10 Quotes By Author Jack Kerouac That Perfectly Sum Up Life

quotes that sum up life

Any small detail in daily life can instantly transport you back to a memory. A song on the radio takes you back to a really good summer night, while the smell of cooking brings you back to your family. For me, it is usually a timeless quote from a good book that arouses thoughts of the past. Jack Keroauc, the author of On the Road, has some of the most memorable quotes that I like to look back on. He’s blunt, to-the-point, and does not mince words when it comes to talking about pretty much anything. This makes him all the more relevant in today’s world.

Here are 10 quotes that sum up life:

On wanderlust: “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” 

Because nothing feels quite as nice as knowing that you are just a leaf in the wind. Time is a concept that is restrictive only in the eyes of someone who wants time to be definitive. The journey of getting somewhere is far more enriching than the final destination.

On letting go: “I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” 

You know it inside when someone or something is not good for you. But you also know that it takes so much courage and time to leave or avoid it. However, walking away gives you freedom and perspective that you did not know you needed. You finally see all the possibilities that exist. 

On passions: “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”

There is no such thing as having too many passions but you just need to know how to rein them in. One thing I’ve learned in life is that a passion will only ever be fulfilling when you see it through — regardless of whether it ends in failure or success. Quotes like this one remind me of that lesson.

On love: “Will you love me in December as you do in May?”

Love is fleeting and often hard to hold onto. People change in relationships and circumstances in life shape humans. They say though that if you are willing to change and grow with a person that relationships will last a lifetime.

On the love of reading: “I’m going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.”

Novels, short stories, and poems take people to far off lands and places that are way more interesting than real life. The more books you can consume, the more you see new places and understand others. 

On purpose: “Finding Nirvana is like locating silence.”

Nirvana comes when you know your purpose. And everyone wants to know what their purpose in life is. So we chase after the “whys” in life. Why are we here? Will someone remember me when I am gone? Nirvana is a paradise. It’s finding peace from the noise of “why” and “what if.”

On hope: “Something good will come of all things yet.”

Hope keeps things interesting and alive. We are living in some uncertain times and your options are either to give in to desperation or continue to hope. I choose the latter.

On growing up: “I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” 

People arrive at the crossroads of their life when they realize that they have grown up. It doesn’t have to be a scary moment but it can feel as though you are passing through a place. But remember that all the uncertainty will be worth it in the end. 

On freedom: “Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree.”

Gaining freedom is an uncomfortable process to endure. To be comfortable could mean you’re settling for what looks like freedom — but actually is a trap in disguise. I’d rather be free from conformity and expectations and forge my own path, even if it means giving up on comforts temporarily. 

On being present: “Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.”

With technology, we are wired to seek instant gratification and the next best thing. Retrain yourself to really take in this minute and what’s happening around you. Your partner, your friends, and your family will recognize when you are truly present in the moment. 

On diving in: “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

Sometimes it is worth taking the leap of faith because no matter the outcome, there is nothing to be sorry about. So pack a bag, take a trip, find yourself, love, lose, and don’t ever think none of that is worth it. The biggest disservice you can do to yourself is to apologize for following what you think your path is. 

On communication: “One day I will find the right words and they will be simple.” 

It seems like we are always trying to find the right words to say at the right time. But in life, there are moments when the most meaningful words are brief and few.

Sometimes a simple phrase in a novel can change your entire outlook. These quotes by Jack Kerouac had that effect on me, and I hope they are just as meaningful for you, too. What are your favorite quotes? Tell us in the comments!

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash.


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