It's Been a While
Hello there! It's been a while, friends. This post is contains politics, and my anger, frustrations, and growing hopelessness with the current state of the world (I'm talking coronavirus). Please turn away if you do not wish to read that kind of thing. I personally am getting to a point where it all is becoming a bit much.
I've listed some headers so you can pick the sections you care about, and ignore the ones that will leave you bored or upset. As this post goes on, it becomes less about updates, in my life, and more just me letting my thoughts out. There's a lot of things going on in my mind right now.
I put some images here and there about some of the things in my life recently that have made me happy to try to balance out the tone of this post.
Where are you? What are you doing?
I moved to San Mateo, California last April for a role as a software developer at Manticore Games. I work with the web team, which is in charge of putting together the web portal for our product Core, allowing users to browse for the games anyone can make and edit within Core.
But yes, I am in California. The Bay Area right now has 1,400 cases of coronavirus, growing exponentially. It is worrying being here, and I almost decided to head back to Minnesota when things were getting bad, but realized that it was ultimately an irresponsible decision to possibly expose myself, anyone I came into contact with, and my family back home to the virus.
You're in California? Are you okay?
I'm doing alright. I had a handful of mild symptoms, along with a hellish fever, last weekend that lined up with coronavirus symptoms, but they went away overnight with sleep. Yet another reason I'm glad I didn't head home - I might have had it while I getting ready to jump in my car and drive.
I've been self-isolating in my house since, and plan on staying exclusively homebound for another week. After that, I will return to only leaving the house for essentials (just groceries in my case), as we should all be doing. I must admit, however, that I am extremely nervous about doing so.
What have you been working on this past year?
Uhhh… I've started a few projects but work has been consuming most of my time and energy. I did release bret.is! I am still working on finishing up Radical Scrabble, and have started a few other projects: a Snapchat-like collage editor, a series of tutorials, and a new game that I don't really know how to describe. Hopefully I'll have a proper description when it's out of the oven.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been providing me a release from reality. It's such a pleasant world to spend some time in.
My island's name, Yksittäin, means "one at a time" or "one by one" in Finnish. Much like how some of us are taking life at the moment!
I am incredibly privileged to be working in an industry that allows its workers to not only be able to continue to work during this time, but be able to work safely. We closed our offices mid-March, and have collectively been working at home.
It is strange being in meetings while the world feels like it is falling apart, with coworkers worried about server speeds, database costs, and outages. It feels so insignificant in my mind compared to the real struggles the world is facing, and that my country is only beginning to face and fully understand.
Questioning my life
The past few weeks have made me feel (I'm sure there are many others sharing similar feelings) like I am unable to help in a meaningful way. Staying home is allowing me to not contribute to the spread of the virus, but I wish I could do more to help stop it. While I believe play, art, and entertainment is crucial for the enjoyment of life, I can't help but wonder what I could be doing instead.
Part of me wishes I was a doctor (another part is very thankful I don't have to be exposed to the virus every day, doctors are true heroes and I cannot thank them enough for their sacrifice), part wishes I was working towards a vaccine/cure, and part of me wishes I was in politics to get this situation under control, like other countries have due to proper leadership and personal responsibility.
I don't think I will change courses, but there is a certain disconnect knowing I'm putting my time and effort into things that seem negligible compared to saving lives.
I purchased a new laptop Black Friday! My prior laptop, Phatboy, who weighed a whopping 12.6lb, has been running since fall of 2013, with most days being 10-15 hours. I was nervous how much life he had left in him.
Since upgrading, I have been loving working on my Dell XPS, which I have named Brex P. Sullivan. He's much more compact and portable, making it easier for travel. I've only travelled with him once so far for the holidays, but hope to again when the virus clears up.
It has been incredibly difficult to focus with the stress and uncertainty being forced into our daily lives. I spend a lot of time paralyzed with anxiety, unable to get work done at my normal pace. The constant stream of news, especially that of the United States and its president's inability to be a competent leader, only lead me deeper into despair.
I know the majority of us are going to be okay, but there is a minority that grows in size every day that people are irresponsible with their actions and ignorant to the severity of this pandemic. As I post on Snapchat every day, "STAY AT HOME".
Our recent release saw the web team being subjected to crunch, and I worry I might be burned out. I hope it's just stress and adjusting to working from home in a space that isn't optimized for my mental health.
It's kind of funny, though, as this last year I've had a hard time finding the energy to work on personal projects after work, which I usually find to be easy to plug 8 hours away into. Now, however, I find some nights I have the energy to finally continue my personal projects. Perhaps it's the escapism and stress-free, productive environment they provide.
The political stuff
Yesterday's news made me feel ill, on top of a day full of anger and frustration. The amount of misinformation from the president, the level of pettiness he maintains, and the way he's treating Washington and Michigan because they haven't "shown him enough appreciation". It just fills me with rage and gloom, knowing that we as a country
I am not calling this country a dictatorship, probably mostly because I don't wish to admit it, but when governors have to be careful not to say the wrong thing about the president or risk their state no longer getting the help they need during a global crisis, I have to stop and wonder how strong the parallels between what our government tells us of North Korea, and what is happening within our own borders, are becoming.
I don't know how much useful information this provides, but I wanted to channel all my thoughts into one place while also letting people know I'm still alive. Maybe some of you have been feeling similar, and I hope that you know that you're not alone. Lots of us are stressed, worried, losing hope, and poorly adjusting to our newly mandatory home-centric lives.
If anyone needs to talk, please reach out to me. My Twitter and email are on the sidebar.