On my birthday last year, I made the mental note that 27 was going to be a good year, and it turned out to be true! I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds in just one year, and I'm very grateful for everything that has happened thus far. Let's sum up 2009...
- I opened the year in the most restful of ways: a self-imposed 2 week sleep experiment, wherein I slept as much as I wanted and when I wanted. I not only caught up on much needed rest, but learned a good deal about myself and my biological needs, enough to no longer feel guilty about sleeping too much. In a way, it was a means of forgiving myself. I have since become much more accepting of myself and my peculiar lack of energy and rest needs. It's amazing how simply not feeling guilty about something can change so much!
- I finished off my last semester at the ETC with a game design internship at Schell Games, working on unannounced projects and doing design work on the Disney Fairies MMO. My time at Schell was amazing and full of fun and good learning. I think my favorite thing about the company is the commraderie of its employees, the quality of which I haven't run into any place else. Schell Trek, our some-months-long lunch time Star Trek marathon, complete with trivia quizzes and pez dispenser prizes, was probably the best illustration of this. Not a lunch went by where the Schell Games lounge wasn't packed full of studio devs, anxious to watch that day's specially chosen episode. It was a fanatastic close to the spring. I love you Schell Games!
- The spring of 2009 also saw a lot of my time spent volunteering at Animal Friends, an animal shelter local to Pittsburgh. The relationships I developed with the animals there greatly improve my quality of life. I am anxious to get back to shelter volunteering now that I'm in LA, but when I moved out here, all the volunteer orientations for the local shelters were full. I'll have to wait until later this January to get back into the swing of it. Volunteering in some capacity, I think, is an important part of my life that I am often prone to neglect.
- 2009 also saw my feeble attempt at internet dating. Spurred on by the recommendations and success stories of friends, I gave OKCupid a try, figuring a little social education couldn't hurt. I talked with a variety of folks, went on a smattering of dates, but it all confirmed that, while it works wonders for others, internet dating is NOT for me. I eventually identified it as a major stressor in my life, so I isolated and DESTROYED it (i.e. deleted my profile) and I am happier because of it. Dating still sounds like a chore to me right now, so I'm putting it off for a more appropriate time.
- The biggest event of my life this year (besides graduating and getting my Masters degree) was my accepting the game designer position at Insomniac and moving across the country to Burbank. Some people are all about following their dreams and all that, but if you'd have asked me even 5 years ago if I expected to be working in video game development and living in Los Angeles, you would have received the blankest of stares. People have frequently exclaimed at my good fortune that I am "living my dream," but while that seems to fit the perception of others, it's not really true for me in the sense that this was never really a childhood dream of mine. I just happened to stumble into it, and realize that I'd finally found the thing to make me happy! Regardless of the route, the destination was the same: I LOVE what I'm doing, and I'm grateful every day for the position I have found myself in. I hope to be making games for a long time to come!
- As I have done every few years, I have been watching through Fullmetal Alchemist again, this time with Josh. FMA is by far my favorite anime of all time, and I love to share it with people who have never seen it. I hear from Scott that Brotherhood is fantastic, and hope to pick it up after I finish my run through of the original. Hulu, you bring us such wonders!
- I closed off 2009, as I have in the past, with wonderful, restful times spent with family and friends. Ballermas in Louisville (which I consider to have spanned all the days of my visit) was full of delicious food and fun games and happy puppies and wonderful friends. My dearest Louisville friends, I always keep you close in my heart! It was so good to see all of you! Similarly, I rung in the New Year in Pittsburgh with the ETCers, and did a lot of crazy, cross-cultural New Years traditions, including running across the street and back with luggage in one hand and cash in the other. Let's hope it brings me prosperity and safe travels! I also spent a huge portion of time backseat gaming while Andy played Assassin's Creed II, but that is a post in and of itself.
Anyway, I hope that 2010 brings adventure and opportunity to everyone! Happy New Year!