„Life is short, but the years are long.“
Part of the secret "call and response" codewords by which members of the long-lived Howard Families can identify others:
: Life is short.
But the years are long.
Not while the evil days come not.
Methuselah's Children (1958)
— Geoffrey Chaucer English poet 1343 - 1400
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German writer, artist, and politician 1749 - 1832
Die Kunst ist lang, das Leben kurz, das Urteil schwierig, die Gelegenheit flüchtig.
Bk. VII, Ch. 9
Cf. Hippocrates, Ars longa vita brevis, Aphorisms 1:1
Wilhelm Meister's Lehrjahre (Apprenticeship) (1786–1830)
Source: The Devil and Miss Prym
„To my way of thinking it is not the years in your life but the life in your years that count in the long run.“
— Adlai Stevenson mid-20th-century Governor of Illinois and Ambassador to the UN 1900 - 1965
Address at Princeton University, "The Educated Citizen" (22 March 1954).
Variant: It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.
"If I Were Twenty-One" in Coronet (December 1955).
This has also been paraphrased "What matters most is not the years in your life, but the life in your years" and misattributed to Abraham Lincoln and Mae West
Context: All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. All change is the result of a change in the contemporary state of mind. Don't be afraid of being out of tune with your environment, and above all pray God that you are not afraid to live, to live hard and fast. To my way of thinking it is not the years in your life but the life in your years that count in the long run. You'll have more fun, you'll do more and you'll get more, you'll give more satisfaction the more you know, the more you have worked, and the more you have lived. For yours is a great adventure at a stirring time in the annals of men.
— Nigel Cumberland British author and leadership coach 1967
Source: Your Job-Hunt Ltd – Advice from an Award-Winning Asian Headhunter (2003), Successful Recruitment in a Week (2012) https://books.google.ae/books?idp24GkAsgjGEC&printsecfrontcover&dqnigel+cumberland&hlen&saX&ved0ahUKEwjF75Xw0IHNAhULLcAKHazACBMQ6AEIGjAA#vonepage&qnigel%20cumberland&ffalse, Managing Teams in a Week (2013) https://books.google.ae/books?idqZjO9_ov74EC&printsecfrontcover&dqnigel+cumberland&hlen&saX&ved0ahUKEwjF75Xw0IHNAhULLcAKHazACBMQ6AEIIDAB#vonepage&qnigel%20cumberland&ffalse, Secrets of Success at Work – 50 techniques to excel (2014) https://books.google.ae/books?id4S7vAgAAQBAJ&printsecfrontcover&dqnigel+cumberland&hlen&saX&ved0ahUKEwjF75Xw0IHNAhULLcAKHazACBMQ6AEIJjAC#vonepage&qnigel%20cumberland&ffalse, p.36
Source: Tuck Everlasting
Variant: Life is too short, or too long, for me to allow myself the luxury of living it so badly.
Source: Eleven Minutes
De Brevitate Vitae ("On the Shortness of Life", trans. John W. Basore), Ch. 1
Original: (la) Non exiguum temporis habemus, sed multum perdidimus. Satis longa vita.
— Luís de Camões Portuguese poet 1524 - 1580
Mais servira, se não fora
Para tão longo amor tão curta a vida.
tr. Norwood Andrews
Lyric poetry, Não pode tirar-me as esperanças, Sete anos de pastor Jacob servia
— Arthur Schopenhauer German philosopher 1788 - 1860
Source: The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1
„A life of short duration… could be so rich in joy and love that it could contain more meaning than a life lasting eighty years.“
— Viktor E. Frankl Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor 1905 - 1997
— Yip Harburg American song lyricist 1896 - 1981
"Ain't It the Truth" originally written for Cabin in the Sky (1943), but pulled from the show, and later included in Jamaica (1957) - Lena Horne version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMSyXuvNpeM
Context: Life is short, short, brother!
Ain't it the truth?
And there is no other
Ain't it the truth?
You gotta rock that rainbow while you still got your youth!
Oh! Ain't it the solid truth?
„I made up my mind long ago that life was too short to do anything for myself that I could pay others to do for me.“
— W. Somerset Maugham British playwright, novelist, short story writer 1874 - 1965
"1941", p. 336
A Writer's Notebook (1946)