It’s been a long week for everyone, I feel. Hasn’t it? Maybe it’s the weather. It’s probably the fact that Claire from work is somewhere in the Bahamas right now and you’re more jealous than you should be and you’ve spent the past week glaring daggers at her empty desk in the office. That’s probably why.

But to quell some of that ill-suited bitterness, have some great poignant and thought-provoking quotes from America’s best, Ernest Hemingway!

Take it away, Ernie!

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”…“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Courage is grace under pressure.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

There are only three sports: mountain climbing, bull fighting, and motor racing. All the rest are merely games.

Oof. (drops mic)

Okay, so some quotes were more inspirational than others, and while he definitely bears the ‘elderly grandparent’ values in many respects, you really can’t fault his logic or his genius. This is, after all, the man that gave us For Whom The Bell Tolls and the Sun Always Rises. My personal favourite, however, is the Old Man and the Sea. Simple, effective, a novella you can read in one sitting and feel a more spiritual person for having read it.  

So yes, Hemingway quotes are a great solution for when you’re in a rut. He’s like the literary equivalent of comfort food for thought. But let’s unpack for a moment why you’re feeling this way.

The first step is identifying the feeling. Why are you feeling angsty and ready to cry to your favourite author’s inspirational quotes?

It’s the point at which a self-care weekend spirals into a black hole of suffocating angst and stress and we talk ourselves into a rut. 

I’m here to tell you, on no uncertain terms, that it’s okay.

It’s okay to succumb to the insidious thoughts in your head, and it’s natural to not be able to fight them off every second of every day. For better or worse, we’re all human. 

How can I identify if I’m in a rut?

Well, if only it were as easy as me giving you a checklist and ticking off an accurate portfolio of emotions. I’m afraid it’s not that simple. However, I tend to find that the less human I feel, the less likely I am to be feeling great. Think about whether you have stood up in a few hours, or whether you’ve spoken to anyone all week. Maybe you’ve cancelled a couple of lectures or social engagements. Maybe life is just feeling like it’s all A Bit Much at the minute. Maybe it’s something that Hemingway can’t actually solve.

If you don’t feel clean and have miserable thoughts cluttering your mind, it’s fair to say you may be in a rut. It can sneak up on you over a weekend or even a month. The fickle thing about humans is that it rarely occurs to us to checking with ourselves. It can be easy to recognise when the people around us are in a rut, but we delude our own sufferings as something separate.

As something that might be a personal flaw, or that isn’t as valid as another form of suffering. 

Hemingway can get you through most weeks, but make sure that you have a support system around you for when he can’t. 

You are the old man, this week is the fish, but life is more than just a wave. It’s the sea, and it will flow with you eventually. Just let yourself be for a moment.