Poetry seems to sink into us the way prose doesn't. I can still quote verses I learned when I was very young, but I have trouble remembering one line of a novel I just finished reading.
Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren't. But you can't tell the difference when you have no real information. Fear can create even more imaginary obstacles than ignorance can. That's why the smallest step away from speculation and into reality can be an amazing relief. The Reality Solution means: Do it before you're ready.
People have to face regrets. Becoming mature means learning to accept what you cannot change, facing unresolved sorrows and learning to love life as it really happens, not as you would have it happen. When someone attaches unkindness to criticism, she's angry. Angry people need to criticize as an outlet for their anger. That's why you must reject unkind criticism. Unkind criticism is never part of a meaningful critique of you. Its purpose is not to teach or to help, its purpose is to punish. Life isn't supposed to be an all or nothing battle between misery and bliss. Life isn't supposed to be a battle at all. And when it comes to happiness, well, sometimes life is just okay, sometimes it's comfortable, sometimes wonderful, sometimes boring, sometimes unpleasant. When your day's not perfect, it's not a failure or a terrible loss. It's just another day.
Doing is a quantum leap from imagining. Thinking about swimming isn't much like actually getting in the water. Actually getting in the water can take your breath away. The defense force inside of us wants us to be cautious, to stay away from anything as intense as a new kind of action. Its job is to protect us, and it categorically avoids anything resembling danger. But it's often wrong. Anything worth doing is worth doing too soon.
Nay, but Jack, such eyes! such eyes! so innocently wild! so bashfully irresolute! Not a glance but speaks and kindles some thought of love! Then, Jack, her cheeks! her cheeks, Jack! so deeply blushing at the insinuations of her tell-tale eyes! Then, Jack, her lips! O, Jack, lips smiling at their own discretion! and, if not smiling, more sweetly pouting -- more lovely in sullenness! Then, Jack, her neck! O, Jack, Jack!
I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman: for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or simony, or fluxions, or paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning; nor will it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments; but... I would send her, at nine years old, to a boarding-school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice: then, sir, she would have a supercilious knowledge in accounts, and, as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries: this is what I would have a woman know; and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it.