I'm feeling very proud of myself for all of my progress with physical paper this week.
I managed to cut our family file drawers almost in half, by culling and sending to the shred pile many, many unnecessary items (last year's dental bills?!)
Also, and this was a big step, I recycled a large chunk of the files/notes from my master's degree coursework. Gulp. I still worry "But what if I neeeeed it someday?" However, as I mentioned before, I have switched careers and am pretty passionate about my new one. Also, what I recycled were hand-written notes (volumes of them, gulp) that would have needed to be scanned page by page, standing over the scanner...which was my first thought. My heart cringed from the project and then I realized I didn't really need to keep them.
All those papers represent an amazing amount of work and learning. I'd like to say all the learning is still in my brain, but as I looked through my old notes I was surprised and disappointed how much of the theory and academic vocabulary I had forgotten or relegated to the far recesses of memory. However, keeping them taking up half a standard file drawer does not make me smarter, and would not make me a better ESL teacher if I teach again one day. As Minou noted, professional and academic knowledge marches onward, and information can become outdated.
Oh, and did I mention that I have a whole shelf of language-teaching books from the program that I'm not parting with anytime soon?
So. Three grocery bags of recycling and a whole lot more space later, I'm feeling good about the decision.
Step by step.