“‘Everything that comes together falls apart,’” the Old Man said. “Everything. The chair I’m sitting on. It was built, and so it will fall apart. I’m gonna fall apart, probably before this chair. And you’re gonna fall apart. The cells and organs and systems that make you you—they came together, grew together, and so must fall apart. The Buddha knew one thing science didn’t prove for millennia after his death: Entropy increases. Things fall apart.”

Above is my favorite quote from Looking for Alaska by John Green, my favorite book. The reality behind this quote is my main reason why I love reading John Green’s novels; his works exploit the truth behind life events, not some sugar-coated ending where everything turns out great for all the characters. I love this quote so much that I cut out newspaper letters and pieced the quote on a canvas for my dorm room (need some sort of decoration this year).

My mom and sister read through the quote once; looked at me with their noses curled, as if they walked past a 3-month old port-a-potty; and said, “Why in the world would you want to hang up such a depressing quote in your dorm room?”

Yes, at first read the quote is sad because it reiterates the fact that we will eventually die. But I don’t find it depressing, I find it motivational.

We slowly came together as we developed in our mother’s womb and as we age, we slowly fall to pieces as our organs and systems break down. The computer or tablet or phone you’re on to read this was pieced together and will break down. Acknowledging that one day, the parts that came together will eventually leave each other, motivates me in the present. Should I drink this coffee? Yes, because the workers that grabbed the coffee beans and the truck that brought them here and the machine that grounded them will fall apart one day. Should I read this book? Yes, since the trees that created the pages and the ink that distinguish the words will fall apart.

The ultimate question that this quote helps me answer is, “Should I do this, even though it makes me feel uncomfortable and out of place?”

I came together, and so I will fall apart. I won’t be able to do the activity when I start falling apart. So yes, I should do it because I can now, and not one day.

Also, the quote falls in the lines of the cliché, “Things fall apart so better things can come together.” A cliché that’s an euphemism for when things end (most commonly used for teenage breakups). Yes, things fall apart, but yet they had to come together at one point in order to fall apart. What’s stopping something else, something new, something better to come together next?

Mom, sister, this quote may be depressing but maybe a reminder of sadness gives a boost to action for the present. 

“Things fall apart.”

Bam, motivation in three words.


7 thoughts on “What John Green, Dorm Room Decor, and Motivation Have in Common

  1. Great post! Completely agree, I think John Green has a way of presenting/building characters and stories that give us a glimpse back into our own lives. I also draw motivation from these types of quotes/realizations. Things fall apart so we shouldn’t sit by and wait for it to happen, time to get after life and spend time doing the things that make us feel alive.

    • First, thanks for reading Alex! I appreciate it. I completely agree with you that his novels give us insight into our lives. Did you find any other quotes that struck a cord with you?

      • I think we covered the best ones between our posts, haha! But I should compile a list of all the great quotes in his books. I underline all over my books when I come across them. Everyone loves, “If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.” I think that’s brilliant though, definitely one of my favorites. Speaks to the characters perfectly

      • I underline all my favorite quotes too! That’s a great quote. 🙂

        What about, “Francios Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last were ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps.’ That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.” It again ties in with his motif of death and yet the desire to live and escape the labyrinth of suffering.

      • That’s a great one too! Funny you should mentioned that…my Dad read the book at the same time and I called him to compare thoughts after we finished. I viewed the entire book through the spectrum of labyrinth quote, which I think has a lot to do with my age and most of life still being ahead of me. My Dad, saw everything through the ‘Seeking a Great Perhaps,’ lens. Interesting to think about the filter that age provides.

      • I think also our past experiences dictate which quotes touch us more. The quote about everything falling apart and Great Perhaps stick out for me because I’m more of a quiet, passive person that does not usually step out of my comfort zone. The quotes push the idea to go out of one’s comfort zone and seek adventure (like Miles did).

        The age filter is quite interesting as well. My mom read the book as well and she found a quote about not letting one’s past and such (can’t remember it off the top of my head). I asked her why she’s so interested in it and it’s because it has a connection with her passions. It’s quite interesting to see what lens people use to read the book.

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