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Time and the Art of Living

Time and the Art of Living, Robert Grudin, selected passages (2002, Harper and Rowe)

"They do not easily grow sad or old; they are seldom intimidated by the alarms and confusions of the present because they have something greater of their own, some sense of their large and coherent motion in time, to compare the present with."

"The extent to which we live from day to day, from week to week, intent on details and oblivious to larger presences, is a gauge of our impoverishment in time. Deprived of the continuum, we lose not only the sole valid alternative to a present-centered existence but also the nourishing context which can give substance and value to the present itself."

"We can avoid it, as I have said earlier, by concerning ourselves regularly and vigorously with new beginnings. And we can attempt the even more profound renewal, available I think only to the old, of partially shedding our individual selves and participating in a grander social and biological identity."

"Love...is impossible without the gift of time...We love only when we love across time, when love offered is love remembered and love promised."

"Happiness (as suggested, for example, by the French word for happy, heureux) may well consist primarily of an attitude toward time. Individuals we consider happy commonly seem complete in the present:...They choose and patiently develop lengthy projects, so voluminous in time that the work of a single day is no more than a strand in the weft of a rug. They love remembering past experiences and making plans; they speak of past and future, not as external contexts, but rather as esteemed confederates, quiet extensions of their own being. One almost feels that their lives possess a kind of qualified eternity: that past and future, birth and death, meet for them as in the completion of a circle."