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The World According to Gen X in 40 Quotes

Our generation just sees the world differently — here’s how

Quotations from the article drawn into an illustration
David Milan

Gen X gets called the forgotten middle-child generation, and The New York Times even thinks we’re a mess. But that hasn’t stopped us from being outspoken anyway. We’ve collected 40 of the wisest, funniest, most irreverent and thought-provoking quotes uttered by some of Gen X’s finest minds — actors, comedians, authors, athletes, rappers, chefs, tech titans, songwriters and deep thinkers — that show the full breadth of our worldview.


“There is no greater act of courage than being the one who kisses first.”
―Janeane Garofalo

"Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet service to see who they really are.”
―Will Ferrell

“As long as [my wife is] happy with me, I don’t need to look in the mirror and think, How do I stack up next to Bradley Cooper? Would Cooper rock this shirt? Doesn’t matter. He does not have your wife. You do.”
―Nick Offerman

“My mom is always asking me, ‘When will you finally get married?’ And I always say, ‘When I  find a man who has more balls than me.’ ”
―Salma Hayek

“I’ll have a better understanding of why [my marriage broke up] in a year, and an even better one in two, and an even greater one in five, and it’ll go from being, you know, a book of my life to becoming a chapter to a paragraph to a line to a word to a doodle.” 
―Jason Sudeikis


“Drink some coffee, put some gangsta rap on and handle it.”
―Ice Cube

“I don’t believe in half-assing things anymore. The path of least resistance is boring, and scars are interesting.”
―Matthew Perry

“There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired.”
―Andre Agassi

“Good ideas are always crazy until they're not.”
―Larry Page, Google cofounder

“Boos don’t block dunks.”
—Kobe Bryant


“I don’t trust children. They’re here to replace us.”
―Stephen Colbert

“There’s nothing like hearing your 5-year-old daughter sing ‘Rehab’ word for word while wearing Yo Gabba Gabba! pajamas.”
―Dave Grohl

“Sometimes you just gotta be drop-kicked out of the nest.”
―Robert Downey Jr.

“One thing I do know about being a parent: You understand why your father was in a bad mood a lot.”
―Adam Sandler

“My mom cares that I tweeted a picture of my breakfast. She knows I’m eating and I’m safe.”
―Jack Dorsey, Twitter cofounder


“It is important to have questionable friends you can trust unconditionally.”
—Chuck Klosterman

“I force people to have coffee with me, just because I don’t trust that a friendship can be maintained without any other senses besides a computer or cellphone screen.”
―John Cusack

“As my nanny used to say, the older you get, the more important it is to know people that knew you when.”
―Amy Poehler


“If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”
―Deion Sanders

“If you look at life  through the framework of money, you will miss most of the picture.”
―Dave Chappelle

“I’d rather lose money havin’ fun than make money being bored.”
―Matthew McConaughey

“Never get high on your own supply.” 
―The Notorious B.I.G.


“You sort of have to become what you’re wearing.”
―Pharrell Williams

“That’s a wonderful side effect of leather pants: When you pee yourself in them, they’re more forgiving than jeans.”

“I’ve never had much of a desire to grow facial hair. I think I’ve managed to play quarterback just fine without a mustache.”
―Peyton Manning

“You must never underestimate the power of the eyebrow.”
—Jack Black


“I don’t think anyone ever gets over anything in life; they merely get used to it.”
―Douglas Coupland

“When I was bullied: you manned-up. You learned something. You realized: I'm not getting the gold star. You realized: you lose. Deal with it.”
―Bret Easton Ellis

“When someone screams at me to hurry up, I slow down.”
―Mario Lemieux, hockey legend

“When you finally accept that you’re a complete dork, your life gets easier. No sense in trying to be cool.”
―Reese Witherspoon


“Strange to be almost 50, no? I feel like I just understood how to be young.”
―Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

“My father always told me that a fool at 40 is a fool for life.”
―Idris Elba

“We lose weeks like buttons, like pencils.”
―Dave Eggers

“I’m becoming far more interested in just functionality and making sure my body is as strong as it can be so I can swing my kids around and not worry about aches and pains.”
―Matt Damon

“I always think that I’m still this 13-year-old boy that doesn’t really know how to be an adult, pretending to live my life, taking notes for when I’ll really have to do it.”
―Richard Linklater


“Birds scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth, but sadly we don’t speak bird.”
―Kurt Cobain

“It’s not how you pick your nose, it’s where you put that booger that counts.”
―Tré Cool, drummer, Green Day

“We’re only here briefly. And while I’m here, I want to allow myself joy. So f--- it.”
―Spike Jonze

“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
―Anthony Bourdain

“If there was a God, I’d still have both nuts.”
―Lance Armstrong

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