Waking up old

… and dealing with it.

Tomas Ahlbeck
3 min readJan 6, 2023
The writer in a hospital bed

One day you will wake up and realise that you have already lived close to 75 to 80 percent of your statistical life, and you, as Frank Sinatra sings, soon are facing the final curtain. What have you accomplished? What will be your legacy? And who actually cares?

Let me introduce myself. Today I am a standup comedian with Europe as my stage, but as most of you I have done a lot other things so far in my life.

In the late 1990-ies I was active in working against child abuse. I did receive some international recognition, and there even was a thank you page on internet where among others I was mentioned along with people like Ozzy Osbourne. The reaction among my friends wasn’t “good job!”. Instead there was a “Well, you’re not really at the same level as Ozzy, are you?”

In the early 2000-s I worked as communications officer and Press Secretary at our Parliament, and I have worked with similar tasks at one of the leading medical universities in Europe. Again, not “Wow, what an interesting career”, but more “OK, so you couldn’t keep a job then?”

I have also published four novels. Yeyy! Two of them are published as “print on demand” by a local printer. Comment of course, not “Oh, how cool. You’ve published a book!”, but instead “Oh, but they aren’t really real books then.” The other two are published in print and as e-books by a traditional publisher, and one even as a sound book. And all of them are available to purchase online, with ISBN, and everything. Just as any “real” book.

In my life as stand up comedian I have performed as headliner in six European countries, and performed soloshows in four. But I never really got any recognition for this in my home country. Among fellow comedians, yes. Among clubowners at the “posh” clubs in our capital, not so much. In other countries they seem to have a better understanding of the work I put in to everything I do. And while I have had a full time job and worked as a standup comedian I have been running standup clubs in several towns around Sweden. Clubs where I had as a rule that all comedians, even the open spots, should at least get travel and lodging, and there would be a mix of male and female comedians. I took money from my own pocket for this. Thanks? Nope, not once.

So, this sounds like a lot of moaning. Where do I want go with this?
Well, I have realised that I actually am old, and I have a bad health. I can stay in this world a few years more, and maybe not. It’s time to break loose from the jealousy others show. It is difficult, I know. After all, you see them as friends. But are they, really? or are they just leeches, sucking you dry of energy?

Life isn’t for ever, and even if I through the years have allowed others to drag me down for most of my grown up life, I can’t let them do it any more. Jealous people mainly are mentally small individuals that should not be allowed to suck you out of creativity and energy. It has taken me 40 years to reach that insight. I give it to you for free.

Yes, I have woken up to my age now. I will continue to do my thing. I will continue to perform in clubs where they appreciate my comedy and me as a person. There are many cities and countries left to perform in, you know. And as long as my health allows me, I will do my best to amuse audiences wherever they want me.

And if I have any message at all with this to my younger readers: don’t let the energy thieves suck you dry. Just drop them as soon as you can, don’t wait 40 years. After all, none of them will cry at your funeral anyway.

/T

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Tomas Ahlbeck

Swedish Standup comedian, writer & diabetic. Published a few books, done a few gigs. ‘Sweden’s own dirty uncle, brilliant writing and some very dark humour.”