SEP 10, 2021 3:30 PM BY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
We always thought that we would continue teaching and working in our offices every day until we couldn’t any longer! After all, each fall in EPSY 407 Liz taught her students that an age-integrated life course in which education, meaningful work, and restorative leisure continually interwoven throughout adulthood is the pathway to successful aging! That leaving work at the age of 60 or 65 to embrace the next 30 years or so of leisure was neither good for the individual (who relinquished opportunities for mental and social engagement) nor for society (who lost valuable sources of knowledge and experience in the workplace). Besides, we were having a lot of fun!
But THEN on a family trip, Jean, a friend of Liz’s 93-year-old mom, asked when we were going to retire. We said something like, “Later! Much later!” She looked us each square in the eye and said, “Well, don’t wait too long. You need time to finish your education!”
Of course, being professors, we chuckled, “Ha ha! Our lives are all about education!” But something about that conversation stuck, and we started to notice just how busy we were. We started to realize how often we were passing up opportunities to reflect or to dig deeper into something we wanted to understand in order to meet the next deadline. So we started to talk more and more about what it would be like to loosen up our days just a bit.
After we completed our doctoral degrees, we both spent some time in further study as postdocs doing research. As professor emeriti, we have the opportunity to be “postprofs”! We will have a little more space to think and to wonder and to write. We will miss the day-to-day contact with colleagues and students (even though COVID prepared us, to some extent), but are thrilled to have this opportunity to continue our education!
Dan continues several of his projects related to promoting health self-care among older adults (a topic he is becoming more personally familiar with). Liz will continue her research on how literacy and other forms of mental engagement may help us keep our wits with aging (a topic of increasing personal concern). We both have a couple more years serving as journal Editors, Dan for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, and Liz for Psychology and Aging. We love life in Champaign-Urbana, so for the foreseeable future, we will be here. We will be tending our garden (the okra, eggplant, and chard were amazing this summer) and taking our kayaks out to Kickapoo State Park.
We are looking forward, especially after staying put so long for COVID, to seeing our far flung family in New Orleans, Austin, San Luis Obispo, and St. Louis, and to travel further afield (probably a return to our honeymoon spot of Santa Fe and to explore more of Scotland). Of course, we look forward to hosting an occasional department party… stay tuned! We are grateful to have had such thoughtful and energetic colleagues and know that we are leaving the department in excellent hands.