Daily emeritus life

After more than half a century in Academia, I retired from the University of Copenhagen in November 2016. I’m still doing historical research, but now with a focus on autobiography and memoirs.

I have a formal emeritus contract with the university — I’m allowed to keep my email account, I can store my files on the university server, and I have access to scholarly journals and books at the university library. In return, my publications contribute to the department’s productivity scores. I have no administrative or teaching duties (and of course no salary).

In other words, I’m a free-floating intellectual. I work five-six hours a day in the weekdays, until our kids come home from school (well, now our daughter works from home during the corona pandemic). Weekends I try (read: try) to stay away from work.

I sleep a lot — I need at least eight hour per night to be able to get through the day. But I rarely take a nap.

My family and home

I live with my partner Anna (who works at the Danish IT University) and our two children, Johanna (born 2008) and Jussi (born 2011), in a small house in Valby, a few kilometers from the Copenhagen downtown area. We also have two twin cats, Tiger and Silke.

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 it’s called because the two main streets are named after the famous late 19th century Scandinavian authors Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsson and August Strindberg.

We don’t have a car, but use a transport bike instead.

When I don’t work …

My daily life probably looks pretty dull to an outside observer. The drama and excitement in my life comes through reading and writing and occasional discussions on social media. I’m also 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.

In addition to being on social media, doing routine household chores (I’m the family’s sustainable dishwasher) and being with my family, I have a few spare time activities. I’m streaming quite a lot of series and films on Netflix and HBO (I like documentaries and crime investigations). I also play onlines games: my favourite game right now is Slither.io (very good for training finger-brain coordination!). I never watch flow tv, never go to the theatre or concerts, almost never to the cinema, and I try to avoid downtown Copenhagen (also before the covid-19 crisis).

And I don’t have any urge to do art, listen to or make music. I wouldn’t dream of taking up a hobby, or take care of the garden (though I love sitting in gardens). 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 do take a daily 45 minutes brisk walk in our beautiful, green neighbourhood.

I use to take a couple of weeks break from reading and writing during our annual Christmas, Easter, summer, and autumn vacations. I love driving 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 Swedish pulp crime novels, and explore interesting microbreweries. Or just sit outside in the evenings watching the sunset. During our vacations I like to sleep for 9-10 hours and wake up late in the mornings.