Here we are again, at the edge of the year. The other end. It felt like I just started 2022, and it's December 29th already, it's unbelievable.
This time, last year, I was still on a career break. I remember the moment when I got up and started playing around 8-9 am and I had this one friend in-game who was also online. They asked me whether I would be going to work or not, but I told them that I was currently unemployed and was on a career break. At that time, it was still hard for me to continuously get motivated to be productive on a day-to-day basis.
It might sound a bit cheesy, but FFXIV did help me get through that phase. I met and played together with new friends, and now looking back, I was shocked because I thought I could never open up to a new gaming circle anymore. But, I did in the end. On top of that, the latest expansion, Endwalker, was a fitting game for me to play last year. The theme of the expansion was ranging from despair to finding the meaning of life, crafted and wrapped beautifully.
New year, new job
Finally, in January this year, I bulked myself up (not literally) for the job hunt. I got a lot of rejections which really hurt me at that time because I was away from job hunting for like 5 years. I wasn't prepared for them—the tests and disappointments. They crushed me for like 1 full day (I think). After that, I reflected on the interviews and what I could have done better which I wrote in the same blog post that I linked above.
After I figured out what went possibly wrong, I tried to fix those parts and go for other opportunities. Finally, I got an offer from AccelByte, a company that develops around the gaming industry. How very convenient, given that I have a soft spot for games. Long story short, I started working at AccelByte on March 21st.
Another visit to the psychologist
My wife and I also visited our psychologist (again) around midyear. Same theme, a counseling session to discuss family problems. There were two takeaways from the session for me, if I remember correctly:
- My parents-in-law are NOT my mother. I used to get triggered when my parents-in-law did something similar like my mother did because it reminded me how painful it was when I want to compromise with her. Our psychologist told me that I should try to "disassociate" actions from people. In this case, if people are doing what my mother did, then I should see them as themselves, not as my mother. This is because doing the latter will "poison" my perception at that moment.
- Marriage is merging two families with different cultures and habits. In my family that when there were "too many foods", my mother would scold whoever brought it, so I learned to buy food little by little whenever possible. My wife's family, on the other hand, is the opposite. When I bought some food (which I thought would be sufficient), turned out it didn't. Our psychologist explained to us beautifully that fate is very unexpected: my wife, whose family is very flexible, got married to me, whose family is rigid so that she could learn about structure whereas I could learn about flexibility.
For readers who love their mothers and don't have a chance to tell them anymore, I'm sorry, I really am. The following paragraphs might hurt you. If you wish to skip them, feel free to jump to the next section.
Overthinking was also my theme for the last year. This year, I think I managed to do it better because I simply removed the variables which caused me to overthink. I used to feel guilty about my mother's feelings. This is because, you know, people in my religion say that heaven is below mothers' feet, which is sometimes "misused" as a weapon for mothers to defend themselves. So, I thought that if my mother was angry, then I would not go to paradise. But then, she would most of the time be aggressive with people who didn't share the same thought as hers. Does that mean I will never be able to go to paradise? I guess. Maybe, it's my fate to go to hell.
See, that kind of overthinking kept me shackled. But this year, I fully removed that shackle by keeping my distance. Last year, I still gave her the chance to reach out. However, this year, I cut off all means of communication with her. Sometimes I still asked my father how was my mother and I'd still pray for her health after my daily prayers, but these are my limits. My brain power is limited and it would be best for me to remove variables that might cause unproductive thoughts to go inside.
Working in AccelByte has been a blast so far. I am not sure if this is still considered a honeymoon effect (given that I'm still ~9 months here), but there are so many positives working here, I lost count. The people are great, the salary is good (for me, at least), and there are a lot of challenges to be solved (which in turn will help me grow).
As of the time of writing, I am pretty happy with my current state. I regained my motivation in software engineering and I cut down communication with people who heavily drains my mental capacity. The latter part kinda affects me directly because when I am in a "vortex of thoughts", I just can't operate at all. Even playing games feels numb to me.
In 2023, hopefully, I will be able to keep them going and produce a lot more technical stuff, be it inside work or outside work. As long as I keep myself grounded and mindful, I'll be fine.