As I get older, the list of areas of knowledge that interest me and the list of books I want to read get longer and longer, and the free time at my disposal gets shorter and shorter. When I was still a graduate student, I felt I did not have enough time for reading, but in retrospect, I had far more free time back then, compared to what I have now.
There is another fundamental difference between these two periods of my academic life. As I did not have to teach back then, my intellectual "savings" account saw only inflow of knowledge but little outflow. But since I started teaching in the university, outflow of knowledge seems to be exceeding its inflow more and more. These days I feel as if I were living largely on the intellectual "savings" I had made as a graduate student. And my "savings" account is not inexhaustible.
Our brain is like our body in that both need constant nutrition just to keep their status quo. But the former never gets "fat" unlike the former. Overeating is harmful to our body, but it is a must for our brain if we are to achieve something intellectually outstanding.
At this age of mine I already know my own intellectual (and other) limitations, but I would like to do whatever I can within these limits. For this purpose I must see to it that inflow of knowledge into my intellectual "savings" account exceeds its outflow. The only possibility for this change of "balance" in my account on the horizon seems to be a sabbatical, in which we are not expected to make any "expenditure". I only hope that there will remain enough "balance" in my "savings" account until I get my first sabbatical, hopefully in the academic year 2012/2013.