Counting Down to the ‘Big Six-Oh’ (With Some Ambivalence), or, The Year of Many Anniversaries

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock: Countdown to the Big Six-Oh (And Other Anniversary Dates)

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Well, it’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida, on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, which means I only have slightly less than 26 days until I say goodbye to my 50s and say hello to being 60 on March 5.

As I’ve said in previous posts about the “Big Six-Oh,” I have conflicted feelings about this “landmark birthday.” It will be the first such occasion that I observe – “celebrate” doesn’t quite fit my feelings about it – without either my mother (who died eight years ago) or my half-sister (from whom I am currently estranged). It’s also the third birthday I celebrate without a “significant other,” a fact that I have come to terms with, yet still feel unhappy about.

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And, of course, it comes at a time when I am staring at having to move – for the second time in seven years – and adjust to living semi-independently. (I say semi-independently because I’ll be renting, not buying, a house, and the landlords will check the property often.) Again, I have mixed feelings about moving – I hate seeing my stuff being placed in boxes and transported from one location to another – but I am hopeful that some aspects of my life will improve as a result.

In any case, even if 2023 wasn’t my 60th year on Earth, it would still be full of anniversaries of import to me, ranging from the significant (I graduated from high school in June of 1983) to the trivial (such as the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, or the 30th anniversary of my last overseas trip).

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For instance, in three weeks it will be 40 years since CBS broadcast Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen, the two-and-a-half-hour series finale of M*A*S*H (February 28, 1983).

Not only did that feature-length episode end the TV depiction of the Korean War, but it also closed out the entire series which had been broadcast since 1972. At the time, Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen was the most-watched single episode of any TV show in history. Even today it is still among the highest-rated non-sports related broadcasts in history.  

And, as I mentioned earlier, Return of the Jedi premiered on Wednesday, May 25, 1983. School was still in session on that day (commencement was still several weeks away), but I was determined to see Jedi on Opening Day, a feat I had not achieved when the two previous chapters of the original Star Wars trilogy came out.

Luckily, by 1983, many of my friends either owned or had access to cars (usually a parent’s second car), so as soon as the last bell rang on that Wednesday in May of 1983, my friend Richard de la Pena (who, sadly, died in 2007) and I managed to get a ride from the South Miami Senior High campus to the Dadeland Triple Theater in time to get tickets for the 4 PM showing.

I’ll probably cover some of the 2023 anniversary dates at the appropriate time. For now, though, these will do.


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

13 thoughts on “Counting Down to the ‘Big Six-Oh’ (With Some Ambivalence), or, The Year of Many Anniversaries

  1. I think I’ve told you my RotJ story in the past. I scheduled my road test for my license the same day, so I was out of school for the day already. Passed my road test then had to take the bus to the movie theater (we were a one-car family) and saw the film. No problem with crowds, because, like you said, it was during the day and most people were working or in school.

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    1. When school let out at 2:30 PM and my friend Richard and I miraculously got a ride to Dadeland, there was already a blocks-long line to get tickets. I was resigned to waiting in line, but Richard suggested that since he was in a wheelchair, the management might, just maybe, let us get tickets and allow us inside. It wasn’t a terribly hot day, but it was almost June, so I wasn’t looking forward to standing in line for a long while, so I agreed.

      To my surprise, Richard was right; the manager (who was at the door because one of the local TV stations (WTVJ-4) had a crew there and the reporter was interviewing moviegoers off to one side) did look at us and told the girl at the box office to let us in. I should have felt at least a bit guilty about this, but I just counted myself to be lucky that we had avoided the long line and would see the movie from start to finish without missing even the trailers.

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  2. Alex, have no fear! You still have a third, or maybe more, of your life ahead. 🙂 Physically, aging can be a pain, but there are many compensations and more time for adventures! Enjoy! Robert and I met almost nine years ago on Plenty of Fish. He was 66 and I was 65. We both feel lucky to have found each other! Go for it! ❤ Happy birthday!

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