39 How to Stop Time Quotes from Matt Haig’s Bestseller (with page numbers)

How to Stop Time Quotes Matt Haig

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How To Stop Time Quotes

How to Stop Time Quotes

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How to Stop Time Quotes

This was the second book I’ve read by Matt Haig. The first was The Midnight Library, and I was completely immersed in it from the first few chapters. I experienced similar feelings while reading How To Stop Time. As someone who has always been fascinated by time and the idea of living forever (or at least for a really long time), the book’s plot and themes speak to my own thoughts and personality.

If I did have centuries to live, what would I do differently? What would I learn or do with my lengthy life? How would I use such a gift?

And yet, life, however long, is always shadowed by death. There are no guarantees. I could lose my life by any number of causes by this time tomorrow night. But since I don’t know when my own fateful day will rise to meet me, I’m determined to live and at least attempt to do all I would like to do if I could live for centuries.

What’s important to me? What’s important to you? Who do we want to be and what’s stopping us from living that life and version of ourselves now, even without the promise of extended longevity?

I’m the type of person who has based a large value of her life on achievements. Growing up, my identity was deeply anchored in the awards I won and what I accomplished. I had to be the best in whatever was in front of me, and because of that drive, effort, and some talent, I usually was. I won a lot of trophies and certificates. Most of which are buried in a box somewhere or sitting on a shelf at a thrift store because my mother eventually threw them out. A few that I earned later in life now hang on a wall in my home.

But life is so much richer than the value a single achievement can bring. Or even a bunch of them. There is value in the love you give and find in return. There is pure gold within a single moment, an experience that brings you (or someone you love) joy or comfort or peace.

Living a good life is an achievement itself.

There are so many things I still want to achieve, but even if I achieved all of those goals to great success, there is still more to living a good life.

If I could stop time, or at least, live for so long it felt like it had stopped, I would want to be anxiety-free and happy. I would want to feel content. When I think about the longest-lived moments of happiness in my life, they weren’t necessarily those moments of achievement. Those were happy moments, but immediately afterwards I began thinking, “what next?” The anxiety of continuing to achieve returned within a few hours.

The moments that sustain me and keep me wanting to live as long as possible stem from life itself–travel, nature, experience, laughter, love, family, friendship…a pet…the small wonders that can be found in each day. These are the reasons I don’t want life to end. I want us all to have as many of these moments as we can. They are all precious and meaningful if we just take the time to notice them and soak them in like sunshine on a silky beach.

So, while I unfortunately can’t stop time, I can at least be more aware of the time I live each day. I still want to set goals and achieve them, but I also want to place a special focus on what matters in between…those seemingly small things that make a life worth living, no matter how long it may be.

How To Stop Time Quotes

39 How to Stop Time Quotes by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time Quotes

1. “Human beings, as a rule, simply don’t accept things that don’t fit their worldview.” (pg. 7)

2. ‘The thing is,’ he said, ‘in California, the only way to look like you are getting older is to look like you are getting younger. If you can move your forehead over the age of forty then people become very suspicious.’ (pg. 11)

3. ‘History isn’t something you need to bring to life. History already is alive. We are history. History isn’t politicians or kings and queens. History is everyone. It is everything. It’s that coffee. You could explain much of the whole history of capitalism and empire and slavery just by talking about coffee. The amount of blood and misery that has taken place for us to sit here and sip coffee out of paper cups is incredible.’ (pg. 17)

4. “Forever, Emily Dickinson said, is composed of nows. But how do you inhabit the now you are in? How do you stop the ghosts of all the other nows from getting in? How, in short, do you live?” (pg. 19)

5. “The idea that you have one true love, that no one else will compare after they have gone. It’s a sweet idea, but the reality is terror itself. To be faced with all those lonely years after. To exist when the point of you has gone.” (pg. 23)

6. ‘There is a darkness that fringes everything. It is a most horrid ecstasy.’ And I felt the horror of her horror. That, I suppose, is a price we pay for love: the absorbing of another’s pain as if our own.” (pg. 24)

7. “It occurred to me that human beings didn’t live beyond a hundred because they simply weren’t up for it. Psychologically, I mean. You kind of ran out. There wasn’t enough self to keep going. You grew too bored of your own mind. Of the way life repeated itself. How, after a while, there wasn’t a smile or gesture that you hadn’t seen before. There wasn’t a change in the world order that didn’t echo other changes in the world order. And the news stopped being new. The very word ‘news’ became a joke. It was all just a cycle. A slowly rotating downward one. And your tolerance for human beings, making the same mistakes over and over and over and over again, began to fade. It was like being stuck in the same song, with a chorus you had once liked but now made you want to rip your ears off.” (pg. 32)

8. “If you live long enough you realise that every proven fact is later disproved and then proven again.” (pg. 37)

9. “I have long convinced myself that the piano is like a drug, seductive and strong, and it can mess you up, it can awaken dead emotions, it can drown you in your lost selves. It is a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.” (pg. 48)

10. “But history you have lived is different to history you read in a book or on a screen. And some things in the past can’t be tamed.” (pg. 49)

11. “People don’t just need an enemy, they need an explanation. And it’s often useful, in unsettled times, where ignorance is everywhere, for people to believe in witches . .” (pg. 56)

12. “But there is never a way into the before. All you can do with the past is carry it around, feeling its weight slowly increase, praying it never crushes you completely.” (pg. 61)

13. “And a life is like that. There’s no need to fear change, or necessarily welcome it, not when you don’t have anything to lose. Change is just what life is. It is the only constant I know.” (pg. 71)

14. “Ignorance changes over time. But it is always there, and it remains just as lethal.” (pg. 88)

15. “Music doesn’t get in. Music is already in. Music simply uncovers what is there, makes you feel emotions that you didn’t necessarily know you had inside you, and runs around waking them all up. A rebirth of sorts.” (pg. 99)

16. “It is lonely, this world, without a friend.” (pg. 107)

17. “The history of London could be charted by the steady and consistent decline of visible faeces in public streets.” (pg. 108)

18. “Places don’t matter to people any more. Places aren’t the point. People are only ever half present where they are these days. They always have at least one foot in the great digital nowhere.” (pg. 109)

19. “the main lesson of history is: humans don’t learn from history.” (pg. 131)

20. “In protecting yourself from hurt you could create a new, subtler type of pain.” (pg. 132)

21. “This is the point of being a teacher. A glimmer of hope where you thought it didn’t exist.” (pg. 153)

22. “That is why I write. I am just for ever running from madness.” (pg. 161)

23. “It is strange how close the past is, even when you imagine it to be so far away. Strange how it can just jump out of a sentence and hit you. Strange how every object or word can house a ghost.” (pg. 180)

24. “The past is not one separate place. It is many, many places, and they are always ready to rise into the present.” (pg. 180)

25. “Amid the accidental cacophony of modern life to be able to play music, to make sense out of noise, could briefly make you a kind of god. A creator. An orderer. A comfort giver.” (pg. 201)

26. “The great thing about being in your four hundreds is that you can get the measure of someone pretty quickly. And every era is clogged with Martins, and they are all dickheads.” (pg. 206)

27. “The lesson of history is that ignorance and superstition are things that can rise up, inside almost anyone, at any moment. And what starts as a doubt in a mind can swiftly become an act in the world.” (pg. 215)

28. “It is the simplest, purest joy on earth, I realise, to make someone you care about laugh.” (pg. 244)

29. “Maybe that is what it takes to love someone. Finding a happy mystery you would like to unravel for ever.” (pg. 245)

30. “There comes a time when the only way to start living is to tell the truth. To be who you really are, even if it is
dangerous.” (pg. 265)

31. “this is a problem with living in the twenty-first century. Many of us have every material thing we need, so the job of marketing is now to tie the economy to our emotions, to make us feel like we need more by making us want things we never needed before. We are made to feel poor on thirty thousand pounds a year. To feel poorly travelled if we have been to only ten other countries. To feel too old if we have a wrinkle. To feel ugly if we aren’t photoshopped and filtered.” (pg. 270)

32. “That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days – some years – some decades – are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.” (pg. 296)

33. “If I could live without doubt what would I do? If I could be kind without the fear of being fucked over? If I could love without fear of being hurt? If I could taste the sweetness of today without thinking of how I will miss that taste tomorrow? If I could not fear the passing of time and the people it will steal? Yes. What would I do? Who would I care for? What battle would I fight? Which paths would I step down? What joys would I allow myself? What internal mysteries would I solve? How, in short, would I live?” (pg. 314)

34. “After all, we aren’t just who we are born. We are who we become. We are what life does to us.” (pg. 315)

35. “But the thing is: you cannot know the future. You look at the news and it looks terrifying. But you can never be sure. That is the whole thing with the future. You don’t know. At some point you have to accept that you don’t know. You have to stop flicking ahead and just concentrate on the page you are on.” (pg. 319)

36. “Whenever I see someone reading a book, especially if it is someone I don’t expect, I feel civilisation has become a little safer.” (pg. 319)

37. “There are things I have experienced that I will never again be able to experience for the first time: love, a kiss, Tchaikovsky, a Tahitian sunset, jazz, a hot dog, a Bloody Mary. That is the nature of things. History was – is – a one-way street. You have to keep walking forwards. But you don’t always need to look ahead. Sometimes you can just look around and be happy right where you are.” (pg. 321)

38. ‘Everything is going to be all right. Or, if not, everything is going to be, so let’s not worry.’ (pg. 325)

39. “I understand that the way you stop time is by stopping being ruled by it. I am no longer drowning in my past, or fearful of my future.” (pg. 325)

How to Stop Time Quotes

How to Stop Time Quotes Matt Haig

How to stop time quotes

How to Stop Time Quotes

How to Stop Time Quotes

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