Annual Review 2022


written by oz chen

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Happy New Year!

Since my 2020 review, I used Tiago Forte’s Reflect > Connect > Create structure for this review. I enjoy this process because it suspends my recency bias and allows me to re-enjoy memories I’ve forgotten.

For this review, I noticed that the data from which I base a review off of made a huge difference.

I conducted my 2022 financial review before my personal annual review. This was a deep dive of the crypto chaos and the ensuing financial trauma I experienced from losing money.

But when I did my personal review using Google Photos, never once did I think about the things I wrote about in my financial review.

That was a surprising delight, but it also made sense. I take photos in social settings, which are usually positive times. So that leads to a pretty happy review.

When I reviewed my Google Calendar, I was reminded of tasks and events I’ve forgotten. It felt like a more neutral reflection of how I spent my time (but not necessarily how I experienced my year). When I reviewed all the notes from my Apple Notes app, my mind was oriented towards creative ideas I wanted to try, or didn’t try.

I personally found this aspect of reviewing my year fascinating. Just goes to show how much perspective matters.

2022: The Year of Awareness

I started off the year having read The Finders and committed to meditating an hour a day for 45 days in a cohort based course.

This journey reshaped my mind. It gave me a new point of view on my “self,” mind, and how I’m conditioned.

Through this experience, a new value of awareness emerged. It became the meta value that overrides my preexisting top values of freedom, financial stability, and creativity.

As long as I am aware, I can reconnect to my higher self and rediscover the fundamental wellbeing that always lives inside of me.

This experience underpins this year’s reflection, and offers a direction forward for 2023.

2022 highlights

There are way too many memories to share here (I keep my most intimate reflections in a private doc), but I’ll bring forth some highlights:

Moving, travel and experiences

I started off the year with “Big Manifestation Energy.” This included a move to Long Beach, just a couple blocks away from the sea! It would mark the first time I’ve moved in 6 years—before that, I’ve moved just about once every year. So it was a big deal for me.

I moved in with a friend (always wanted that experience) and I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. I also live close to a couple of friends now, which is so nice!

Spring and summer were incredibly active months filled with travel.

I went to Madeira (a Portuguese island) for my friends’ wedding. It was an AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL place to do a life celebration. Afterwards, I went to Iceland with my college roommate. Incredible country unlike any other I’ve ever visited. Then I went to Hawaii with my family for the very first time! (I see how alluring the Hawaiian islands are…) I also had a great time at the music festivals Lightning in a Bottle and Same Same But Different.

Not once in the review did I think about material purchases as contributing to my happiness. It was all memories + conversations + experiences shared.

The cliches remain true: Invest in experiences and people, not things.

Relationships & community

This year, more than ever, I felt the pull towards investing in my existing friendships than creating new ones.

I surprised myself when I took a friend to dodgeball. He was so excited to meet a bunch of people and trade contacts. I remember having the same energy at that age, contrasted against my style now: “Unless someone is compelling, I don’t need to spread my energy out.”

Though I am a bit disappointed with not really making new friends in Long Beach. Part of the reason is great: I feel very comfortable with my crowd. Perhaps I traded novelty for comfort.

So I started hosting cocktail parties at my place. I hosted one every month since October 2022, and it’s a monthly event I intend on continuing. If it’s one social thing I commit to this year, it’s to hosting more community events.

And of course, there’s dating. My girlfriend might read this so I’m looking forward to her reaction. I dated a lot this past year. Being new to Long Beach, I was curious what the dating scene was like out here—anecdotally, I can say that the vibe compared to LA is more chill and down to earth.

Then in August, I met Lyssa and we started dating exclusively rather soon. She’s lovely, supportive and we’re able to be goofy together, which is so important to me. Really enjoying the relationship.

Health, hobbies and being active

My annual goals are in part a reaction to the previous year’s goals. As a reaction to recovering from Covid, I resolved to use my body more. I played dodgeball, started bachata classes, spun poi, and continued working out.

I started off the year taking on too many hobbies, then settled down to taking weekly bachata classes. I have some stories about dancing that cause some internal friction. The first is the activation energy to go out—a lot of dance socials (and friendships) go into the wee hours of the night, and I’m definitely someone who wants to be in bed by 11 these days. I’ve resolved to reset my expectations around bachata and just go once a week to maintain my skill—any more than that is a bonus.

The happiest new change I’ve made late into the year is to join a local rock climbing gym. Funny enough, I barely do any rock climbing there, but love the yoga classes, gym and sauna. I learned that taking yoga classes is so much easier than stretching and doing mindful movement on my own. I’m also learning the meta skill of listening to the instructor. I realized how I difficult of a time I had at first listening to the instructor’s next guidance. It feels surprisingly good to be”in flow” and moving along, sometimes anticipating the next movement. There’s something about yoga flows now that feel like dance.

And I can’t forget some health challenges. In November a bunch of small maladies smashed together. I had double vision for a while, then got tendonitis in both elbows , and another thing happened to my foot (that’s currently affecting my mobility). I did switch insurance from Kaiser to Blue Shield, and am finding that so far, it’s been nice to quickly self-refer to specialists (Kaiser is more about prevention and saving money).

I’m reminded of the quote:

A healthy man wants a thousand things. A sick man only wants one—to be healthy again.

Money coaching

Honestly, I wish I coached more in 2022. Looking back at last year’s review, I only did a few things I said I’d try. Why didn’t I experiment more? I could blame it on a number of life things, but the truth is that I just didn’t have an exciting enough goal, and didn’t spend enough time designing that goal according to my values.

I spent a lot of my review time on what would give me the highest energy, my highest service that feels good to give. Here’s what I came up with:

Top 2023 Goal: Launch Money Workshops Every Month

Ooh, just typing that out excites me. In 2023, I will launch a financial education workshop or class every month.

I’m no stranger to 30 day challenges, and initially started with that idea. But I had already done this challenge twice on Instagram and blogging, and that didn’t feel exciting. So, after realizing there’s a lot of “experiments” like workshops, classes, templates I wanted to create, I realized that launching one of these every 30 days felt good. It feels like the right size, the right challenge, and most of all—fun.

In the spirit of this, I invite you to join my workshop on setting financial goals on January 21st, 2023.

2023: The Year of Invitation

Given my goal to launch monthly, the words offer and service came to mind. Those felt too business centric (as money coaching is still very much a hobby), so I wanted a different word to encapsulate the year with a similar energy.

I landed on invitation.

Beyond the workshops I’ll launch, I’m going to be inviting people into my home. Continuing to host cocktail parties. Inviting my inner child to have a dialogue with my inner sage.

There’s something expansive, exciting and generous about the word invitation. Everybody wants an invitation. I might as well be the person to invite others – and most importantly – myself, to do the things that give a sense of aliveness.

And you’re invited along for the journey. Thank you for reading.

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