2016: A Year Without Shopping
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Health and Wellness

2016: A Year Without Shopping

My year without new clothes.

2016: A Year Without Shopping

I'm one of those few, unfortunate people who actually like New Year's Resolutions. I remember as a kid I resolved to not drink soda for a year. After that successful year, I have tried to challenge myself with something each January. It helps me mark that year with distinction, and dare myself to grow in a different way.

I've read the Bible in a year. I've made an effort to reconnect with a childhood friend. When I was younger I even made an objective to brush my teeth more regularly--I had to set the goal to make it happen. This past year, 2016, I resolved to not buy any clothes.

I felt convicted by how many clothes I had. I'm a thrifter, and I tend to just buy a cheap t-shirt or skirt at a garage sale because it's a quarter. Even if I don't love it, even if my sisters laugh at the idea of me wearing it. It's a problem. I also simply didn't know what it's like to not be able to restock my closet at a whim. I'd spend money too frivolously. And I didn't like how emotionally connected I was to buying and wearing new clothes. I felt such a needto be accepted, to be trendy. I set a goal of no shopping to challenge these habits and ideas.

**full disclosure: I didn't set up many parameters. If I needed something, I would buy it, but I was not allowed to shop just because I wanted to. I ended up buying a few running clothes for summer, some underwear, and my cross-country team's Christmas sweater. Clothing as gifts were accepted as well.**

Now, with the majority of 2016 behind me, I can see how this resolution challenged the way I think about self-image and clothing.

New clothes don't change the way I feel about myself. I remember a few years ago seeing a pair of shoes that I thought would change my life. If I became the kind of person that rocks these shoes, it would cause a domino affect on my life. I thought if I wore them, I'd wear a top-notch outfit to match. Suddenly, I would be fashionable, I'd have a good thing going for me, and everything else would fall into place. This, sadly, is not an exaggeration. I remember all of this charging through my brain as this singular idea became clear: I need these.

I bought those shoes; I still have them. Guess what? My life is still pretty messy. I rarely wear them; they're actually kind of uncomfortable.

2016 brought me sighing at my closet several times, wishing I had something new to wear. Because of my resolution, however, I had to put on an old dress for church, or a worn sweater in a color that I didn't think was particularly flattering anymore. I found that even in these clothes, I could feel good about myself, confident.

It was also easier to give up shopping than I thought it would be. Sure, if I somehow ended up in my favorite store with my sister it was still slightly agonizing, but I had a peace about it. This year, I wasn't concerned about acquiring the clothes I thought would make me happy. I was intentionally depriving myself of that luxury, and I thought about it less. Maybe I was addicted, maybe I was obsessed, with the idea of always improving my appearance. Now I realize what I bought did little to change that, and I had been unable to be satisfied.

This year of no shopping I learned to be content with what I have. I took on this challenge for myself just to try something new, to do something I didn't think I was able to. But I learned to be satisfied, and to put less emotional pressure on my shopping experience.

As I think about 'getting back out there' and shopping again, I'll be honest, I feel intimidated. I don't know what to expect, maybe I'll go crazy. I hope my contentment will carry on, through my ability to buy. I hope this year of experience will give me wisdom as I shop for myself. I hope to remember how little I worried this year about what I do not have, how serene it felt to be satisfied with what I do.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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