Daily emeritus life

In November 2016, I retired after more than fifty years in Academia.  I’m still doing research, however, but now with a focus on the ageing academic and academic memoir writing. In other words, I’m using my current life situation as the point of departure for my emeritus research.

I’m lucky to have a formal emeritus contract with my former school (University of Copenhagen). I’m allowed to keep my email account and can keep my files on the university servers. I have no administrative or teaching duties, however, and of course no salary. Basically, I’m a free-floating intellectual.

I work at home five-six hours a day, Monday through Friday, in our little house on Strindbergsvej in Valby a few kilometers from the Copenhagen city center. I live there 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.) I love my peaceful neighbourhood, Författerkvarteret (‘The Authors’ Neighbourhood’), so called 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 very much enjoy my routine intellectual life. After finishing the daily writing around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I bring Jussi home from school and spend the rest of the day with him and his sister. I have very few spare time activities, except routine household chores and being with my family. In other words, for an outside observer I probably live a pretty dull daily life; the continuous drama and excitement in my life comes through reading and writing.

 

When I don’t work …

I spend at least an hour a day on the web, including social media, reading about and discussing world affairs and the bleak future of humankind with  ‘friends’. I’m a regular contributor to my Facebook account, but I’m currently not on Instagram or any other platform; until a few years ago I used Twitter (@Museionist) a lot, but not any more. 

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

On our annual Easter, summer, and autumn vacation, however, I take a couple of weeks’ break from reading and writing altogether. I love to drive rental cars (I have a secret crush on SUVs), and I like to take long walks in the woods, sit in small cafés, visit museums of all kinds, discover botanical gardens and delapidated cemeteries, and read staples of pulp crime novels. Or just sit outside in the evening watching the sunset.