Daily emeritus life

In November 2016, I retired after more than fifty years in Academia.  I’m still doing research, but with a focus on autobiography and memoir writing. That is, I’m using my current life situation as the point of departure for my current research activities.

I’m lucky to have a formal emeritus contract with the University of Copenhagen. I’m allowed to keep my email account and can store my files on the university server. I have no administrative or teaching duties and of course no salary. So 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 my partner 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 our peaceful neighbourhood Författerkvarteret (‘The authors’ neighbourhood’) as we call it 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 use a transport bike instead.

I very much enjoy my routine intellectual life. After finishing my daily writing around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I bring Jussi home from school and spend the rest of the day with the kids. Except for routine household chores and being with my family I have very few spare time activities. To an outside observer I probably live a pretty dull daily life; the continuous drama and excitement in my life comes through reading and writing and occasional discussions on social media.

 

When I don’t work …

I spend at least an hour a day on the web, reading about and discussing world affairs and the bleak future of humankind. I’m a regular contributor to my Facebook account, but I’m not on Instagram or any other platform; until a few years ago I used Twitter (@Museionist) a lot, but grew tired of it. And I play onlines games: my favourite game right now is Slither.io — very good for training finger-brain coordination!

I watch a few series and films on Netflix and HBO, but 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 our beautiful, green neighbourhood.

I take a couple of weeks’ break from reading and writing during our annual Easter, summer, and autumn vacations,. I love to drive rental cars —I have a politically incorrect crush on SUVs — but also like to take long walks in the woods, visit museums of all kinds, discover botanical gardens and delapidated cemeteries, read staples of pulp crime novels, and try out local beer places. Or just sit outside in the evening watching the sunset.