My 2022 was about adjusting to the new normal and prioritizing my mental health.
For the 20th straight year — and perhaps the last time I publicly post my annual review — here is my annual run down of how I spent my year 2022.
1. Happier or Sadder?
Content. Very happy that I got to travel this past year but I'm realizing I've got some issues to work through.
2. What did you do this year that you've never done before?
- Got Covid
- Opened a Roth IRA — I know, I know…I'm really, really late on this…but I have a good plan now and look forward to growing it.
- Crashed a Twitch Streamer's Show
- Experimented with Viagra — LOL
3. How has your personal fashion evolved this year?
For the most part, same as last year:
- Workout Hoodies — The only addition I'd make is I bought a bunch of thin workout hoodies which are perfect for sunny or chilly days when I take Kogi out for a walk.
- Hiking Clothes — Specifically, for a brief stint, I discovered the beauty of hiking shirts and cooling bucket hats.
- Lounge Slippers — My god, why did I waste so many years cringing at lounging slippers…these are PERFECT for winter! Wear them with socks and it's a perfectly blend of warmth and breathability.
Didn't wear my hiking shirts at all.
Still work-from-home life, so I honestly hardly wore any of my actual clothes. I'd wear the same few Under Armour polo shirts just one hour at a time (to get food, run errands, etc) with these new camo cargos that are SUPER comfortable.
Still loving my workout hoodie.
Literally wore these lounge slippers all year 'round, LOL.
4. What places did you visit?
- Vegas — I needed a super budget-friendly vacation and Vegas was long overdue because of Covid.
- Waikiki — Because of Covid-restricted travel, I desperately needed an international trip without actually traveling internationally…I wanted some place walkable and affordable and Waikiki was absolutely perfect! Bonus to catch up with Leejay & Krystal and also an epic bro date with Jon Cardona.
- Tokyo! — FINALLY. MOTHERFUCKING FINALLY. This being my third time, I just wanted a budget trip where I could really immerse myself in three different parts of Tokyo: Shinjuku, Ueno, and Shibuya. This was everything I needed.
5. How did you celebrate your birthday?
Birthday Buffet in Vegas. <3
6. Where did most of your money go?
- Food — I've always spent way more on food than I should and this year we saw hyper-inflation so $16 Taco Bell is a regular thing.
7. What was the best thing you bought?
- Continuous Glucose Monitor!
- Lovesac — Man, I've been sitting my ass in this Aeron chair for so damn long, I didn't realize how vitalizing it is to be able to take a nap in my Lovesac and kick my feet up on the Squattomon. This really multiplied the enjoyment I get from playing PlayStation, watching TV, and taking naps. And to top it all of, Kogi loves this thing too.
- iTunes Movies — I am SO GLAD I didn't commission for a custom Pixel Portrait NFT. I've never had my own movie collection; I thought it was stupid to invest in DVDs because they would someday become obsolete. Starting late 2021, I've been growing my very own digital collection of movies & series that I truly love and have in some way shaped who I am throughout my life.
8. What was your best musical discovery in 2022?
- Island 98.5 — Jon Cardon introduced this me to while I was in Honolulu! And best of all, it streams for free on Apple Music!
9. What was your best food discovery in 2022?
- Hula Dog in Waikiki! I've had it before but this was a favorite of mine while I was there.
- Wagyu Double-Cheeseburger at Shogun Burger in Tokyo. Just a perfectly-crafted burger that really hit the spot when I needed a break from Japanese food.
- AYCE Wagyu Sukiyaki at Nabezo in Tokyo.
Not a new discovery, but the 2-hour AYCE Wagyu steak in Tokyo is absolutely mandatory.
10. What songs will always remind you of 2022?
- Top Gun: Maverick Soundtrack will forever get me pumped up!
11. What TV shows did you follow this year?
If there was one thing I can say that I did a lot of this past year, it was watching movies and TV shows. A big motivation was I wanted to craft the perfectly-curated digital movie collection from iTunes and my desire to catch up on shows that I never finished.
- Modern Family — finally got around to the final four seasons and it was so fucking worth it
- Falling Skies
- Real World Homecoming: New Orleans
- The Lost Symbol
- Last Light
- TWD Beyond
- The Walking Dead
- War of the Worlds
- Love is Blind
- The Curse of Oak Island — THEY ARE TOTALLY GOING TO FIND THE TREASURE.
- Fear The Walking Dead
- Moon Knight
- Ms. Marvel
- La Brea
- The Man who Fell to Earth
- Temptation Island
- Mortal Kombat: Conquest
12. What were your most favorite movies this year?
- Top Gun: Maverick
13. Who were your celebrity crushes?
- Hailee Steinfeld — Thanks to TikTok feeding me a daily dose of Hailee, initially because of Hawkeye. And then there was a rumor that during Covid, Hailee really went out of her way to help random people through the difficult time. If that is true, that makes her wifey material.
- Megan Batoon always.
- Taya Miller on TikTok
- Shizzy on YouTube — Adore her online persona!
- Patricia on TikTok
- Katja Herbers from Evil
14. What political issues really stirred you?
Same as last year:
- Supporters of the January 6th Insurrection
- Politicians promoting The Big Lie — By blatantly pushing this bullshit lie, they've slowly coordinated a coup by replacing all the key positions they need to be able to overturn future free-and-fair elections.
- Elon Musk — Self-proclaimed "free speech absolutionist" is very quickly suspending/banning/punishing anyone who is critical of him.
- Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade — All of them said that maintaining precedent was important before being sworn in. Lying sacks of shit.
15. Did anyone close to you pass away? Any notable celebrity deaths?
- Bob Saget
- Queen Elizabeth
16. Who did you miss?
- Krung Thai in Vegas — By far my favorite comfort food whenever I went to Vegas. I'll miss going there every year and the waitress remembering my order. I'm not sure exactly how many years it was but I'm pretty sure it was over 10 years of loyal service.
17. Did you develop any new hobbies or passions?
- iTunes Movie/TV Collection
- Binge Watching — In lieu of building out my iTunes digital collection, I spent the entire year rewatching classics to decide which ones are worth buying. I watched a shitload of stuff this past year, lol.
- Marvel Snap — Marvel Future Fight has been feeling like an endless job and I was tired of giving them money. Thankfully, Marvel Snap is the perfect mobile game came out to replace it! The matches are quick, the design is BEAUTIFUL, and I love how it can be perfect for both the casual gamer and the hardcore enthusiast.
- Filipino Martial Arts — This only lasted for like 7 classes, but it fizzled out for me and worked out perfectly because my instructor fizzled out too. It was free so no harm, no foul!
18. Any changes with your living situation?
My parents bought a condo in the Philippines so they will be spending half of the year there and the other half here in the states. That definitely impacts me because it'll be mainly me (and a little bit of Mark) here to take care of Kogi.
19. Describe a typical day for you in 2022
Work-from-home life! Wake up 6:20ish. Catch up on tech Twitter & RSS feeds. Work from 7:15ish to 11ish with Discord fam. Lunch and 20-minute nap. Work until 3:45ish. 30-12-3 workout. Quick dinner. Watch TikTok/YouTube while walking Kogi, take shower, TV and chill. Play with Kogi and let him lick my head until I fall asleep around 11ish.
The biggest changes less breaks, adding a workout, and no more working at night to maintain my mental health.
20. What is the one thing you are most grateful for from this past year?
- Japan Re-Opening — I freakin' booked my November Japan trip way back in February, LOL. I've spent months trying to decide where to travel and I just gotta say: nothing checks off all the boxes for me quite like Japan. It was a budget trip and it was seriously everything that I needed.
21. Did you drop any old habits or pick up new habits this year?
- Hot Tea — for the first part of the year — after getting Covid — I was drinking hot tea regularly. It kept me hydrated, my throat warm, and the bit of caffeine helped get through the work day.
- Stopped following Marvel rumor podcasts/sites — After enthusiasts accurately predicted certain parts of Spider-Man: No Way Home, I realized that I need to ignore these theories/predictions so I could just enjoy them in the present.
- Checking CheapCharts for iTunes Deals every night.
- Establishing clear work-life boundaries. I will just bust my ass during the day and then I will completely check out for the rest of the day. It's made a massive difference for my mental health.
- Being more intentional when watching TV. No more multitasking while I'm chillin' on my Lovesac in front of the TV. This helps me decrease the time I get bored, which I realized was the reason why I constantly found myself reaching for instant gratification.
- 12-3-30 Workout — I saw this easy workout on TikTok and realized it would be the perfect 30-minute break to catch up on YouTube, podcasts, and TikTok.
- Investing in Real Estate via Fundrise. I'm behind, but I'm back on track now.
- Continuous Glucose Monitor. This is been incredibly insightful on all the things that I thought were low-carb.
- Less Multi-Tasking — I've long known that when I have too much free time on my hands, I tend to look for random shit to spend money on. I realized that if I stopped multi-tasking while I watch TV/movies, I'll spend less time online shopping and more time immersing myself in the story.
22. What was your most memorable moment this year?
Hmm probably my Tokyo trip and everything leading up to it. I spend the entire year research, praying, and hoping that Japan would open up again and it all paid off when it opened just weeks before my scheduled trip there.
23. What was your most humbling experience this year?
Realizing that someone I care about has been struggling with depression.
24. What was your biggest failure?
- My Health. When I got back from Japan and put on the Continuous Glucose Monitor again, I realized how much I wrecked my body.
- Celsius Going Bankrupt. It was a calculated risk that I was willing to gamble on, but watching them lock up my funds as they went bankrupt was a bit of a gut punch.
25. Without naming names, who disappointed you the most and what did they do?
Same as last year:
People who are:
- Inauthentic — Dude, we see through all your white lies. You say all this shit because you think that's what we want to hear...but actions speak louder than words and you consistently > prove that you're full of shit.
- Not Self-Aware — Dude, you're in your thirties and you still think that all bad things that happen to you are because of other people? There's a term for people who keep making the same mistakes while expecting a different result — crazy.
- Financially Irresponsible — Dude, what are you going to do when your parents pass away? Who is going to pay for all your shit? Who is going to pay for the house? Your car? Put food on the table? Do you really think you'll be find a woman when they're going to have to carry your ass financially?
26. What's been on your mind this year?
- Japan — TikTok and YouTube kept me yearning to go back and it all came together just weeks before my November flight. I'm good with Japan for now but I definitely plan on going back.
27. What valuable life lessons did you learn this year?
- My parents will slow down (mentally and physically) at some point. We had a big family discussion of how many parents envision their twilight years and how that will affect all of us. Frankly, it's going to be life-changing for all of us.
28. What was the most impactful decision you made in 2022?
I decided to hold off on my PHX real estate goal and in the meantime, start investing in other things, specifically Fundrise and crypto.
29. How did your New Years Resolutions hold up? Any new resolutions for 2023?
This year, I'm going to practice daily gratitudes. I've spent way too much time this past year being irritated and annoyed at everyone around me; it's gotten so bad, it's affected my mood when I'm actually hanging out with people. I will change that this year.
Honestly, I totally forgot about that, lol. I'll keep that in mind.
After seeing my high glucose levels towards the end of the year, I'm focused on getting my glucose levels back on track and losing weight (as always).
30. What are you looking forward to this upcoming year?
- Philadelphia! — I need to use my $300 Capital One Travel Credit and realized that Philadelphia for 5 days would be perfect to explore the city and eat some cheesesteaks.
- London! — This is an expensive trip and can only afford about 10 days, but London has been something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I love the music scene, some of the sci-fi TV shows, and the fact that it's an incredible diverse city. I cannot wait!
31. If you could tell your past self something exactly one year ago, what would it be?
Hey Mel 2022,
Focus on your mental health.
Start thinking more about the future. Not just your retirement life, but your Mom & Dad's.
In the meantime, ENJOY THE TRAVELING.
—Mel, January 2023
32. If you could ask your future self anything one year from now, what would it be?
Dear Future Mel,
How's work going? Now that I think about it, I don't feel like I grew at all this past year…have there been any improvements on the projects you get??
Did Apple release their A/R Goggles??
Are we in a bear market? Or a recession??
How was Philly and London?
How's your health?
—Mel, January 2023