Well, it's been a long time I won't lie. Don't worry though I've got finished projects this time on the way, I'm just taking pictures and videos together at the moment for all that. I want to talk about the last two years though. I'm going to be honest, they were really tough.
Two April's ago I was let go from my dream job. It never really hit me the time - I was still walking around the office smiling that day (god, I hope my co-workers didn't think me insensitive), but I think I was just truly unaware of the road ahead of me. Maybe I didn't realize how hard unemployment would be and how arduous job searching would become. I think at the time I was just struck with relief. A relative had passed away earlier that month causing my dad to fly off and visit family so because of that my mom needed me to take her to her various doctors appointments and physical therapy sessions. It's not something I mind doing, she's my mother, but it can get draining. So about a solid week before I was let go at EA my mom asked me one night after work if I could drop her off to the pool. I was pretty exhausted that day, it was a Friday and the end of a very long work week. I took her though without much issue, but on my way back home I passed out at the wheel and totalled my car. It's something I never really talked about as I tried to move passed it immediately and get back to work, forget it ever happened. It stuck with me though, for a long time. "What if she was in the passenger seat?" "What if you had hit someone?" I wouldn't have been able to live with myself. Anyway, a week after that on my mother's birthday I was let go. I sighed relief because I think I just needed a break. I just needed some space. On my way home that day I brought my mom flowers and decided to break the bad news the next morning.
For a little while I just enjoyed the quiet. I opted to take the summer off like a school break. Which in hindsight might've been my worst idea. It was just at the time I was thinking "okay so I finished high school, didn't take a summer break and went straight to Art Institute (where I did two years straight with a summer break that is only a week long) while working a part time job, and then went straight to an unpaid internship for two months while still working towards my graduation, followed by a year at Electronic Arts." I felt like I earned a break at that point, but I think looking back I really needed to keep busy to keep from just going nuts.
You know the thing about depression is you fight it for so long you know? Like, I just couldn't admit I was depressed. Maybe it was like admitting defeat? I don't know, but I just lied to myself for the longest time. I didn't want to admit I was frustrated because I had trouble finding work and it started to manifest in different places I guess. I kept myself busy in different ways: I started repairing old laptops and cellphones around the house and learning how to repair screens or build computers. I was playing more games making less. Above all I think I just started to fall out of love for what I was doing (probably because I had taken such a big break) and I didn't know if I even wanted to continue again. I started to help my dad with his construction business and just do physical labor work for a little while.
Then just life gets crazy I guess - cousin brother gets married so we're doing a couple months worth of activities and setup (Indian wedding) and because of the wedding we have family flying over from India so I'm spending a month repainting and cleaning our basement suite. Then when that's all said and done someone else is getting married and we have to pack our bags and get things in order for a trip to England. Just one thing after another. I just let myself get caught up in everything. It was like because I wasn't working I was the go-to hand for hire.
It took a long time before I really started to face the fact that I was depressed, but I started to realize it after I came back from England. Finally I got the desire to start working again. I felt hungry again. Unreal, Unity, and Hammer Editor had all become free to use and tutorials online were ripe. So I started messing around with UE4 making some 2D prototypes and just getting a feel for stuff. Then I decided to go back to UT3 to just kind of stretch my legs, get comfortable and familiar again. I started working on a new CTF level which really just started to spark me up again. It was like playing with lego pieces again just like in college. I was making more games and playing less.
Unfortunately, it was all cut short one day when I was walking my dog and some stranger stabbed me in the face with a box cutter. That was a horrific day. One I'll never forget. Hell every time I look in the mirror I remember it. That put me out for a while too. Pretty much just sank right back into depression, if not deeper than before. Things got to a boiling point a month or so later when I was told by the police they were dropping the investigation for the guy who attacked me. I got so frustrated I punched a truck and broke my hand. My good hand at that. Not my proudest moment for sure. I couldn't use my computer, I couldn't play video games, I could't draw, I couldn't work out, and I couldn't even sleep for a few days due to the pain. The 8 weeks or so following the injury just recovering and reflecting on everything I kind of put my life back into perspective. I started thinking a lot about our ambitions and what they amount to. Hard work and payoff, risk and reward, life, legacy, and death. We all live on borrowed time I guess and I wasted a lot of mine, but now I want to make it all back. I want to work for it all back. I want to dedicate my life to something. I want to dedicate it to meaning or purpose. Do I want my life to be dedicated to video games? I don't know, I don't think so. Do I want my life to be dedicated to using my talents to stand on my own two feet and provide for my loved ones? Absolutely. I want to live and see the world, go out and have a life. I want to be happy.
All of this came to a weird exclamation point. I stayed up late last Monday night getting the level done. Early Tuesday morning my grandmother suffered a stroke - she passed away later that day. When life hits it hits hard I guess.. and it just doesn't stop hitting. Bless my grandmother's soul and may she rest in peace. Her passing while insurmountably sad has also fueled me and motivated me. She wouldn't have wanted me falling into depression or moping for days, weeks, and months on end. She would've wanted me off my god damn ass. So I will be. If not for me then for her.