When my 60th birthday arrived, at the end of November 2005, nothing seemed to change. I had expected some kind of rite of passage into 'Senior Citizenship' but no new ID or welcome pack arrived. As I stood in line at the theatre, I half expected a public announcement that I had come for a concessionary ticket and I felt a great sense of achievement when the girl sold me a full-priced adult ticket without blinking.
For 14 months now, I have pretended to be part of the mainstream. I've handed over the full fare on trains, bought ordinary meals and not the 'OAP special' in the local pub and my hairdresser hasn't yet offered me an appointment on 'pensioners' day' for a blue rinse. But today it all changed: I acquired my free Devon bus pass and my Senior railcard. I may not have any grey hairs yet, but boy do I feel OLD!
I'm the same age as Helen Mirren for goodnes sake, does she have a bus pass? Does she stand at the bus stop at 08.59 with all the other Senior Citizens calling out 'Am I too early .... tooearly..... twearly .... twirly?'