Dave - my story is almost identical to yours.
I returned to the game at 44. Now at 46 I'm playing reasonably well. I normally play younger/fitter players and against them I win far more than I lose. Against players my own age, I do very well and when I play my junior day peers (who didn't have such a long break) I can compete (still lose) but am getting closer all the time.
I don't think you ever totally lose 'it' - you just have to find 'it' again and a decent coach is a good way to start.