Coming of age is an ever evolving process in our lives.  From walking, to speaking, to understanding, we grow as people. We go to school, possibly the military, get a job and build a family of our own; each a coming of age experience unto itself. So then I would ask, is it that when we stop growing as people we stop coming of age?

Below are some quotes from some of the greatest minds in the world, relating to the idea of coming of age. We are always on the lookout for more great quotes, so if you know of any that you feel should be on this page, please let us know and we would be happy to add them.

Best to you from all of us at Coming of Age Books.

Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
Charles Dickens



The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The most beautiful thing in life is that our souls remaining over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves.
–Khalil Gibran



Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.
–Simone de Beauvoir



Nature arms each man with some faculty which enables him to do easily some feat impossible to any other, and thus makes him necessary to society. … Society can never prosper, but must always be bankrupt, until every man does that which he was created to do.
 — Ralph Waldo Emerson The Conduct of Life (Wealth)



Every spirit makes its house, but afterwards the house confines the spirit.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson The Conduct of Life (Fate)



The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible– and achieve it, generation after generation.
–Pearl S. Buck



One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowsip with other human beings as we take our place among them.
–Virginia Woolf




There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.
–Marcel Proust




Friends of my youth, a last adieu! haply some day we meet again:
Ye ne’er the self-same men shall meet; the years shall make us other men.
–Sir Richard Francis Burton The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû El-Yezdî




One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
–Simone de Beauvoir




Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle…
–Napoleon Hill




We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us.
 –Jean-Paul Sartre




All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.
–William Shakespeare




What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
–Friedrich Nietzsche




Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life.

 –Robert Louis Stevenson




As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.
 –Leonardo Da Vinci




Learning acquired in youth arrests the evil of old age; and if you understand that old age has wisdom for its food, you will so conduct yourself in youth that your old age will not lack for nourishment.
–Leonardo Da Vinci




I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.
–Albert Einstein




Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.
–Albert Einstein




The power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good.
 –Plato Allegory of the Cave, from The Republic (Translated by Benjamin Jowett)




Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but they should have the equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.
 –John F. Kennedy




One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more.
–Washington Irving

It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
    –Joseph Conrad




I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more- the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort- to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires- and expires, too soon- too soon before life itself.
  –Joseph Conrad Youth , A Narrative




It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted.
 –Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre




And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.
 –Ernest Hemingway




The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
–Ernest Hemingway




My mother and father are the only people on the whole planet for whom I will never begrudge a thing. Should I achieve great things, it is the work of their hands; they are splendid people and their absolute love of their children places them above the highest praise. It cloaks all of their shortcomings, shortcomings that may have resulted from a difficult life.
–Anton Chekhov




Happiness does not await us all. One needn’t be a prophet to say that there will be more grief and pain than serenity and money. That is why we must hang on to one another.
–Anton Chekhov





Now, if the principle of toleration were once admitted into classical education — if it were admitted that the great object is to read and enjoy a language, and the stress of the teaching were placed on the few things absolutely essential to this result, if the tortoise were allowed time to creep, and the bird permitted to fly, and the fish to swim, towards the enchanted and divine sources of Helicon — all might in their own way arrive there, and rejoice in its flowers, its beauty, and its coolness.
 –Harriet Beecher Stowe





Coming of age is a young person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. The age at which this transition takes place varies in society, as does the nature of the transition. It can be a simple legal convention or can be part of a ritual, as practiced by many societies. In the past, and in some societies today, such a change is associated with the age of sexual maturity (mid-adolescence); in others, it is associated with an age of religious responsibility. Particularly in western societies, modern legal conventions which stipulate points in late adolescence or early adulthood (most commonly 17, 18 and 21), at which time adolescents are generally no longer considered minors and are granted the full rights of an adult) are the focus of the transition. In either case, many cultures retain ceremonies to confirm the coming of age, and significant benefits come with the change.
–The Free Dictionary