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Life’s Too Short for Overused Quotes

Along with words like “literally,” there are age-old quotes that our generation has taken as our own.  I would like to thank the Academy of Misattributed Quotes for one such gem: “Life is too short to be taken seriously.” This witty piece presumably originates from none other than the sass-king himself, Oscar Wilde, the proper quote being: “ Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it,” from Lady Windermere’s Fan. Now, I’ve listed Wilde as one of my favorite authors as soon as I realized The Picture of Dorian Gray was cool. However, I think our generation’s tendency to make this phrase our mantra leads to an extreme: we’re afraid to take anything seriously at all, under the pretense that, well, life is simply too short.

I think a bit of a laissez-faire attitude is healthy when applicable. The danger comes when one adopts a general attitude of lethargy, of throwing caution to the wind with no thought as to their effect on themselves, or on the world around them. When is serious too much, and when is it appropriate? I’ve taken it upon myself to compile a rudimentary list, to be used as reference in moments of uncertainty.

Things to be taken seriously: your mortgage payment, doing something with your life, when you’ve wronged a friend, remembering to turn off your stove, activities you’re passionate about, cleaning your bathroom, recycling, misogyny, calling your family (it makes their day…think about that), when your professor says “this may be on the exam,” places that deliver past 2 AM.

Things NOT to be taken seriously: those postcards from the Prada/Schiaparelli exhibit you absent-mindedly left at the restaurant because they didn’t fit in your purse, jokes at your expense, lost (misplaced) car keys, the guy in the yellow Mustang who colorfully cut you off, how many profile pictures you have on Facebook, how many of anything you have on Facebook, waking up to find your kitchen flooded by an erratic dishwasher, making a comment in class that sounded more eloquent in your head, Hummer limos, achieving sample dress size, Soulja Boy, and this article.


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