01/25/2013 at 02:00 PM EST
Being diagnosed with terminal cancer
has given actor and musician Wilko Johnson the desire to finally stop and smell the roses.
The Game of Thrones
actor, 65, who is aware "death is upon me," tells U.K. Radio 4's Front Row
that upon hearing the news of his condition, he left the doctor's office and oddly felt "an elation of spirit."
Says Johnson, "You're walking along and suddenly you're vividly alive. You're looking at the trees and the sky and everything, and it's just, 'Whoa. I am actually a miserable person.' I've spent most of my life moping in depressions and things, but this has all lifted."
Johnson's illness was announced earlier this month. His manager wrote a Facebook
post explaining, "[Wilko] has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy."
The actor and longtime musician plans to make the most of his opportunities before he dies. In fact, he currently has a series of concerts
, which he's billing as a farewell tour, scheduled for February and March in France and in the U.K.
"I'm not going to go on stage looking ill," he says. "I don't want to present a sorry spectacle. This position I'm in is so strange. ... I'm not hoping for a miracle cure or anything. I just hope it spares me long enough to do these gigs, then I'll be a happy man."