I mentioned in passing earlier in the week that we had donated more than fifty books to the library. Twice before this year we had already donated perhaps two hundred. We've gotten rid of many books over the past few years. In some ways this last set was like the proverbial last 20 pounds you seek to lose (or at least it was the first five of the last twenty).
Many of these books were ones I'd had for years, either which I had begun to read, then set aside, or which I intended to read but hadn't yet gotten to. Several were ones I might have expected to assign (or at least refer to) in courses I might have taught had I been hired for the interdisciplinary post I was seeking. But I wasn't offered the post, and I've applied for no further faculty positions since that interview. I've lost interest.
Purging those books from my shelves was a nod that a certain chapter in my life has ended. I am no longer a student, seeking to hold on to anything that might be useful to me down the road. Nor am I a prospective faculty member, wishing to retain on my shelves any book that might prove a boon for me or a student at some point.
I look at a field of long grass, with a scythe in hand, intent on forging a new path. Many of the tools I carried in the past will not serve me here. I need to let them go. Letting go those books was a start.