Tempus Fugit (Countdown to the Big Six-Oh Edition): Where Did the Time Go?

Image by Pavlo from Pixabay

The Relentless Flight of Time

Oh, my. Where did the time go?

I swear. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were ushering in 2023, and…poof! Suddenly it’s February 28, the last day of the second month.

And, on Sunday, March 5, I will go from being 59 years old to 60 years old.

Again…it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was 49 years old, still living in Miami and taking care of my frail, bedridden, and extremely ill mother, bickering with my older half-sister over all sorts of things, both trivial and not-so-trivial, and wondering what, exactly, would happen when Mom died.

Then, as now, I was not as excited about a “landmark” birthday as I had been before previous ones. I wasn’t as insecure as I am now about my future, of course; I assumed I’d be living in Miami still – somehow – and hoped that the strained relationship between my half-sister Vicky and me would improve. But in late February of 2013, I was physically and mentally exhausted, almost to the breaking point, whereas now I’m just…disillusioned and resigned to “whatever happens, happens.”

Fifty Years On…

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

50 years ago, my attitude about birthdays was radically different. I looked forward to it with an enthusiasm that rivaled the excitement I felt about Christmas. Turning 10 was exciting! I was growing up! I was getting an allowance! I had a girlfriend! I still had both my maternal grandparents then, even though they lived in Bogota and could only visit us every so often.

My mom’s two older siblings were still alive in 1973, and even though they, too, lived over a thousand miles away to the south, I could still look forward to seeing them, their spouses, and most of my first cousins – one of them, Mauricio, had died shortly after we’d moved back to the States – again.

As I recall, I wanted to go to Walt Disney World for my 10th birthday, but Mom couldn’t afford it. We went a couple of years later, though! Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

I don’t remember what we did for my 10th birthday. In 1973, March 5 fell on a Monday, which meant that I was in school at Tropical Elementary, mostly in Mrs. Chambers’ class in Room 29. It’s likely that Mom made me a special birthday dinner at home the previous evening and that Vicky was there. I do remember that on one occasion, my mom bought a birthday cake and took it to Tropical Elementary so we could celebrate the occasion with my friends in the Special Ed Department, but I am not sure if it was for my 10th birthday or my 11th.

(C) 1973 Topps Chewing Gum Company
One of my last happy birthdays (March 5. 2016)…I still lived in Miami then, but not for long!

I also don’t remember what presents I received, although I’m sure it was a mix of military-themed toys, packs of Wacky Packages (the first big fad I got into (and never quite let go of), books, clothes, and a modest amount of cash.

It’s possible, although I can’t be sure, that it was on my 10th birthday that I got my first owned-in-America TV set; a smallish Zenith black-and-white TV set that I owned for about a year. This is the set that I lost in the summer of 1974 to an errant lightning strike, and since I got a Rand McNally (physical relief) globe for Christmas that December, I am 99.9% sure that I got it as a birthday present because Mom would not have been able to afford a TV set, a globe, and a set of National Geographic books for one occasion.

I, of course, have more vivid memories of my 20th, 30th, and 40th birthdays, but I don’t want to spend all day writing a long autobiography, so I’ll just say that my attitudes about birthdays tend to be situational and that I looked forward to my 10th far more than I do my 60th.


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.

3 thoughts on “Tempus Fugit (Countdown to the Big Six-Oh Edition): Where Did the Time Go?

  1. After becoming adult I have not paid much attention to birthdays, they come and go 30…, 40…., 50…., I don’t remember most of them. Same with my wife. We paid attention to our kids’ birthdays, and we still do so to some degree but making a big deal about birthdays when you grow older is not our thing. My dad told me to stop congratulating him on birthdays. He told me, “at my age you should give your condolences instead”, but he said it in Swedish. We did have a significant celebration for his 65th birthday though, but that is because we visited and it is the retirement age, even though he took retirement early and was already retired for several years. I don’t remember his 60th, 70th, birthdays. I think other milestones are more important, such as a trip, getting a degree, writing a book, etc.


    1. I’m a product of my tribe (family/socio-cultural group/circle of friends), and I was raised differently. At least in my immediate family group (you know, in my pre-July 2015 reality), we celebrated birthdays and holidays because it was just “us three” (Mom, Vicky, and Yours Truly). We did this for most of my first 52 years, and even though I didn’t enjoy birthdays at ages 47 to 52), I wasn’t eager to just ignore birthdays because I’d “outgrown” them. It’s so ingrained in me, in fact, that sometimes I’ll catch myself wondering how my estranged half-sister will celebrate her upcoming 73rd birthday. Old habits, especially those related to family gatherings, are hard to break.

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