by Father Mark Goldasich
The date this issue comes out, Nov. 20, marks a milestone birthday for me. I can’t believe that I’m already 30 years old!
OK, would you believe 40? How about 50? All right, all right, this birthday I celebrate the 30th anniversary of my turning 30. Holy moly. Where have the years — and my hair and my svelte figure — gone?
I know I’m getting older because I now find myself paying a lot closer attention to those commercials for Medicare supplement plans. I also know the years are accumulating since I sound more and more like a breakfast cereal when I get out of bed: snap, crackle, pop.
And it doesn’t help that other people perceive you as older as well. The young people at the parish seem amazed that I have a computer and know how to use it. They are even more astounded that I have an iPhone and even text. (If I were on my phone now, I’d be typing SMH, “shaking my head.”)
I’m pretty adept, if I must say so, about using abbreviations when I text, like LOL (laugh out loud), ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing), OMG (oh my goodness), BTW (by the way), IMHO (in my humble opinion) and TTYL (talk to you later). Apparently, though, now that I’m 60, I’ll have to learn a whole new set of abbreviations when texting fellow “senior citizens.”
Here are a few of the “elder codes”:
- ATD (at the doctor)
- BFF (best friend fell)
- BTW (bring the wheelchair)
- BYOT (bring your own teeth)
- CBM (covered by Medicare)
- CRS (can’t remember stuff)
- FWIW (forgot where I was)
- GHA (got heartburn again)
- GOML (get off my lawn)
- IMHO (is my hearing-aid on?)
- LMDO (laughing my dentures out)
- LWO (Lawrence Welk’s on)
- OMMR (on my massage recliner)
- ROFLACGU (rolling on floor laughing and can’t get up)
- SUS (speak up, sonny)
- TTYL (talk to you louder)
- WIWYA (when I was your age)
Seriously, the way I’m approaching this birthday is with a great deal of laughter and a generous helping of gratitude. Each birthday gives me a chance to reflect. I am so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people: co-workers at The Leaven and the parish, friends, parishioners and family. I find myself grateful for health, the freedom to go from place to place, having a roof over my head and food to eat. It’s said that the older you get, the less things you want (or need) and the more you savor people and experiences. That’s certainly true for me. And even the difficult times or situations are now seen as opportunities to learn, grow and become humbler.
The newspaper obits are a reminder that often people don’t even make it to my age. That’s why each day is to be treated as a gift — something to appreciate and to use well.
On this milestone birthday, can I ask for a gift from you? If you have a few minutes, would you say the following birthday prayer for me? Because it’s written by Father Ed Hays from the archdiocese, the prayer is also for you. And, maybe when you know of someone’s birthday in your family or circle of friends, or see a notification of a person’s special day on Facebook, how about offering this prayer below for them as well? (Naturally, put their name in in place of mine!)
“Lord of Life, as we celebrate this traditional feast in honor of when Mark was your gift to his parents and to the world, we ask of you a blessing.
Bless Mark and each of us with wisdom, the wisdom that you shared with your clever son Pablo Picasso, artist and lover of life, who said: ‘It takes a long, long time for one to become young.’
Make us younger on each birthday. Awaken within us the child who is so often asleep with shame. Open our eyes to wonder and awe; delight our hearts with amazement and playfulness.
May candles burn bright on this feast, as signs of the fire of life that burns today, on this birthday, and on every day — for all days and all eternity in the heart of Mark and in each of our hearts.
Lord of birthdays and festivals, dance on our roof and join us with your divine mirth. So be it! Amen!” (Found in “Prayers for the Domestic Church.”)
I can’t resist one last thought from the late comedian Bob Hope: “You know you’re getting older when the candles cost more than the cake.”