By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 05-10-2021
The birthday quotations on this page are themed around wisdom; thoughtful insights into the business we all share, living our lives as well as we can, regardless of age!
Where the quotation author is known, I've included their name alongside their words. If you choose to use them, please acknowledge their writer.
If you like to see how to work a quote into a speech, you'll find links to three example birthday speeches: a 40th, 50th and 18th speech at the foot of the page. The 40th and 50th have quotations woven through them.
Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.
- Erich Fromm
Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.
- Susan B Anthony
Try to keep your soul young and quivering right up to old age.
- George Sand
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.
- William Wordsworth
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
- Albert Camus
Keep true to the dream of thy youth.
- Friedrich Von Schiller
If you want to be happy, be.
- Henry David Thorreau
One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.
- Virginia Woolf
Real birthdays are not annual affairs.
Real birthdays are the days when we have a new birth.
- Ralph Parlette
There was a star danced, and under that was I born.
- William Shakespeare
Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
- Franz Kafka
When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.
- James M. Barrie
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
- Edith Wharton
Every human being on this earth is born with a tragedy, and it isn't original sin. He's born with the tragedy that he has to grow up ...a lot of people don't have the courage to do it.
- Helen Hayes
Most of us can remember a time when a birthday, especially if it was one's own, brightened the world as if a second sun has risen.
- Robert Lynd
Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.
- Lucy Larcom
Pleas'd to look forward, pleas'd to look behind,
And count each birthday with a grateful mind.
- Alexander Pope
May you live all the days of your life.
- Jonathan Swift
Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.
- Jean Paul Richter
... the birthday of my life,
Is come, my love is come to me.
- Christina Georgina Rossetti
From our birthday, until we die,
Is but the winking of an eye.
- William Butler Yeats
Sugar in the gourd and honey in the horn,
I never was so happy since the hour I was born.
The best birthdays of all are those that haven't arrived yet.
- Robert Orben
Sing a song of Birthdays,
Full of fun and cheer,
And may you keep on having them,
For many a happy year!
It is lovely, when I forget all birthdays, including my own, to find that somebody remembers me.
- Ellen Glasgow
There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get 'un-birthday' presents ... and only one for birthday presents, you know.
- Lewis Carroll
Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.
The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.
- English Proverb
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.
- Pierre Cornielle
It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.
- Margaret Mead
To see how to work a quote into the birthday speech you're preparing have a look at these.
And although I've not used any in 18th birthday speech example, but it's worth reading all the same to give another angle on how to write your speech. ☺