How do we commemorate things ending? When we finish high school or college, we graduate. We get a diploma and wear a robe and funny hat. I suppose graduation ceremonies are now standard for preschool, kindergarten, and every denomination of school from then to high school, but in my day, high school was the biggie.
When a life ends—or shifts to one of existing without a corporeal body—we hold a funeral and we lay the body to rest.
When a section of Talmud is completed in traditional Jewish study, we hold a feast and celebrate.
There are so many ways different cultures commemorate things ending, but I was recently stumped when two people—one was the manager of a large watch store and the other was a woman who worked at Tiffany & Co.—asked me on the same day how I wanted to commemorate the end of The Big Bang Theory.
Why was I even in a fancy watch store and Tiffany? If you guessed that these are not places I typically frequent, you are correct. I actually had credit at both places from gifts I had received that didn’t suit me. And so there I was, in my Golden State Warriors basketball T-shirt, long skirt, and sandals, standing in stores with security guards at the door, feeling very out of place and wishing I could exit immediately upon entering.
I stayed though, and sheepishly walked about, wondering how people can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry, when I can barely find it in me to not pick loose change up when I see it on the street (I collect money in a tzedakah box and donate it yearly to a charity I choose with my boys. It adds up!).
When both the manager of the jewelry store and the nice lady at Tiffany asked what I would be choosing to commemorate the end of a huge phase of my career, I simultaneously felt caught off guard and under pressure. I had never considered buying something expensive to commemorate the end of the show. It just wasn’t on my radar. I also felt like I had to conform to some notion of what is expected of TV stars when they finish long runs of a show.
I was clueless.
My instinct was to use my credit to buy things for people I love. I am notoriously frugal and scarce with luxuries for myself, but I love making people happy, and most of the people I know (with very, very few exceptions) like fancy, luxury things. But I hesitated. I have been working hard on understanding my motivations as of late, and I realized that the end of The Big Bang Theory is a big occasion. It really is. I just finished nine years on a show that changed my life.
I let myself think about how it might be nice to have something I could look at to remind me of the show, despite every other fiber of my being thought about the homeless people sleeping on the street just a few miles from the stores I was in. I thought about how much I hate the emphasis we put on women being adorned with beautiful jewels, and how much that can perpetuate stereotypes about women and what they want. I thought about gender expectations and how I tend to wear men’s watches and dislike most delicate jewelry made for women. And I thought about the diamond industry and how I couldn’t support it.
This is how my brain works, people. All day. All night.
But in the end, I pushed those feelings aside (which also felt weird, and wrong, and sort of bad!), and used my credit for several small items because, like most eight-year-old children, I prefer LOTS OF THINGS to one super nice thing. I got a ring and three bracelets, as well as an “M” necklace. They were not terribly expensive compared to the rest of the store, so that felt like I wasn’t going too far out of my comfort zone.
I decided to work this muscle of kindness to myself—which isn’t my baseline. It’s a muscle I don’t flex a lot, but I do have a sense of accomplishment about trying something new while still remaining true to myself. I don’t know that I got over my hesitation or distaste for buying myself fancy things. I still feel weird about it if I’m being perfectly honest.
I also bought a few things for some people in my life whom I love who would appreciate this kind of fancy thing. I plan to give them joyfully and without any desire to buy people’s love. I have to be careful to not go over the top buying things for people since that’s not my role in friendships, nor should it be.
And since I am currently single, I left enough of a credit so that my possible future boyfriend—whoever and wherever he may be—can pick something out for himself. Maybe not on a first date, but perhaps on the second.