Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. Anxious People is about a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.
It’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.
There’s such an unbelievable amount that we’re all supposed to be able to cope with these days. You’re supposed to have a job, and somewhere to live, and a family, and you’re supposed to pay taxes and have clean underwear and remember the password to your damn Wi-Fi. Some of us never manage to get the chaos under control, so our lives simply carry on, the world spinning through space at two million miles an hour while we bounce about on its surface like so many lost socks.
Older men rarely know what to say to younger men to let them know that they care. It’s so hard to find the words when all you really want to say is: “I can see you’re hurting.”
Do you know what the worst thing about being a parent is? That you’re always judged by your worst moments. You can do a million things right, but if you do one single thing wrong you’re forever that parent who was checking his phone in the park when your child was hit in the head by a swing.
That was a parent’s job: to provide shoulders. Shoulders for your children to sit on when they’re little so they can see the world, then stand on when they get older so they can reach the clouds, and sometimes lean against whenever they stumble and feel unsure.
These days police work consists of one-tenth actual police work, with the rest of the time devoted to making notes about exactly what you did during the course of that police work.
We don’t want our children to pursue their own dreams or walk in our footsteps. We want to walk in their footsteps while they pursue our dreams.
Drugs are a sort of dusk that grant us the illusion that we’re the ones who decide when the light goes out, but that power never belongs to us. The darkness takes us whenever it likes.
There was a time when a bank was a bank. But now there are evidently “cashless” banks, banks without any money, which is surely something of a travesty? It’s hardly surprising that people get confused and society is going to the dogs when it’s full of caffeine-free coffee, gluten-free bread, alcohol-free beer.
Sometimes it’s easier to live with your own anxieties if you know that no one else is happy, either.
The terrible thing about becoming an adult is being forced to realize that absolutely nobody cares about us, we have to deal with everything ourselves now, find out how the whole world works. Work and pay bills, use dental floss and get to meetings on time, stand in line and fill out forms, come to grips with cables and put furniture together, change tires on the car and charge the phone and switch the coffee machine off and not forget to sign the kids up for swimming lessons. We open our eyes in the morning and life is just waiting to tip a fresh avalanche of “Don’t Forget!”s and “Remember!”s over us. We don’t have time to think or breathe, we just wake up and start digging through the heap, because there will be another one dumped on us tomorrow.
Love can make you do quite a lot of ridiculous things. Getting married, for instance. Having children, playing happy families, and having a happy marriage.
It’s possible for someone to be unfaithful to you without really thinking about you at all, but an affair requires planning. Perhaps that’s what hurts most of all, the millions of tiny clues that you didn’t notice.
If people really were as happy as they look on the Internet, they wouldn’t spend so much damn time on the Internet, because no one who’s having a really good day spends half of it taking pictures of themselves. Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.
The worst thing a divorce does to a person isn’t that it makes all the time you devoted to the relationship feel wasted, but that it steals all the plans you had for the future.
Sometimes it’s hard to know who the biggest crooks are, people who rob banks, or the people who run the banks.
Conflicts are good. Only weak people believe in harmony, and as a reward they get to float through life with a feeling of moral superiority while the rest of us get on with other things.
Expensive restaurants have bigger gaps between the tables. First class on airplanes has no middle seats. Exclusive hotels have separate entrances for guests staying in suites. The most expensive thing you can buy in the most densely populated places on the planet is distance.
We’re just strangers passing each other, your anxieties briefly brushing against mine as the fibers of our coats touch momentarily on a crowded sidewalk somewhere. We never really know what we do to each other, with each other, for each other.
Just because you don’t much like life doesn’t necessarily mean you want the alternative.
Everyone gets a few moments that show who they really are, tiny instances that reveal their entire soul.
Parenthood can lead to a sequence of years when the children’s feelings suck all the oxygen out of a family, and that can be so emotionally intense that some adults go for years without having an opportunity to tell anyone about their own feelings, and if you don’t get a chance for long enough, sometimes you simply forget how to do it.
It’s actually really romantic when older couples get divorced. It always makes me happy, because it’s so great when pensioners still think they’re going to find someone new to fall in love with.
You’re a real tonic. You’re like a self-help book, only in reverse.
Are you hard of thinking or something? Just make a decision for once! No one’s going to respect you otherwise!
When you’re a child you long to be an adult and decide everything for yourself, but when you’re an adult you realize that’s the worst part of it. That you have to have opinions all the time, you have to decide which party to vote for and what wallpaper you like and what your sexual preferences are and which flavor yogurt best reflects your personality. You have to make choices and be chosen by others, every second, the whole time.
Although you might be able to drum religion into people, you can’t teach faith.
Addicts are addicted to their drugs, and their families are addicted to hope. They cling to it.
We can’t change the world, and a lot of the time we can’t even change people. No more than one bit at a time. So we do what we can to help whenever we get the chance, sweetheart. We save those we can. We do our best. Then we try to find a way to convince ourselves that that will just have to ... be enough. So we can live with our failures without drowning.
The people we argue with hardest of all are not the ones who are completely different from us, but the ones who are almost no different at all.
Nothing is easier for people who never do anything themselves than to criticize someone who actually makes an effort.
Being seen through isn’t pleasant, you tend to pull your clothes a little tighter when it happens, especially if you’re usually the one who sees through other people.
You end up marrying the one you don’t understand. Then you spend the rest of your life trying.
People’s dreams are always at their grandest when they’re looking for somewhere to live.
If you can do something for someone in such a way that they think they managed it all on their own, then you’ve done a good job.
You can’t live long with the ones who are only beautiful. But the funny ones, oh, they last a lifetime!
Children don’t need the world’s best parents, just their own parents. To be perfectly honest with you, what they need most of the time is a chauffeur.
Humor is the soul’s last line of defense, and as long as we’re laughing we’re alive.
If there’s one thing modern life and the Internet have taught us, it’s that you should never expect to win a discussion simply because you’re right.
Sometimes I think that when you live together for a very long time, and have children together, life is a bit like climbing trees. Up and down, up and down, you try to cope with everything, be good, you climb and climb and climb, and you hardly ever see each other along the way. You don’t notice that when you’re young, but everything changes when you have children, and sometimes it feels like you hardly ever see the person you married anymore. You’re parents and teammates, first and foremost, and being married slips down the list of priorities. But you ... well, you keep climbing trees, and see each other along the way. I always thought that was just the way it is, life, the way it has to be. We just had to get through everything, I thought. And I kept telling myself that the important thing was that we kept climbing the same tree. Because then I thought that sooner or later ... and this sounds so pretentious ... but I thought that sooner or later we’d end up on the same branch. And then we could sit there holding hands and looking at the view. That’s what I thought we’d be doing when we got old. But time goes quicker than you think.
I believe in the place of banks in society. I believe in order. I’ve never had any objection to the fact that our customers and the media and politicians all hate us, that’s our purpose. Banks need to be the ballast in the system. They make it slow, bureaucratic, difficult to maneuver. To stop the world lurching about too much. People need bureaucracy, to give them time to think before they do something stupid.
One hundred years ago practically everyone who worked in a bank understood how the bank made money. Now there are at most three people in each bank who really understand where it all comes from.
They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.
Spring arrives. It always finds us, in the end. The wind sweeps winter away, the trees rustle and birds start making a fuss, and nature suddenly crashes through with a deafening roar where the snow has swallowed every echo for months.