It was my birthday last week. Yep, sixty-one and still kickin’! I like birthdays, even at this age. My mother taught my brother and me that it was a wonderful tradition to celebrate one’s birth. It’s a tradition that lives on in our family.
I decided to give myself a gift and, just because I can, take the day off. I planned a perfect day: latte and a treat for breakfast at my favorite bakery, a long jaunt at the beach with my dear husband and faithful dog, and perhaps an uninterrupted afternoon where all I had to do was listen to good music while I finished up an art project. (My husband had already told me where he was taking me for dinner.) It looked like the weather would even cooperate. Yep, sixty-one and still kickin’. Things looked promising.
Of course, my sensibilities finally kicked in. As cavalier as I wanted to be, there was still a deadline to meet; a column had to be written before my birthday if I was to have a perfectly guilt-free celebration.
I started thinking about all of the many different ways people react to their birthdays: kids adore them; college kids can’t, and generally don’t, wait for the Big 21; forty year olds fear they are ancient; and how many different people my age lie and fib how old they really are?
Curious, I googled “birthday quotes” and there were enough of them to express each and every sentiment. Then it hit me, another gift. I’d cheat (!) a bit on this column and share some of my favorite quotes on age and birthdays with you. In no real particular order of importance, here goes:
“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” Franz Kafka
“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.” French proverb“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished a how much he had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain
“Getting old ain’t for sissies.” Bette Davis
“I remember when the candle shop burned down. Everyone stood around singing “Happy Birthday”. Author Unknown
“Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” Fred Astaire
“We are always the same age inside.” Gertrude Stein
“There was a star danced, and under that was I born.” William Shakespeare
“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” George Santayana
“Everything I know I learned after I was thirty.” Georges Clemenceau
“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh yourself.” Ethel Barrymore
“Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Jack Benny
“The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.” Oscar Wilde
“Pleas’d look forward, pleas’d to look behind, and count each birthday with a grateful mind.” Alexander Pope
“To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
And finally, the one I have come to really appreciate with age, is of course, the one my father always recited on his birthdays: “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Maurice Chevalier
Here’s wishing each and every one of you a Happy Birthday, whenever that might be!