By Nicolle

I have a Word document that I started in seventh grade on my parent’s home computer, a very large gray Mac desktop on which I also played Mario Brothers games and doodled in WordArt. When my parents finally upgraded to a flatscreen Gateway desktop with dial-up Internet my sophomore year of high school, that document migrated to the new PC. After I graduated from high school and used my graduation money to purchase my very own iBook G4, this document was transferred to my little 12-inch laptop. Last year, when my little Apple-that-could went into technical cardiac arrest and I moved up to a MacBook Pro, my document shuffled over to my new hard drive.

My document is now almost 10 years old, is over 150 pages long and has survived three or four Microsoft Office software updates (we’re now on Office 2008).

So, what is this document? My will? Characteristics of a potential husband (yeah, right)? A bucket list? An alphabetically organized catalogue of the DVDs I own? A hit list?

Nope. The 250kB document is a compilation of quotes – quotes I’ve stumbled across in magazines, quotes I’ve sought out while writing research papers, quotes friends have said, quotes I’ve stolen from people’s Facebook profiles.

This collection has unintentionally self-selected and organized itself into categories, categories that reflect my interests and curiosities, and fuel my inspirations (you didn’t think I was naturally this smart, did you?). One section is devoted to love and relationships because, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s an interest of mine.

Since you can’t get anywhere without at least pretending to listen to other people, take a gander at some of my muses.

On relationships:

  • Love should develop over time, not start at a high. Real love is developed over time. It’s about learning to trust, bond, and build a family together, with or without children. So I’m in favor of not overthinking yourself to death. Lisa Clampitt, professional matchmaker
  • What we don’t realize is that the very option of being allowed to change our minds seems to increase the chances that we will change our minds. When we can change our minds about our decisions, we are less satisfied with them… Our power of interpretation can turn great things into mediocre things. Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less
  • Fairytales are to romance what fireworks are to the night sky. They are transient states…and while temporarily thrilling, not what one builds a life around. Prudence, Slate magazine’s advice columnist
  • Over the years, stability and dependability outweigh fireworks and witty banter…I didn’t consider that one decision – say passing up a good guy because “something was missing” – could change the course of my life forever. Lori Gottlieb, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough
  • Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work. Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed
  • It seems like our culture has a deep fear of suffering and that creates a fear of commitment. While never pleasant, suffering will produce a better relationship and person. Suffering is inevitable. Mike Friesen
  • When they took from my side her with whom I had slept for so long, my heart was torn at the place where it stuck to hers, and the wound was bleeding. St. Augustine
  • It turns out that finding love is not an external process, but an internal one – it is not about finding the perfect match, but rather deciding to become someone who is both lovable and capable of being open, selfless, optimistic, brave, accepting, patient, and loving. – Jillian Straus, Unhooked Generation

On life:

  • The more wisdom you have, the less you think you know. Steve Wiens, teaching pastor, Church of the Open Door
  • Any man can dance; it’s like rhythmic walking. Liz Jenkins
  • Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ Mary Ann Radmacher
  • Be open, be humble and take heed. Dying not to leave where you are could kill you, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Shellie R. Warren, RELEVANT magazine
  • If you start to feel useless, offended or depressed…remember that you were once the fastest and most victorious little sperm out of millions. A billboard at an Australian bus station
  • There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. C.S. Lewis