Yesterday saw me tick another year off in the calendar of my life, but while it was not what people these days coyly call a "significant" birthday, it had enough meaning for me, thank you very much.
For a start, today I am nearer 60 than 50, and it doesn't matter how much I still believe I'm young and energetic, or how much I try to resist the erosions of the ageing process, the inescapable fact is that I am now officially an old person.
Officially? How can that be so, in an era when 60 is the new 50, and so on? Well, as of yesterday I became eligible for the senior competitions at my golf club. Yes, that's right. Me. A senior! How did that happen? It wasn't that long ago that I was able to stay up all night. Now I can't stay asleep all night. Until relatively recently, I played football twice a week. Now I can pull a hamstring reaching for the TV remote. I can't read anything that's in less than foot-high capital letters. I've started taking an interest in newspaper stories about pensions. And on top of all that, passing 55 means that I can play golf with the oldies. Next stop, Saga magazine and a desire to go on a cruise around the Balearics.
It may indeed be the worst age of all: you exhibit all the signs of age, and you don't get any of the benefits. No bus pass. No concessions. No one giving their seat up for you on the Tube. The only thing that cheers me up is the thought of Donny Osmond, who was born on exactly the same day as me. "And they called it Puppy Love/Just because we're in our teens". Not any more, old son, I'm afraid.
There is a possibility that, like me, Donny will have spent yesterday pondering the iniquitous passing of the years. There he was, a ridiculously fresh-faced crooner with legions of girls responding to his every gyration with screams of delight. Today he performs for those same fans in the music halls of Las Vegas; it's just that they, like him, like me, have all got much older in the interim. Time has not been that kind to Donny, who is usually described as a "former teen idol" and whose features still betray the youthful appeal he had for millions around the world. (The Mormon forswearing of cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, tea and coffee must, you feel, have helped in this respect.)
But even though he operates in a game where age doesn't appear to be an impediment – if he's old, Mick Jagger is Prehistoric – Donny never quite managed to make the transition from boy star to mature performer. He toyed with the idea of rebranding himself – Michael Jackson once told him to change his name – but has settled, it seems, to go gentle into that good night.
I'd love to meet Donny, if only to compare notes, to commiserate with each other, and, sadly, to recognise this truth: "I guess we'll never know/How a young heart really feels" .Reuse content