Behind the Facade
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Behind the Facade

The Year of Me

This year, I’m skipping the resolutions and, instead, diving in with four ambitious projects and some health goals. Wish me luck!

Prefer to listen? Hear me read this aloud on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts by searching ‘Behind the Facade.’ Happy listening!

Hello, hello! Happy New Year.

For context, a few years ago, I stopped doing New Years resolutions. I did a few successfully, but there’s something so artificial about them for me. They add so much unnecessary pressure that I’ve started giving up on them before I start.

With that said, I love a good challenge and having something to strive towards, so I started taking a page from my mom’s book when the New Year approaches. Each year, she names her year. I changed that a little bit and decided to choose a theme or mantra, of sorts, for my year. In 2019, the theme was embrace simplicity, which I continued into 2020, and 2021 was all about settling in, not down.

This year, I’m switching it up again and naming my year. 2021 was a massive year of personal growth for me, and this year, I want to focus on honoring that, so I’ve dubbed 2022, “The Year of Me,” with the main premise being that I have to do what I think is best for me — not what other people think, or what I think other people think; what I think. I want to do more of the things that make me feel good and skip the things that drain more or make me feel out of place or unwanted.

I landed on this theme in November, so I’ve already been putting it into place in a few different ways. I made a few bigs changes, like quitting my job, that was bringing me severe stress and unhappiness, and am experimenting with a job, company, and working style that seems more of better fit for me. I also made the big decision to block all social media sites including Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, and a couple others for at least three months, if not longer. That may not seem like a big deal to anyone, but to me — a social media addict — it is. While I was at it, I blocked email in the evenings and on weekends.

2022 Projects

That alone has really inspired me to be more creative. I thought about all the projects I have in the works and narrowed it down to four that I want to complete in 2022. Loved ones have advised me not to share things that are in the works so I don’t feel obligated to finish them if I lose interest, but in the spirit of Year of Me, I’m going to document them here. I figure that Medium is a safe place to share things. It’s basically just me journaling the things I want to do and feels different than social media because, for some reason, like there’s less pressure.

Project #1: Make progress on my memoir

Anyway, if you may know I’ve been working on a memoir called Behind the Facade. That was originally scheduled to publish in May 2022, but I’ve pushed it out to at least September 2022. To be honest, I felt like the publishing side of things was moving too fast for my taste and the book wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I’m so glad I gave myself time to take a step back so I could regroup. So one of my goals is to publish or at least make significant progress on the memoir.

Project #2: publish a sister site/blog for my novel

Once I gave myself permission to take a step back from that book, another one jumped into my head. It’s a novel, which is totally and completely out of my comfort zone, but it’s been so fun to work on in my spare time. The premise of the book is about a married couple who is growing apart and trying to find their way back to each other. One day, they come across a popsicle jar, a pseudo-bucket list they created early on in their relationship, where they wrote a bunch of dream trips on popsicle sticks and sealed them in a mason jar, promising to pick one at random on their five-year wedding anniversary and make it happen no matter what. Spoiler alert, the popsicle stick they pick is a road trip down the west coast. Being me, I wanted to get in the head of the main character beyond just words on paper, so I actually created a real-life website that documents their journey. Over the last week, I drew a map started working on the website. I’d love to publish it this year so I can use it as a tool in the writing process next year.

Project #3: Release a free audio version of my first book, “Insomnia”

When I first released my book, Insomnia, I thought about releasing an audiobook version, and then gravitated toward doing a podcast instead. I know from past experience that reading things aloud helps me heal, so I wanted to give myself that experience while making the book available for free to anyone who needed it. Because printing isn’t free, I figured a podcast is a good way to do that. I actually just recorded it this weekend and am looking into how to publish it.

Project #4: Create a limited-series podcast about self-publishing

The other podcast idea is a new one. After sharing with friends, family, and people on social that I published a book, I surprisingly got a lot of questions about self-publishing. I had no idea so many people I knew were aspiring writers. It was so cool to see. From what I read online, I took a somewhat unique approach to self-publishing, so I’m thinking about doing a limited-series podcast walking through my entire process. I’m just in the brainstorming phase right now, so we’ll see what comes of it.

I think the reason I’m so insistent to do both of these podcasts now is because, well, maybe it’s bad to admit this but I’m going to say it anyway, is because I want to prove people wrong. In both cases, people really close to me have told me not to do it. That I have “better things” to focus on. But, again, in the spirit of the “Year of Me,” these feel right, so I’m going to do it.

The other reason I want to do them is because they really are just for fun. There’s absolutely nothing in it for me other than putting myself out there. Although I could figure out how to monetize them, I’m not interested in going through all of that, promoting it, etc. — at least right now. For the time being, I’m happy if I do it, regardless of it no one else sees or hears them.

Prioritizing my mental and physical health

So those are my 2022 projects. The other thing I want to do, beyond listening to my gut in terms of hobbies and projects, is to prioritize my mental and physical health.

For many years, I’ve resented so many things about my health and body. I have two autoimmune diseases, have been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, and my weight has yo-yoed at an extreme. Just this year, I lost a good 20 pounds, only to gain back all of it plus 30 more. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, particularly guilt, disappointment, and regret.

Celebrate the milestones

This week, I’m celebrating one year of Peloton. It’s been the longest I’ve ever stuck with anything related to health or fitness, so it’s a big milestone for me. I just looked it up and only on Peloton, I did 691 workouts for a total of 7,650 minutes or 127 hours. And that doesn’t include the hours of swimming, workouts in the gym, strength training, boxing, and walking that I did. On top of that, I took 286 meditation classes, totaling 4,025 minutes or a whopping 67 hours of meditation. I’m seriously in awe right now. I can no longer complain that I don’t meditate or work out!

Continue/stick to weight lifting

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been taking my workouts up a notch by trying a new app called Alive. It was created by this YouTuber, Whitney, who I found a while back, and it seems to be centered around strength workouts. She has options for home and the gym, which is nice. I tried a few of her at-home workouts during the free trial and decided to sign up for a month. Yesterday, I did one of her gym workouts and really loved it. I felt strong and confident in the gym, which is what the Year of Me is all about. She also works in tons of rest into her programs, so it’s a good reminder for me to slow down and give myself some grace, which I almost never do during workouts.

Eat to feel well

Along with that, I’ve been thinking a lot about a program I used to do called Tone It Up. For years, I really resented the brand, owners, and followers because documenting my journey with the program is what led to my depression. It took many years and hours of therapy for me to realize it wasn’t their fault. I’ve also been thinking about how good I felt on the program — well parts of it, at least. I want to take the parts that made me feel strong and confident, like eating protein-based snacks and doing the equivalent of 2 miles of cardio per day and add them into my routine. Matt and I are committed to meal planning and cooking Skinnytaste meals at home together, and I’m excited to see how I feel with the combination of everything.

I honestly don’t know how long all of this will last. Maybe a fitness-first, project-filled lifestyle will fulfill me. Maybe I’ll get burnt out and it’ll end in a week like other New Years resolutions; either way, as long as I do what makes me feel my best and let it go when it’s no longer serving me, that’s all that matters.

So this is a kind of long-winded way of saying hi, I’m here, and I’m committing to a lot of things in 2022. I’m not sure what will come of this space, other than I’m planning on using it in the same way I would as a blog. Maybe I’ll post regularly or maybe I’ll put it on the back burner. Who knows. For now, it’s just a fun project and way of continuing to be vulnerable with and for myself.

If you got this far, thank you so much for listening. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and healthy 2022 ahead.

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