I could write a nice essay about how I 'expert-matize' myself every year or so. It's a bit odious, but hey, I'm (it's why I'm) a Renaissance man! Sometimes those research binges include consumerism, sometimes not.
--D.D. Tinzeroes, personal communication
I think this is either the bullseye The Key or no more than a centimeter away. As I remember, I've had at least 10 mini-expert eras since, say, puberty, and from each of those eras I've retained a talisman. I do mean a talisman: an object holding much of the meaning and significance of the time and the person I was when that thing was so important to that Fat back in the before-now. (The magic is in the peculiar blend of context and content--a particular frame enclosing the thing on a background, which is the time, & thus I'm the thing linking the 2, constituted in part by that very relation.)
Lee Ranaldo once nailed it, declaiming laconically
borrowed and never returnedin a song whose ensconcing record I listened to nearly obsessively for a terrible winter back in my Denver days.
emotions, books, outlooks on life
And every time I did "expert-matize" myself in my field, at least so well as I could, educating myself about histories and markets, thinking hard about things themselves and turning to milieux I'd always, always always seek out...reviews. Reading a review of something with which you're already familiar is the proper approach--preferably you're in fact intimate with what's being reviewed--you're having a conversation on a topic that allows you to speak with some knowledge. Which is to say, you're becoming part of at least some sort of community.
And if that makes you want to wear a t-shirt, a badge, or adopt a uniform or whatever, I claim you've earned that.