“I do not miss performing. I have always been a writer first. I often took a sneak peak into the auditorium before going onstage and listened to all those excited people and wondered what they were actually there for. To us, after about ten performances, it was just a question of constantly repeating yourself. On the other hand: I never get tired of writing, my energy and curiosity in this is endless. Will I watch Eurovision? I’ll decide on the night. I sometimes skip a year … or three.”
Recently he has been in the news after saying he would prefer euthanasia to long term suffering. Is death on his mind?
“I am always thinking about it, not dying, but having no control over it. It started when I was on a flight from Paris to Stockholm. Twenty minutes before we would land, one engine gave out. I tried to remind myself that the plane could easily land with only one engine, no reason for panic. But my body believed anything, except that!! I got a full on panic attack that I could not control. It was remarkable how physical this panic was. Almost as if I was split in two. On one side the cold sweat trickled over my body, but at the same time I was completely lucid and able to think logically. Later I realised that the fear stemmed from the fact that I had no control over my own death. I also suddenly realised that my end was coming nearer, whether I would die on that plane or not. That was a scary realisation. My whole life had bean like an open hooded cabrio: The Sky is the Limit. Now I begun to think: maybe I should not plan so far ahead anymore. Maybe I would not see so many summers anymore.
Thankfully I was able to stop this panic when I joined an existential and philosophical therapy group. It is based on the thoughts of Sartre and Kierkegaard. It helps you to understand what you do with your life in a way that does justice to your talents and what you want to do with them.
The last few years we have met in a garden arbor every Tuesday. We talked about life and death. It helped me understand my feelings and to deal with the fears of what might be.”
“I now feel a lot better, because I don’t worry about unimportant things anymore. I’m fine with being 70, but I’m far too much of a child to be such a huge age. I’m always surrounded by young people and they forget about the age gap after we start talking. I have always changed my personality throughout life, the same way your body regenerates its cells. When my parents had the age I have now, things were different. Your life seemed to stop when you reached your pension. Compared to my father, my life is quite the opposite. These days we work in a much more energetic and healthy way. When I was younger I was constantly pressured to prove how good I was, to prove my worth and merit. Thankfully I have left all that behind me now. I’m free to do what I want.”