Year in Review 2022
Every year on my birthday, I reflect on my highs, lows, and everything in between. This tradition is an amazing way to measure backward and appreciate how far I've come. Here's how my 2022 went.
Heyo from Los Angeles! 🌻
Every year on my birthday, I reflect on my highs, lows, and everything in between. I've done this every year since 2015 (past editions: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015).
This tradition is an amazing way to measure backward and appreciate how far I've come. Here's how my 2022 went.
My bout with long COVID is (mostly) over ✌️
As many of you already know, I caught long COVID at the beginning of this year. Had to stop doing Muay Thai, dance, improv. Couldn’t focus at work. At times, going out to see one friend for dinner felt like a giant mountain that my body refused to climb.
This went on for several months. I did everything in my power to change my situation to no avail. I had to accept the hand I’d been dealt. This was where stoicism proved extremely helpful.
Fortunately, I felt much better by spring/summer. Currently, I feel at 80% (or more) of my normal self today. Whoot!! 😁
Long COVID is still being researched so we don’t know all of the long-term effects. But honestly, after going through the worst of long COVID, I just feel grateful my body can do normal things again. I hope I never take my health for granted.
I just finished my Bachata and Spanish sabbatical 💃
On my time off from work, I took my first international trip (besides going to Canada lol) in four years to Mexico. I ended up having an amazing experience in Mexico City where I spoke Spanish and danced bachata/salsa every day.
After Mexico, I already had a trip to Europe planned to celebrate my friend’s wedding (hi Ria!) in Greece. While there, I said fuck it and I extended my trip to dance bachata in Spain for an extra month. Slept in hostels while attending dance classes, socials, or congresses every week. It was quite an adventure.
I’m content, exhausted, and super broke now. But I have #noragrets.
When I was 20 or so, every single mentor of mine shared the same advice:
Travel when you’re young.
Push your body while you still can.
Some of them spoke from experience. Others from regret. I followed many of their recs and I’m grateful for their wisdom. I feel like I’ve actually lived life. Like, so much life in only a short amount of time on earth. I know these opportunities are a huge privilege that I also hope I never for granted.
I accepted a new job 🤓
During my sabbatical, I had been freelancing with Hustle Fund VC for several months. They called me after I got back from Europe.
"We're thinking about creating a full-time role for you. You in?"
The timing and opportunity couldn’t have been more perfect. I already know the team. It’s remote so I can still travel. And the work in writing and community building is right in my skillset.
Even during a recession, having a strong network that supports you is invaluable. Didn't someone write a book about that?? 😉
Best of the blog ✏️
I published 10 issues of Tam’s Jam and 5 standalone pieces in 2022.
I opened a donation link for the first time ever and a dozen or so people have generously contributed (they are featured here). I also had my first sponsor in one of my life coaches–thanks Melissa for your support!! It costs ~$500 for yearly software costs. My goal with “selling out” is to simply break even haha.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has supported me and keep this passion project alive. Enjoy the best of the blog from 2022 below.
Most popular issues of Tam’s Jam
Making decisions without exact clarity
How to spend your time in a finite life
How to know if you’re on the right track
Best articles of 2022
What Should We Do When It's Too Expensive to Live?
I Took a Bachata Sabbatical For Six Months. It Was Awesome.
My Journey On Learning Spanish In Six Months
Ways to support Tam’s Jam
The best way to contribute is to donate directly or check out the brands I love and highly recommend.
- 🐑 Unbound Merino — Half of my everyday travel attire is from Unbound Merino. My favorites are their travel pants, lightweight jacket, and tees. They also have a stunning women's line–I've gifted a travel dress to my best friend who loved it. One of the founders is a friend and big supporter of this blog–thanks Dan for your wonderful creation!
- 🙏 Intelligent Change — This company is the creator behind the famous Five Minute Journal, a gratitude practice that I’ve been doing for nearly a decade. I’ve gifted at least 50 journals (I'm not kidding) to friends/family over the years. Use "TAM10" to save some moolah this holiday season.
- 🇲🇽 Spanish Academy — If you want to learn Spanish, start with this free email course. I ended up buying Nate's course which was the structured learning I used to propel me to actually stick with my language learning goals. Plus Nate is like, the most passionate Spanish teacher out there.
Thank you all again for the support. If you’d like to be a potential sponsor to 2,500+ curious people, please email me at email@example.com to see if there is a good fit!
In full honesty, I don’t know how I’ll active I will be with my blog with my new job and other passions. I’ll see how the new year unfolds and write when I have something important to say...instead of following an arbitrary schedule just because I have to.
If you’re interested in entrepreneurship and investing, and still want to follow my writing, you can subscribe to the Hustle Fund VC newsletter here.
Craftsmanship > Activity
I like dancing. I don’t love dancing. I felt out of place when I went to bachata congresses because it felt like everyone was there to have fun and simply dance. After the first high, I got really bored because I wasn’t learning anything new. I didn’t feel challenged. It felt strange. I’m dancing next to the beach with cute girls and new friends on a new continent–why am I not enjoying myself??
Having fun (all the time) isn’t enough for me. I love the feeling of being on a mission. To reach my highest potential. Training hard, working smart, and obsessing over the craft of whatever I’m doing. The activity–writing, learning Spanish, marketing, martial arts, etc.–just happens to be a medium.
I’d love to partake in big events like tournaments or dance congresses, but only occasionally. I’d rather live in the training room and commit to the craft–the score takes care of itself.
I don’t want kids. I’ve had a small taste of what parenting would be like raising my brother. Along with being the leader of youth groups for three summers, a YMCA swim instructor for three years, a chess teacher for three semesters, etc. On top of the rising costs of everything and the feeling of "unfinished youth", I don’t see myself having kids anytime soon (or ever).
Currently, I love my freedom. I love having the ability to travel. I love owning my time to do my favorite activities or invest in relationships. But a childfree life doesn’t mean I can’t give back or help the next generation. My friends are starting to have kids. I have little cousins. I’m a new uncle. I don't need to have my own, especially if I'm simply on the fence.
I can totally imagine a life where I play crazy uncle to all the kids adjacent to me. Take care of them when I visit. Give money to all the families to buy diapers or support their school trips. Mentor them when they grow older. I could mentor other students or coach kids. Or even work for a company that supports the next generation. Another option could be to foster or adopt kids one day. There are so many options.
It takes a village to raise children and I feel like there are so many kids (and people) in the world that would benefit from even a little bit of help. I can also imagine a world where I change my mind haha. We'll see how life plays out!
The book Deep Work by Cal Newport has inspired me for many years. The concept is basically having the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Doing so will make giant strides in your craft. Outside of productivity, deep work gets you in flow and makes you fully experience what you're doing. I’m rereading now to make better steps to living a “deep” life. Getting off social media, being comfortable with boredom, and ignoring shiny objects.
I watched Freaky Friday yesterday and loved my experience. Why don't I watch more long movies?? I'm reading chess books again instead of playing bullet chess (1 min speed chess) and I found it to be so much more rewarding. Hopefully, more "deep" stuff to come.
Less content, more action
I have a bad habit of reading stuff I already know. I’ve learned enough about nutrition, fitness, building habits, happiness, dating, etc. to feel confident about life.
After a certain point, reading more books or listening to more podcasts feels like diminishing returns. I’d have more progress if I just did the actual thing instead of acquiring more information about it lol. If I need to, I’ll reread a book again. But generally speaking, it would be better if I simply took action or practiced being bored (a skill I want to get better at).
How do I want to feel?
Instead of a “to-do” list, I believe it’s more helpful and inspiring to have a “to-feel” list of sorts. Then see if your habits and routines actually serve your list. For example, I want to feel physically energized and mentally sharp. I want to feel loved and at peace. I want to feel challenged and pushed to my fullest potential. Are the activities in my life serving these feelings?
What’s next in 2023?
I was completely wrong with my predictions last year and the year before that thanks to the pandemic.
So who really knows how next year will turn out?
I generally don't like setting goals in the traditional sense anymore. I have intentions to go deeper with Spanish and bachata. To travel back to Mexico or another country in Latin America.
I'm curious about competing in chess again. Or trying MMA once more now that I have the energy. I have a new job with a brand new network–maybe there will be opportunities there I couldn't have predicted.
I know I can’t do it all. I think each activity will come in seasons. I just hope I feel like I’m always growing and being the ideal version of Tam. Or at least most of the time.
Thank you for taking a moment in your day to read a year in my life. I hope you are staying healthy, both physically and mentally, and enjoying the holiday season.
P.S. This is the last time you'll hear from me this year. Talk to you again in 2023!!
Tam Pham's Blog
I write about my adventures, learnings, and reflections on living my weird, unconventional life. Subscribe below!