End of 2018

I can’t believe how fast time flies. Where was I when I wrote the last blog post, and where am I now? Since we are approaching the end of 2018, I figured now would be a great time to add an entry to this seemingly-abandoned blog.

Just a note before you continue reading — this will be a long post that isn’t related to programming. In fact, my recent posts have become more personal, but I’ll try to make future posts more code-centric.

Today, I am a full-time React developer at a geolocation service company, working 100% remotely. I’ve had the opportunity to pick up NodeJS (writing proxy APIs) and Selenium (for UI and end-to-end tests), which has been a great step towards my goal of being a full-stack developer. Ironically, I had been job-hunting since more than a year ago, and failed over 30 job interviews, and this company just appeared out of nowhere, headhunted me and hired me almost immediately.

Professionally, I have learned so much over the past 7 months at this company, compared to the 1+ year I spent at my previous company. I guess, we improve better when we’re in an optimum environment, and perhaps in my case, I work better when I have a sense of ownership over my work.

I have even started thinking seriously of actively updating my Github portfolio to brush up my skills, and to help potential future employers to assess my skill better. Unfortunately, as you may notice if you clicked my Github link, I have hit a roadblock and have not been making any new commits to my first mini web project for the past few weeks. There was a good lesson to be learned from that, fortunately — In that, I should have planned my project much better on paper, before I sat down to commit to implementing the features.

Now, a little into my personal life — I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am most proud of one thing: I have been consistently studying Japanese every single day since May 1st 2016 (yes, I remember the exact date, because that was the day I resolved to do something about my life, no matter how small it was).

Today, I can probably read at least 3000 different kanji, and can recognise probably around 6000 different words. I even managed to pass the JLPT N3 test last December. My point is, I have been depressed for the past few years, due to various personal circumstances, and I have luckily made it a habit to study Japanese as a way to cope and forget about my depression, and I have come a long way (but I have a lot longer to go).

I’m just glad that despite zero encouragement from people around me, I managed to get where I am today (at least, in terms of learning a new language). It made me realise something: “We are not alone, but we are on our own”. That is to say, we have friends who will be there for us emotionally, and occasionally help us along the way, but there is nobody in this world, I dare say, who can help us become a better person, because the onus will always be on ourselves.

One might ask, why did I study Japanese so diligently, since it is likely not related to my career? Honestly, I don’t know. I could have been doing something else, but I just happened to pick up “studying a new language” as a habit. Of the many good things that came out of studying Japanese (besides being able to play JRPGs and read elementary-level Japanese manga now), I managed to meet my Japanese partner. The overall relationship had opened my eyes and made me think really hard about my future. I had never thought about marriage or family seriously, let alone marrying a foreigner and living abroad. I can’t say that my life has a more definite goal now (I could assume “starting a family in Japan” being a goal, but what comes after that?), but at least I have a milestone to look forward to now.

What about game development? I still think about it occasionally. With some recent news of large companies shutting down, work crunches and the various problems I’ve read on the news regarding the game industry, sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief that I now have a stable job with a good salary. Sure, life is more exciting and “free” being an indie developer, but as I’ve stepped out of the gamedev circle over the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve gained a better idea of what I feel about the whole situation — and that is, admittedly, I liked the idea of being an indie gamedev, but I am naturally an uncreative individual. I work best when I’m given a direction. In essence, I need an “idea guy”.

I wish I could still make games, though. Recently, I discovered Overcooked!, and it made me accept the fact that I can only dream of ever making a decent game. For now, my life and career takes precedence. My hobby is no longer “drawing” and “making games”, but “studying Japanese”.

I think I’ve completely changed over the past 2 years.

And it’s not as bad as I thought.

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