William Fulco, 81

Loyola Marymount University

Title: National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Studies

Background: A Jesuit priest who has translated ancient languages for films

and books.

How many hours a week do you work?

Usually about 50. No matter what time I go to bed, usually around 10:30 to 11, I am always up at 5 and over in my office by 7:30. I frequently work in the evening.

Why not retire?

No reason to. I still have the energy and interest. There are several research projects in my computer which I wish to update, finish, and see through to publication.

Does your family want you to retire?

I’m a Catholic (Jesuit) priest, so no immediate family. My Jesuit colleagues are somewhat surprised that I am still at it, but no one has suggested that I retire.

Best part of working past 80? Worst?

Best: Staying alive and involved and still learning. Worst: People are hesitant to include me in their plans for the future for fear I might not make it.

Are you up to date on technology?

Very much so. I am very computer literate, and I enjoy keeping up with new electronic matters. My android cellphone’s apps get a real workout. I am plugged into Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

What is the best advice you ever got?

You know what you can’t do. Figure out what you can do, then do it.

What advice would you give to people who want to work well past 65?

Keep at it, but don’t stop learning. Don’t sit on past laurels. When I get together with my age peers, I don’t like to reminisce about the past. That always seems like a characteristic of folks who have ended productive life. I like to talk about the present and the trajectory of present events.

What’s the secret to staying healthy and active?

Love. Really that simple. Be intensely involved in the lives of others, listen to them, learn from their lives, affirm them. If you are a loner, you’re doomed.

Do you work as much as you used to in your 40s and 50s?

More! I may not do it as fast, but I probably do it more accurately. Or maybe it just seems that way because it takes me longer to do it.

How has your work routine changed?

Not very much. I’m a man of structure. Folks joke that they can set their clock by what I’m doing.

What do you miss the most about being young?

I had more energy. I think I also miss planning (usually it wasn’t realistic) big things in my future, daydreaming.

What do you see in the future?

I don’t see into the future much – I’m too busy. As it is, I’ve been diagnosed with a malady (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) that statistics tell me should have killed me at least three or four years ago, but here I am. But that reality does drive me to pay more attention to and relish the present.

– Paul Eakins

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