Friday, January 15, 2016

Birthday Boy

I love birthdays. Some people get a little squirrely and what not, but I think they're gifts. Today was a great day. The only birthday I struggled with was my 25 and I don't remember why. But that was a lifetime ago.

Today I celebrate my 65 birthday and it's been a great day. We ran out after lunch and the clouds were grey, but I took my sunglasses. It's a good thing I did because the rain clouds parted (for a while) and the sun came out for just for me.  I snapped the picture below during the respite...but I digress.

I'm not sure what it is about birthdays that makes people dread them. In thinking about what to say tonight, I thought of a poem that Jilda told me about entitled Ithaka. It's a Greek poem with a beautiful twist. It was read at Jackie Kennedy Onassis' funeral. I hope you'll take a moment and read it.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.

May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


  1. It makes me feel so much better knowing you are two days older than I. Just to let you know I understand you, I knew exactly what you meant when you said, "We ran out after lunch ..." I knowed you went off or just outside! My Grandson from Utah, never understands that stuff.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY my friend and I hope it is the best yet. I am glad you and Jilda enjoy life.
    Age, thinking back, I was already shooting marbles when you was born.
    I did enjoy the poem, I also understand it. I want to enjoy a long journey to Ithaka. SWEET Hug Jilda for us!

  2. Happy Birthday, Rick!!!

  3. Happy Birthday, Rick!!!

  4. Another happy birthday as you travel along the road to Ithaka...

    Ms Soup

  5. That is a great poem. I too had a bit of trouble with my 25th birthday... I was a quarter of a century old. Of course I was pregnant and swollen to twice the size a person should ever be. I'm certain my hormones had nothing whatsoever to do with my feelings. I proudly tell my age (68). I have earned every second and I intend to get credit for it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  6. Happy Birthday Rick... I use to dread birthdays today I celebrate them too. The poem is love and thought provoking, I think or hope people get to the point that they know material items won't bring real wealth xox

  7. Birthdays are wonderful and I wish you the best! Happy Birthday !

  8. Happy Birthday Rick. You are now a Bonafide Senior. Here at 65, we get our Old Age Security cheque.
    Enjoy your your long journey.

  9. I have never regretted a birthday but the hump over the half like 26,36,46, made me feel funny. But if I had a number, I like 32. but now that Im 46 (soon to be 47) I say I love the 40's so I hope I can say the same for the 50, 60 and 70's.
    Happy Birthday Rick

  10. In the seventh grade, there was a poster on the wall that said "Life is a journey, not a destination." I think I understand what that means now.
    Happy Birthday and many more!

  11. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Age is just a number, Rick--pick whatever one pleases you. Here's how I handle it: My youngest son was 52 last year. I am 36. The best way to explain this anomaly is to tell you about something that I read in one of Kirk Douglas’ books. A “senior” movie actress was being interviewed. The reporter said, “Forgive me, Madame, but I have to ask. Your son (who was also a star) admits to being 56. You claim to be 63. How can this be?” Her answer (& mine): “He has his life—I have mine!”

    Loved the poem--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

  12. Birthdays are glorious and it sounds like you had a great day. I have to read this poem more than once to get it into my thick skull.

  13. Best wishes on your 65th year, Rick. I gather the voyage to Ithaka is mainly nautical, but since leaving that interesting age behind my birthday last month, I conclude it involves Route 66 as well.


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