Friday, October 23, 2009

Long overdue closure

One week from now will mark a full year since my last post. I've bought a number of things since then, but in keeping with my original intentions—despite many gracious emails from readers—I decided to stop the project after its first year. The timing happened to coincide with a number of life changes over the next year that would have made the project even more difficult(and frustrating) to continue. I decided in the beginning that if this ever became more of a burden than a pleasure, I would stop.

I did however continue saving tags, receipts, and packages for months, just in case I had a change of heart and decided to continue cataloging my purchases. After a year of meticulously keeping track of everything I bought, it was hard to alter those habits, even though, for the most part, they are good habits to have. Being aware of what we buy, why we buy it, where it comes from, and where it goes when we are done, are things we should all consider when making purchases.

Through this project and my thoughts on consumerism I was able to meet Rob Walker (who interviewed me about it) and invited me to contribute to the Unconsumption blog, where we've created a dialogue about what happens to things once they've reached the end of their intended life cycle. I also discovered Kate Bingaman-Burt who has been doing a similar project for many more years than I have and with much more creativity. There are many ways for you to fill your RSS feeder from here on out and many other inspiring people doing cool things.

Since I last wrote, I had moved to Brooklyn, worked in Chelsea, was let go—thanks Bernie Madoff, started my own studio Welcome™, advised a Project M session in Maine, gave away Free Pie, and then moved South to a small town in rural Alabama to open PieLab.

I've been in Alabama for nearly 6 months, living in a house with dirt walls, surrounded by the beautiful architecture from Rural Studio, as well as severe rural decay—mixed with generous southern hospitality and some very backwards traditions that I've begun to view with new perspective. I will continue living here and working with my own clients, while taking part in various Project M initiatives. I'm applying to grad school for next fall and plan to continue enjoying the amazing experiences that this new path in life has provided.

Thank you to everyone who followed this project as it developed. I suffered a great loss and choose to turn a tragedy into, what I hope was, an inspiring and thought provoking experiment in consumerism. What we buy is important, but what we don't buy is even more important. Continue to question your own consumer habits in the future—after this, I don't think I'll ever be able to stop.

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