Doing Stand-up on My 50th Birthday

My kids thought the idea hilarious but I wanted a third career

Simon Heathcote
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself
2 min readApr 26, 2023


Photo by Michel Grolet on Unsplash

I came away from it as Cinderella
adrift in their green embers
a world suddenly grown younger
hoisted into oblivion by the
tightness of their genius.
How quick they were
compared to my plodding.
Three veterans of the Edinburgh Festival
all in their twenties
fireflies zipping through stage
& auditorium, flashing quickly
into the audience.
In the green room they must
have wondered — who is this
strange old man, here to celebrate
his fiftieth birthday, alone?
I could have held two in each
palm, a third on the chin, one
eye glinting down the corridor of my past.
My children had laughed at this
insanity as they waved the car off
the road darkening
the compere an old colleague
giving me a break — first up.
It went well. Long narratives
then uproarious laughter
yet I wanted the interplay, banter
without practice, hard fantasies of
a third career. But all the well dones
& back pats said it wasn’t enough.
Time would have its way.
I felt its stone in my gut, relief at not
crawling around clubs thirty years away.
I had stood on that stage holding my
aloneness aloft, as I always have
courage victorious, nothing to prove
starkly lit by the effulgence of youth.

Copyright Simon Heathcote



Simon Heathcote
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself

Psychotherapist writing on the human journey for some; irreverently for others; and poetry for myself; former newspaper editor.