Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#ODP17: October Dress Project 2017

Since 2012, I've participated in the October Dress Project, with the exception of last year. (I was starting a new job and didn't think wearing the same day for my first 30 days would make the right impression.)

The October Dress Project (ODP) motto is "anti-consumerism, pro-simplicity, anti-conformity, pro-imagination." For 31 straight days, one wears the same dress (washing it often, yes), using imagination to keep it looking different each day. I've always enjoyed the challenge, but this year it was a lot harder. It was fun, but my heart just wasn't in it, and I don't know if I'll do it again after this. I skipped a few weekend days this month for various reasons, though I diligently wore it to work every day. Still, I want to recap my month of anti-materialism and think on any lessons I learned.

In all the other years, I felt I really learned something new during ODP. I think some of that came out of blogging every day or so; I would post a picture of the outfit then find something to write about to go along with it. I think the regular writing helped develop some lessons throughout the month. This year, however, other than posting daily in the ODP Facebook group, I didn't really want to post selfies every day for a month, so I didn't blog daily either.

Even still, I feel like this year, more than any other year, I really grasped the idea of anti-consumerism with this project. Most years, I've bought a dress specifically for ODP. This year, I realized how much that went against the whole idea of anti-consumerism in the first place, so I went closet shopping instead. I chose a gray dress from the back of my closet that I love but didn't wear often. It's a great dress to make The Dress - it's the right length, it fits nicely. (It's also very thick, I discovered, making it difficult to tuck into trousers and wear as a shirt.) Furthermore, I decided not to spend money on accessories for The Dress. I don't think I bought any all month, except a scarf that was in the $2 bin at Walmart. I just wore what I already had and made the most of it. Wasn't that supposed to be the point all along?

(I did take most of the weekends off. One weekend I was backpacking. Another I was cleaning a lot. I can't really account for every excuse I had over the four weekends of October, but I had them, and they generally weren't that good. But as for work days, I was pretty diligent.)

Besides some small lessons in anti-consumerism, did I learn anything else this time around? In past years, my new "theme" for the upcoming year generally emerged from ODP - simplicity, satisfaction, balance, etc. Did a theme emerge this year?

Maybe not directly due to ODP, I think a theme I've found myself revisiting lately is satisfaction. Being satisfied not so much with what I have which is how I approached it last time, but by what I am. And where I am. Too often I feel unsatisfied with who I am, how I am, what I am, where I am. I'm always striving to be something bigger, something better - to be somewhere bigger and better. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when that means I'm never actually satisfied in the moment with myself, then I'm never going to enjoy the journey I'm taking as I move towards achieving those goals.

Live in the moments, I guess. Be satisfied with the now. Love myself for who I am today as well as who I'm hoping to become tomorrow. Love where I'm at today, and stop living only for the future. Perhaps there's even a little lesson in patience waiting there for me.

Satisfaction and patience. I think those sound like themes I could strive to live by for the next 12 months!

And who knows, maybe by the time next October rolls around, I'll be up for doing this project a 6th time. We'll see.

For those of you interested, enjoy the photos below!

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