Podcast: 2022 Reflections

Episode 7

Reflections on 2022

In today’s episode, I reflect back on the way that a journaling exercise I did in January really shaped the experiences I had in 2022.  Listen in and reflect on your year!

Key points include:

  1. How to use journaling to shape your best year yet.
  2. Creative ways to give back to your community.
  3. Discover a new podcast platform for creating your own podcast.

Connect with Michelle:

Resources Mentioned


[00:00:00] Michelle: Welcome to Get F.R.E.S.H. with Michelle Girasole, a podcast that gives you fresh ideas for living your best life. Enjoy our conversations that center on the acronym F.R.E.S.H. F is for food, R is for recreation, E is for experiences, S is for our sponsors, and every episode closes with an H, a happy story or memory. I hope you enjoy this little break in your day listening to how others are living fresh, and I’d love to hear your ideas. Reach out through my website, freshrebellion.com.

[00:00:44] Michelle: Hello, my friends. How are you today? Well, at the time of this recording, I want to break from our format of the five sections of F.R.E.S.H. and reflect on 2022. It’s the last podcast of this year, and I particularly want to reflect on the recreational pastime of journaling. I’m going to combine that section of recreation with experiences because my journaling in early ‘22 led to many experiences that I want to reflect on on this last podcast of the year.

[00:01:19] Michelle: So I started the year with a book called ‘The Human Being Journal.’ My sister-in-law Alicia gave it to me for Christmas, and I savored it one day in early January. I reflected for a few hours through the pages of this book and the exercises it laid out on what I wanted to accomplish for the year. And when I look back on the year, I realized how pivotal that few hours of journaling was for shaping the year just the way I wanted it. It’s a cool exercise.

[00:01:55] Michelle: You might have heard of the Wheel of Life. You’ve seen that before, maybe with six or eight or ten different categories, this one had ten, and it asked you to rate the categories of your life. So financial, health, social, spiritual – the categories differ based on the wheel origin. But the concept is solid. You are more than one aspect alone. Sometimes we get lost at one aspect of our lives, our career or our fitness.

[00:02:26] Michelle: For me, parenting and family has been prioritized for.. a number of years, two decades, and I wanted to get back to the other aspects. So this journal helped. I started by looking at finances and career, and I knew I was ready to move on from my COVID jobs. (Before COVID, I had kind of transitioned out of a couple of decades of marketing services, and I had assembled a few part time jobs.)  I knew 2022 was the year both of my kids were going to be away at college, and I wanted to step into a new job that would be full time and for a long time.

[00:03:06] Michelle: So that was my goal. And I searched for weeks indeed, LinkedIn, the various opportunities were laid out, and I found the perfect one. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a Scavenger Hunt mobile app company in Barcelona that’s expanding into the US. So it was a perfect fit for me. The technology sales, the playful aspect of it, the opportunity to connect with multiple markets. The future is bright with this opportunity, and I’m excited about it. So I spent hours creating a vision and I spent weeks throughout the year building resources and connections and partnerships. 

[00:03:45] Michelle:  Just reflecting back on this year, I sold my first one in May to a healthcare group, creating a walking club for children. My second one was a history walk in the village of Wickford. The third one was a wedding scavenger hunt, which was fun, down in Florida. And this last one I created was a trivia game, like a Twelve Days of Christmas trivia game. So really creative platform. I’m really enjoying it and I’m excited to continue that momentum that we started this year. So sure you’ll hear more about that in podcasts to come.

[00:04:18] Michelle:  But back to the Human Beings journals, the next thing I focused on was what that empty nesting would mean for me personally. From the minute you find out you’re pregnant and you realize you’re having kids, and there’s so much responsibility and learning and personal development and growth that comes in parenthood. And I remember when they were small being like, “Someday they’re not going to live with me anymore.” And you get wistful for having little ones, of course, around the house. But I’m proud of my kids and who they’re becoming, and I’m excited for their future and I’m excited for the next phase of life with my husband Rich, who is my best friend. I love you, honey. We were together for eleven years before we had kids, so we know how to do that part. I didn’t want to dwell on the sadness of this phase of motherhood being over, but I wanted to kind of focus on the opportunity to spend some more time doing things I enjoy. Maybe that’s just ‘bandaiding’ over the sadness. I still get sad when they’re not here. 

[00:05:25] Michelle: But aside from adjusting to the work at home life, we did plan and do a lot of fun things together. So we did a couple of live music events in Boston, down here in Rhode Island. Boston is about an hour and a half away. It’s where my son is going to college. So we were up there quite a bit this year. We saw the band Old Dominion from Nashville, who’s probably my favorite new band. They’re Country Music Award [winners] and they’re just a lot of fun. My cousin works for them doing their sound and they’re really a fun energy.

[00:06:00] Michelle: And then the Tedeschi Trucks, which is another new favorite. I won tickets on the radio to see them and they were fantastic! But Rich and I spent a lot of time just relaxing locally. Southern Rhode Island has a really great culture. We did trivia nights at the brewery, a lot of time with some friends of ours, some couple of friends. We did tailgating for homecoming at our university, where our daughter now attends. We attended a Patriots game on this beautiful full day. I always love going up to Gillette Stadium. We just did card nights and dinner with friends at our house. It seems so old school to do that, but it was really nice. We did that, rotated through each other’s houses, and we just really enjoyed our downtime together. So I look forward to continuing that trend next year. 

[00:06:53] Michelle: Another journal category that I looked at was creativity, and I invite you to think of that. I think we’re programmed out of being creative unless we’re an art major or maybe a digital marketing major, we don’t think of ourselves as creative, but think about the ways that you create things. Everybody puts things out into the world, right. I’ve always been a writer since I did that for work. This year I wanted to explore painting. I started out with painting outdoor furniture, and then that led to me helping a friend paint some pieces for her restaurant and some furniture for at home. And just a fresh coat of paint really makes an old piece of furniture look like new. So I just love pushing paint around. I don’t really draw things, I just love the application of paint onto a surface, and it’s such a meditative process like there’s nothing else in my brain, and it’s a chance to slow down and just be in the moment and you’ll be mindful of what you’re doing. So that was fun. And of course, this podcast was created in 2022, so that’s a new creative endeavor that I am very much enjoying, and I hope you are, too. Thanks for being with me this year.

[00:08:13] Michelle: Let’s see. Another goal in the Journal was spending quality time with specific people. There are people that are in your social life or volunteer work, or that revolve around your kids, so you’re spending time with a lot of people that you might not normally spend. And I love my extended family, and so I kind of set out to spend more time with them. We have a pretty big family, aunts and uncles and cousins, and everybody’s spread out, and we never have enough time together. We had a wedding in Tennessee this year down in Nashville, and then I drove to Maine with my mother for my cousin’s baby shower and spent a few days up in Bar Harbor. I’ve talked about that on the podcast before. Such a beautiful part of the country. 

[00:09:03] Michelle:  Yeah. Aside from traveling, I even did something with my dad that I don’t remember ever doing with him before. We went to see a movie together. Dad’s not a big movie guy, but I invited him and my mom to go see the Elvis movie. He’s always been such a big fan of Elvis. We enjoyed watching that together and I don’t really see a lot of movies. I haven’t been to the movies since before COVID And the movie theater industry has transformed their offering to these luxurious, big recliner chairs and just sinking into that with a big bucket of popcorn and watching Elvis with dad, that was a really fun memory. Glad we did it.

[00:09:45] Michelle: Let’s see. Another category. So there was one that was community oriented and it said giving back, which can mean a lot of things. At first I started thinking I was going to clear out my house and donate a lot of unneeded stuff to community organizations, which I did a little bit of. I need to do more of that. That’s probably the cleaning out organizing part is my weakness and I can spend some more time on that in 2023. Who’s with me on that? 

I also did a lot of volunteering this year. I connected with folks at my church that were doing some work in the food justice area and we did a lot of things from delivering meals to some unhoused people up in the city of Providence. We partnered with another church who would cook the meals and package 30 meals, and then we would drive up a big box and bring it to a homeless shelter, which was amazing.

[00:10:42] Michelle: We coordinated a bake sale for local charities. We created a new program which raises money for a free monthly meal to community members that are in need of food, but also company. Some people are lonely and they just want to share a meal. And so we’re doing these Beneficent banquets, in which we’re working with local chefs to create a ticketed cooking class and dinner event which funds the community meals for free. So kind of cool. We’re partnering with several food rescue resources like local food to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. And then we sat in on a speaker series at the university that was centered on food justice. So I’m really excited to put my skills and free time to good use in 2023, building all of this. And I love hearing how people give back. So drop a note in the comments if you want to share something noteworthy that you’re doing or shine a light on a nonprofit.  

[00:11:42] Michelle: It’s really good to allocate time, dedicate time to doing that because life goes by and then you feel like at the end of the year, I really feel like we accomplished some good things. So let’s see. Being mindful of our time, I’ll stop there with my journaling observations, but go on Amazon, look up the Human Being Journal, check it out. Even just finding some journaling prompts in an empty notebook, you don’t have to have this specific thing. But I just found it a really good exercise at the beginning of the year. Instead of just doing the stale New Year’s resolutions, ie. “I want to lose weight”, it’s like really thinking about your life and I’m really grateful that I did that. So I wanted to share that with you guys. 

[00:12:24] Michelle: And 2022 is not without its challenges. I tend to want to focus on the joy and there were some really shitty parts of this year. But overall, it was a year of… I would say, positive growth and new directions. And I’m going to spend some more time with that journal and get some good things on the books for 2023. And I’d love to hear what your plans are, so feel free to email me. Michelle.girasole @ gmail.com if you’ve heard this podcast all the way through and you want to share with me what your goals are, not that I’m going to hold you accountable to them, but just putting them on paper really does make a difference. So type them in an email, write them in a journal, spend some time even just setting the calendar intention. Like put an hour or two on your plate just to reflect. What do you want to change? It’s your life? Go do it.

[00:13:17] Michelle: So one last note. I will make a note of my fantastic podcast administrators, producers. I would say the Pod Machine team is amazing. I just love them all. Joshua is right on top of all of my requests and the sales team, they’re just really delightful people doing a really good job. So if on your list for 2023 is to start a podcast, definitely reach out podmachine.com, tell them I sent you. We’ll put links in the footnotes in the show notes for you. But I would encourage you to take a look at Pod Machine because they really make it so easy. So happy 2022 to everybody. Merry Christmas, Happy holidays, and we’ll see you again in the new year. Take care. Bye.

[00:14:14] Michelle: So that’s it. Hope you enjoyed the Get F.R.E.S.H podcast. If you liked it, you can find us on Apple, Spotify or anywhere you get your podcast. And please find us online @freshrebellion.com. You can get our links to social media there. Join our

, And finally on Instagram, Sassymichelleg, and Twitter, SassyMichelle.

[00:14:38] Michelle: Talk to you soon. Bye for now.