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Meet our Members

David Strobel

David Strobel

How long have you been retired from the University?

I retired the first time in 2008 … came back for a year because they didn’t have a replacement.

What was the most surprising or unexpected aspect of your transition to retirement?

I wasn’t prepared for what occurred physically.  I think we hold ourselves all together while we are still working, and then can sort of fall apart physically after retirement.  This is one of the dilemmas … do you retire early when you are physically fit or wait until you have the funds.  You should be careful about your health insurance and be sure you won’t have to rely solely on generic brands of drugs for affordability.

What is one habit of yours that is helping you age successfully?

I already had things that I enjoy doing to keep me active, and had been thinking about the things I wanted to do … and was already doing them before I retired.  That way you don’t wake up one morning – retired – and have no idea what you want to do for fun … golfing, skiing, curling, whatever it is … take more time off while you are still working and do those things you enjoy.  I feel fortunate that my wife and I started early in our marriage to get involved in breed rescue of bloodhounds.  It was a core investment that transferred easily into our collective retirements.

Do you find that you express your creativity differently or more frequently since you’ve retired?

As a University administrator, I didn’t make as much time to do creative things as I should have and I recommend that you take more time off when you are working to do things you enjoy.  Match what you love with things that are creative and stimulating … I now enjoy painting and 3-d printing and working with kids and technology … I’m also involved with robotics.

What do you do to stay (socially) engaged and connected?

I come from a long line of curlers … grew up in Wisconsin, and my entire family was involved with curling.  It’s what many farmers in the State did in the winter, and I did it as a kid in high school.  Now I play in a league and teach curling… I have been involved in teaching more than 1300 curlers in just this last year.  It is a great way to give back and build the sport for the future.  I am also involved with being a friend to international students through the Missoula International Friendship Program … assisting them to make adjustments to being here and providing an opportunity for community friends to experience and learn about different cultures  …

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I started a line of primate research on animal cognition in the 1980’s.  I trained monkeys to control a joystick to move a pacman icon around a computer screen so as to forage for food rewards.  Strangely, the first publication announcing this research appeared in Playboy Magazine.  The article included a drawing of a monkey riding a joy stick…  Needless to say, I never cited the resource on my resume…

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone considering retirement, what would it be?

It’s the timing … retirement comes down on you very fast.  For most of our careers we see it as far away.  Planning is really key … you need to sit down and have a discussion with your colleagues and talk about it.  What is retirement but so much freedom!  Time management … take time to sit and experiment.  Allocate your time carefully.  If you are a faculty, take some time away – a sabbatical – and use that time to develop things to teach that are creative and experimental.  Figure out how to balance a whole life and don’t just dedicate your life to one thing.  Figure out your interests and do the planning … what is your intrinsic motivation and values?  Learn to say “no thank you.” What makes you happy?  Practice it early and often.