Emeritus

In November 2016, I retired after more than fifty years in Academia. But I’m still doing research — now with a focus on ‘The Ageing Scholar’ project, which I present on this website.

I’m lucky to have an emeritus contract with the University of Copenhagen, which means that I can keep my former email account and have all my files on the university servers. But I don’t have to teach anymore and I have no administrative duties (and of course no salary). So basically, I’m now a free-floating intellectual in the sense of Karl Mannheim.

My routine life in Valby

I work 5-6 hours a day, Monday through Friday, at home in our small house in Valby (in the outskirts of Copenhagen), where I live together with Anna and our two children, Johanna (born 2008) and Jussi (born 2011). (My oldest daughter from an earlier marriage lives in Switzerland with her husband and two children.) Our neighbourhood is called Författerkvarteret (‘The Authors’ Neighbourhood’), because the two main streets are named after the famous 19th century Scandinavian authors Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsson and August Strindberg. We don’t have a car, but a transport bike.

I enjoy my homely routine intellectual work life immensely. After finishing my daily writing around 3 pm, including a break for lunch and the Swedish radio news at 12:30 pm, I pick the kids up from school and spend the rest of the day with my family, routine household chores. and my few spare-time activities.

My personality

After having taken some online psychological tests, I’m convinced that I have a pretty introverted personality (but I have learnt to hide it and sometimes behave as if I were an extrovert):

I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with. I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act. Ideas are almost solid things for me. Sometimes I like the idea of something better than the real thing (quoted from here).

This is probably why I prefer to read, think and write about my life — and about autobiography, memory, self-therapy, and graceful ageing — instead of just doing all the fun extroverted activites that senior citizens are supposed to do together.

I think that’s about it.

Time off from writing

The only time offs from my daily writing are my family, Facebook, and Netflix. I spend at least an hour a day on Facebook discussing university politics, world affairs and the bleak future of humankind with intelligent people from all walks of life. Social media provide an opportunity to engage with other free-floating minds in a more serious and truly cross-disciplinary way than the university ever did.

I never watch the telly, never go to concerts or theatres, rarely go the cinema, and try to avoid downtown Copenhagen. I have no urge to paint, make furniture, or take care of the garden. Nor do I engage in any kind of sports (hey, healthy ageing!?); however, I do some press-ups to improve my muscle strength, and I also take a daily brisk walk in our beautiful, green neighbourhood.

On annual summer vacations with my family, I take a 3-4 weeks break from writing altogether. Then I ride a rental car, take long walks, sit in cafés, visit museums, cemeteries and botanical gardens, do 1000 piece puzzles, and read staples of pulp detective stories.