life · 20232022 Year End Review
@jorenrui / January 02, 2023
21 min read
It's been a while since I last did a year-end review. A lot has happened in the past year. It felt like this year was longer than the previous one. Might be because I did a lot of new things. Moreover, slowly but surely I'm changing as a person. Hopefully, I'm changing for the better.
Table of Contents
Will add a table of content with links in the future. For now, this will do.
- Moving Out
- Side Projects (Minimal Norui, Dayly, Minecrafui, Setti)
- Portfolio Version 3
- Learning (Cooking, Piano, Unity)
- Mental Health
- Closing Remarks
- bought a new system unit
- moved out, own space now
- promoted to Sr. Product Engineer
- built Minimal Norui - uses notion API
- built Dayly, a diary app, but decided to discontinue it
- learned ThreeJS
- built a simple Minecraft clone with ThreeJS, Minecrafui
- rode an ATV
- learned to cook simple Filipino dishes
- learned some basic Piano lessons
- finished Sutle beta
- deployed Sutle Blog Site
- got my first customer
- finished portfolio v3
- wrote five blog posts
- built Setti, a secret vault app, but still deciding whether to discontinue it or not
- hanged out with old friends
- finished reading Lives of the Stoics
- done playing Persona 5 Royal
- done playing A Way Out, My Child Lebensborn, Devour and Love Choice
- played the Life is Strange 1, Before the Storm, 2 w/ Captain Spirit, and True Colors.
- dabbled in Unity
- traveled to Bohol, PH
Previous Year-end Reviews
In 2021, I decided to move out with my family. Our old home, where I grew up, wasn't an ideal environment. It reminded me of the life of poverty that I didn't like. Moreover, the crab mentality in that place would keep us from improving our lives. I told my parents I would handle the rent so we could get out of there. I believed that going to a new place was worth the money. I wanted to move on and move forward. As much as possible, I wanted to leave everything behind and start anew. I guess that's why I am so fond and keen on going abroad. Although I would have really liked to be on my own, I decided to move out with my family.
By the end of 2021, I realized that it wasn't enough. Although I was happy to get my own room for the first time, I wasn't happy being with my family. As I grew up, my values and theirs became so different that it now causes conflict. Moreover, my room before had no windows. I realized that the absence of sunlight and becoming isolated in a room contributed to me developing anxiety. So I planned to move out again, and by 2022 I finally got what I wanted.
Finally in 2022, I'm now renting my own apartment though my family are renting the apartment a floor below mine. Living together with my boyfriend, I finally found the peace that I so wanted. Although I now have to do chores, it was worth it for me. I'd rather do my own laundry and cook my own food than let my Mom do it and have to abide by her rules. Moreover, our relationship improved since I don't have to interact with them every day. Having my own personal space in which I can do what I want really helps alleviate the stress and anxiety that I had before.
So far, my career is progressing for the better. I bought a new system unit in January that has been a huge help in my gaming, streaming, and coding life. For coding, I use WSL.
System Unit Specs:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, 6C/12T
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B550M Aorus Elite, (AM4) B550, mATX, 4*DDR4
- Graphics Card: Power Color RX 6600 Fighter
- SSD: 1TB WD Green™ SN350, NVMe™ SSD Gen3
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) T-FORCE Dark Zα DDR4 Desktop Memory, 3200 black AMD
- Casing: darkFlash DLM21 Mesh TG, mATX, black
- Power Supply: Corsair CV650, 650 Watt 80 Plus® Bronze Certified PSU
- Fans: darkFlash DR12 Pro RGB,3 Pack + Controller, 120mm, AUX fan
On February 2022, I became a Senior Product Engineer. Then, after working on the no-code database for a long time, I decided to try out a new project. So I asked my boss if it's okay for me to work on another project.
The project was a sandbox game built with ThreeJS. It was similar with sandbox games like Minecraft, Roblox, and RecRoom. I agreed to work on it so I decided to learn ThreeJS and manage to build a simple Minecraft clone, called Minecrafui, for practice. It was a rough start at first since I was in a new codebase. Also, unlike in the previous project where I was mostly working on it independently, I now have teammates in this project. There was a culture clash with how things worked, so I raised my concerns to my boss. In the end, all was resolved and I now enjoy working on the sandbox game. I contributed a lot to it, like refactoring the codebase from Rails views + Hyperscript to ReactJS, changing texture packs, and developing the world and blocks editor.
Then around the last quarter of the year, I took a risk and asked for a European salary rate. I decided to tell my boss three months in advance of my career/life plans - saving up and then going abroad. By December, I got my request approved and will now receive a huge salary bump.
I decided to go for the self-employed route, use Juan Tax and hired an accountant to help with my taxes. I am now registered at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and I pay the accountant a retainer fee for handling documents related to taxes and books of account. Additionally, I decided to go with Maxicare for my health maintenance organization (HMO).
In my career, I have always believed in being honest. I have been honest about what I know and don't know, my skills, my feelings and my desires. I think this works because I trust my employer. Additionally, I also remember that it is a business transaction, so I do my best to deliver results at work.
Looking forward, I don't really have any demands for this year since I'm satisfied with my salary increase this 2023. I'll be mostly focused on saving up as much money as possible and improving my current skills as a web developer.
Even before I launched the alpha version of Sutle, I had been wanting to rewrite and redesign the whole thing. I knew it would be a lot of work, but rewriting it with the tech stack I am most comfortable with would increase my shipping velocity and my enjoyment in working with Sutle. Moreover, I didn't really like the UX/UI of the alpha version. As I used it, I noticed some UX issues and thought of ways to improve it for the beta version.
With that said, I started working on Sutle beta by June 2022. I wasn't doing consistent work. Since I have a full-time job, I only work on Sutle in my free time. Moreover, I did think about what frontend tools I would use, and I later decided to write my own UI components for the beta version.
On October 17, 2022, I finished the beta version of Sutle. It was a complete rewrite and redesign. The tech stack was switched to ReactJS, TailwindCSS, and Rails. I also made the bookmarks feature a profile page highlight with all those filters and search capabilities. Moreover, I refined the learning path functionalities further with reordering path items, forks, and learning progress. Lastly, I added some social aspect to Sutle by letting users follow fellow co-learners.
I also build and deploy a blog site for Sutle. In here, I write and publish updates regarding Sutle. Though, currently there's no newsletter yet nor RSS feed, but I do plan on adding one in the future.
I didn't do an official product launch for the beta version of Sutle like I did for the alpha version. Instead, I just posted an update on my Twitter and LinkedIn account and sent out an update email to existing Sutle users. I didn't think the beta version was worth sharing yet because I felt it was still incomplete. Moreover, I wasn't prepared to make it a full-time job or a business. Sutle is still a side project for me, and I thought, "If others find it useful, then good for them". I also wasn't active on social media like I was before, so I didn't expect an audience.
To my surprise, someone decided to subscribe to Sutle Pro. It was my first and only subscriber. I didn't expect anyone would pay for it since I'm not done adding pro user features yet. I guess I might have underestimated the usefulness of my own app.
Moving forward, I'll still stick to what I'm currently doing. Sutle isn't my main focus right now, so it will still be a side thing for me. Nevertheless, I would still find time and ship features, working towards the "version 1" that I want for Sutle.
I like using Notion so when they launched a public beta of its API, I just had to try it. Tinkering with the Notion API, I built Minimal Norui, where you can use a Notion database to update the contents of a template site.
I was in search of a writing/diary app to no avail, so I decided to build my own. I got off to a great start, finishing its basic functionalities and using Minorui as the UI component library. I also used Tiptap for the text editor.
Then I found Obsidian. Seeing that it had what I was looking for, I decided to discontinue Dayly and use and subscribe to Obsidian instead. So far, I'm enjoying using the app.
Like I said in the Career section, I decided to build a simple Minecraft clone called Minecrafui to gain confidence in working with ThreeJS. I explored topics I hadn't learned before and wrote a case study about it.
Setti (still deciding)
I also built another side project. Since I wanted a secrets manager for my projects, which will store environment variables and secret files and share specific password to teammates, I decided to build one. Though, around the end of the year, I found Infisical. It was similar to what I was building. Now, I'm still deciding whether to discontinue with what I'm building or not especially that security is not really my forte.
Portfolio Version 3
Since my portfolio version 2 didn't reflect my current skills anymore, I decided to build a new one. Using the usual stack of ReactJS and TailwindCSS, I built https://joeylene.com. Currently, I'm still updating the project pages and the about page. Though I decided to deploy it since I think that it's good enough and I can do gradual updates instead. Sadly, this time I didn't open source the code. I didn't like the experience of someone copying my portfolio and passing it off as their own.
- 3.0 joeylene.com. The current portfolio. Developed on November 2022.
- 2.0 jorenrui.netlify.app. Developed on Nov 2019. Repository
- 1.0 jorenrui.github.io. Developed on Dec 2017. Repository
When I started working, I stopped blogging. So now, I decided to start writing again. So far, I published five blog posts:
- Minecrafui - A Case Study
- Community Matters
- Copy Paste - Glide Data Grid
- Progressing Towards Dystopia
- Creating my own UI components
I decided to publish my content on my own platform instead of Dev.to or Substack. I'm using MDX to write the posts and the process has been relatively friction less. I do plan to add a table of contents and RSS in the future.
I didn't read much this year or last year. As usual, I still read manga/manhwa. As for literature, I've finished reading Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius. This made me more curious about Stoicism and its practices. Currently, I'm still reading Meditations and The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.
I didn't really learn cooking growing up. Moreover, I thought that I didn't have the talent to cook. But I was wrong. Cooking is a skill and can be learned through practice. So now that I'm living on my own, I decided that it was time to learn. With the help of Panlasang Pinoy, I have enjoyed and learned to cook simple Filipino dishes like Sinigang, Adobo, Caldereta, and Pork Steak.
Piano is one of the musical instruments that I wanted to learn. Being my first instrument, I needed to learn how to read musical sheets. Thankfully, there's a YouTube playlist by Bill Hilton regarding learning piano for beginners. It was a huge help to me in learning piano. It was amazing to be able to play even simple music like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Dance". Sadly, it seems that I have paused learning piano for now in favor of learning game development, since I can only prioritize and focus on a few courses. Though, in the future, I'll definitely continue it. As for my learning path, here is my learn piano learning path.
I've been wanting to develop my own game. When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a game developer. Although I'm satisfied with being a web developer now, I want to do game development on the side. Fortunately, Unity has a lot of learning resources. Moreover, my knowledge of ThreeJS has helped me understand some concepts. So now, I've decided to start my journey in game development using Unity. As for my learning path, here is my learn unity learning path.
In 2021, I decided to focus on Twitch, which was a huge mistake on my part. Around the middle of the year, I became sad and unfulfilled with what I was doing. Although I had enjoyed playing games when I was a kid, I wasn't a gamer anymore. I now find more fulfillment in learning and building things.
So, in 2022, I decided to reduce my gaming and streaming time and prioritize learning and building more than gaming. So far, I'm doing well and am now enjoying games like I used to. Slowly but surely, I'm finishing the games that I currently have. My current finished games are:
- Persona 5 Royal
- The Forest
- Love Choice
- My Child Lebensborn
- A Way Out
- Life is Strange
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
- Life is Strange 2
- Life is Strange True Colors
Games that I'm currently playing are:
- God of War: Ragranok
- Horizon Zero Dawn
PS: Haven't uploaded the other videos yet. Will upload them when I have the time.
I didn't travel that much but I don't mind since I'm more of a indoor person. But for 2023, I might decide to travel more.
ATV at Rizal
I love first-time experiences, and riding an ATV is one of them. It was much easier to learn and ride an ATV than a bike, especially since I didn't have to balance. I also really enjoy spending time and travelling with my friends. Out of the two, I think I enjoyed this trip the most.
Going to Bohol, PH
It was my first time riding an airplane, so I had a lot of fun. Seeing the clouds and the Philippines from above was breathtaking. Moreover, spending time in nature was very relaxing.
Swimming wasn't really my thing, but kayaking was different. I enjoyed the thrill of being above the waters, seeing the vast ocean, even though I didn't know how to swim. It was awesome.
Also, when I went outside, I was in awe of nature's beauty, but at the same time I became sad. Sad that we as humans are not taking care of it properly. Deforestation, garbage, and endangered species - it just saddens me.
I also felt guilty taking a picture of the Tarsier while they were asleep. So I left the Tarsier's place early, thinking that I'd rather let them get their beauty sleep. If you think about it, it is weird having someone take pictures of you while you're asleep.
I was with my family this time. I came to realize that I don't really like travelling with a kid. They can suck the fun out of things at times and I don't like being forced to babysit during trips.
As my career progresses for the better, I value my time more than money. Unlike before, when I was taught to always be frugal, I now prefer buying quality over quantity, buying services/stuff that save me time. An example of this is buying a washing machine. It was a worthwhile investment because manually doing laundry takes too much time and effort, which means less time and energy for doing things that matter to me. Another example is availing a weekly food subscription. At times when I was busiest with work and life, I decided that having someone else cook a healthy meal for me was more beneficial than doing the cooking myself. Now, I only cook on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weeks that I feel are not too busy, especially since I prefer cooking to learn the skill rather than cooking just for something to eat.
On another note, I wasn't responsible when it came to buying learning resources. I bought a lot of courses which would help in my career, however I didn't find the time to work through them. I haven't even finished Epic React Dev, ThreeJS Journey, and CSS for JS Dev. So this year, in 2023, I will stop buying new ones and finish my existing ones.
Another mistake I made was not saying "no", and letting others decide for me. This led to unplanned and surprise expenses that greatly affected my finances.
Overall, I was more responsible with my finances in 2022 than in 2021. In 2021, I wasn't able to save any money, but in 2022 I now have savings. However, I do have a lot of unnecessary expenses. So for this year, 2023, I will focus on completing my emergency fund and saying no to others.
So far, my mental health is much better compared to 2021. Since I moved out to an apartment that has windows and sunlight, my anxiety has become less. Most of my issues at the moment involve my sleeping schedule. If I sleep properly, I'm okay. But if my body clock shifts at night, that's where the problem comes in. Moreover, I'm not as hard on myself anymore. Currently, I'm learning to be more content with what I have.
The year 2022 has been good to me. I didn't focus much on learning and reading, instead I focused on building and writing. So this year, I'm doing my best to read more books and finish the courses that I've bought. Anyways, I'm looking forward to what's in store for 2023, cheers!