images

NB:The quote images you see in this article are my own. Some I made with image quote generators, and others with my own photos or free images from Pixabay. The texts are freely circulating on the Internet. Where they were attributed to someone, I preserved that attribution.

Many of the quote images I pinned on Pinterest look much better. They're great graphic experiments, with great typographic play and backgrounds. I meant to use those, especially as they were meant to be spread over the Web, but ended up playing with these quotes myself.

Don't give up what you want most, for what you want now.

One user commented "Right. Or is it?" Good question. Sometimes even what you want most can wait, because the present is really good. Sometimes the present is so good, that you even forget what you wanted most.

Don't stumble over something behind you.

Tripping over your past can be a bad experience. But often you need to go through it in order to make the next trip better. So I guess as long as you don't turn it into a habit, it's fine.

Don't stumble over what's behind
Don't stumble over what's behind
Don't give up what you want most . . .
Don't give up what you want most . . .
Don't let yesterday . . .
Don't let yesterday . . .
Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.

Purportedly a Cherokee proverb. It's a simple but very effective sentence. There can be too much thinking about the past. I am guilty of it. Not in recent years, but I've been there. Coulda, shoulda, wouda kind of way. Then I realized I was thinking about the past because I was traveling the same road in a less inspired way. So I changed that road. As another quote says, "Still time to change the road you're on."

You'll never leave where you are until you decide where you'd rather be.

This is a good point. And the best way to go about it is to think of various destinations, not just one. Or so I figured. You don't have to get there. The simple fact of embarking on a new journey will open many new paths. I love it when that happens.

On the other hand, sometimes you do leave an old journey behind and embark on a new one without being aware of it.

You'll never leave . . .
You'll never leave . . .
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.

This one is attributed to Dalai Lama. We can assume that the current one, the 14th Dalai Lama, but even so, there are so many statements attributed to him, that we might never know. In any event, it does sound very Buddhist, and the 14th Dalai Lama did say "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."

Our prime purpose in life . . .
Our prime purpose in life . . .

I included this quote here among inspirational quotes about the past, present, and future, because we often make plans according to our own perceived needs and desired outcomes. It's unbelievable how often we don't include the others in our visions for the future, thinking they may come to find a comfortable place there naturally (or not thinking about them at all). It all seems to me a little like Adam Smith's "invisible hand" and his idea that if people seek financial gains for themselves the market will regulate these forces for the benefit of everyone. Well, the workings of individual greed leave much to be desired, and desire for individual accomplishments often leave many by the wayside.

Wherever you are, be all there.

This one is attributed to Christian missionary Jim Elliot. I like this idea. It's a great way to say "live in the moment." We're often tugged away from being all there by the many tides of life, as well as by all sorts of emotions and desires. So be all there, wherever you are. That kind of awareness will help both you and others, so it's a good way to live. Now, it might not be feasible all the time, since we often live with a foot in the past and one in the future, working away to make things happen, but every once in a while, if nothing else, it's a much needed exercise.

Wherever you are, be all there.
Wherever you are, be all there.

As a side note, Jim Elliot continued this idea with "Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."

More Quotes

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
-- The Dalai Lama. (Again.)

There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.
-- Zora Neale Hurston

A nice way to say a time to sow and a time to reap.

Put down that map and get wonderfully lost.
It works when traveling. It also works at any other time.

Put down that map
Put down that map
Years, questions, and answers
Years, questions, and answers
Eat well. Travel often.

I love this one. This one is (part of) me. Only I'm not very good at being me sometimes because I haven't yet learned how to do what I love for work and have money to both eat well and travel often.

Eat well. Travel often.
Eat well. Travel often.
Show them.
Show them.
Don't tell people your dreams. Show them.

I think this is good advice. People often can't understand your dreams even when you show them what you've done and are doing. Imagine how baffled they must be when you're presenting them with words only.

To End on a Fun Note . . .

Life is short. Drink coffee.
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And Remember

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I hope you've enjoyed these quotes. Part II to follow.

Updated: 09/18/2015, Mira
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Mira on 09/18/2015

It's funny how you connect Dev Patel's line with the idea of a friendly or unfriendly universe :) It's a question so big I can't even begin to think about it. What about you, what are some of your thoughts on the topic?

And yes, I've seen Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and loved it. I wasn't aware there were two movies of this title! Is that what you're saying? I'm checking online right now :)

I checked :) and there is, indeed, a second film. How wonderful! Thank you for point that out. I may find it at the British Council Library, if not now, then soon.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/18/2015

Mira, Thank you for the amusing, inspiring, and sobering emotional arc which runs through the sayings.
It's interesting that you indicate reservations about accepting whole-heartedly statements attributed to famous people. It's my understanding that something attributed to Albert Einstein begs investigation -- other than such wonderfully attributable observations as the most important question to ask is whether we live in a friendly or unfriendly universe.
Have you seen the two "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" films? The refrain by Dev Patel's character -- about everything sorting out in the end and if it isn't sorted, then it isn't the end -- is so endearing!

Mira on 05/12/2015

Thank you, Sheila :) Glad you enjoyed this.

CruiseReady on 05/12/2015

What a fun page about sayings on Pinterest, with some interesting personal musing mixed in. I found one of the quotes hit home, and pinned it!

Mira on 03/19/2014

Well, that sounds pretty good :). I still remember his presence and that of the robed monks who attended. It was simply amazing: I was looking to take some photos after the show, because I was young and documenting my life through photography; and I remember the way these people walked -- they seemed to be lighter on their feet, and there certainly was something about them that kept me watching and following them. I would now call that element peace. I was probably disturbing it with my photography, but it was still powerful enough to attract me, to make me follow them about (from a distance) outside the church.

I love that your treasured coin came back to you. I feel the same happiness when I remember a memory I almost lost because I didn't prize it enough at some point :-).

Guest on 03/19/2014

Mira, It's great that, even though you didn't realize how fortunate you were at the time, you seized the opportunity. How different it would be to look back now, if you had not followed through; it might have qualified as one of those missed moments that seemed small at the time but in terms of your overall well-being was monumental.
I have been in his presence, and I have known those very close to him. I was gifted with a rare Tibetan coin which was in the pocket of one of the monks in his entourage when the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet back in 1959. It's one of my most treasured possessions, and I almost lost it this year, but, through an incredible miracle, it returned to me.

Mira on 03/19/2014

Thank you, Emma! I had the good fortune of seeing the current Dalai Lama! I was at a youth hostel in Washington, DC, and someone very excited came with some tickets. I ended up figuring out a long walking trip to a church where he was speaking. I didn't realize at the time how fortunate I was :)

Guest on 03/19/2014

Mira, One of your opening observations expresses my concerns about valid attributions on the Internet: "Of course you can never be sure that the quotes come from the people they're attributed to."
I also smiled over your observation about the amount of statements attributed to the current Dalai Lama, who would be quite bemused at the thought of his name being appended to so many statements, some of them surely never having been made by him. When he was asked how he feels about his fame and his legacy, he answered, "I am a simple Buddhist monk. Those things do not concern me." So he probably knows that correcting all the incorrect attributions would be a futile exercise, just as he realized that holding onto his country in 1959 -- when the world sat back while those capable of coming to Tibet's assistance didn't seem to care and still don't seem to care (after meeting with the Dalai Lama recently, Obama said that he doesn't care about Tibetan independence) -- would be a futile exercise with a high cost in unnecessary sacrifices of life.
I enjoyed this journey through your musings -- humorous as well as deep.

Mira on 02/01/2014

Thanks, Jo!:) I love to think about art. Wish I could also make more of it!

Jo_Murphy on 02/01/2014

I love this one....
Artists Give Shape To Questions So You Can See the Answers

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