I bought a travel beverage container earlier this year. I almost didn't purchase it at the grocery store because of its cost (too much!) and its brand name (too make-fun-of-able!) As I left for work the next morning, I held it in my left hand up above my head and said aloud, "I've arrived." Then I laughed out loud at the absurdity, broad smile across my face.
I bought a vacuum cleaner with my tax return this year. Almost didn't purchase it because of the price (way too much!) and the utility of it (why should I purchase a machine to care for someone else's carpet?! I'll just pay someone else to clean it later!) Then I put it together and stood with it assembled at my side. I smiled and felt like I'd won a prize.
These material items, while meaningless in the sense that material items degrade over time and fade by definition, also symbolize a lot, and in that sense they are meaningful. They also provide functional uses that help me feel more comfortable in my physical existence. It feels nice to have my own coffee cup. I like the feeling of clean carpet under my feet.
This year, I bought a coffee cup and a vacuum cleaner, and then a short time later I started a new job with all men in a new-to-me part of the information technology field. It's taking a lot of deep breaths for me to feel confident in this new environment.
All of my team members are at least nine years older than I am. Some of them are likely 30 years older. They are mostly respectful and considerate. They tend to make fun of each other a lot, and I notice that most of them express insecurity in different forms. A couple of them have said things that prefaced me feeling uncomfortable or weird. I'm considering whether and how to discuss this with two of them.