My 2015 - The Year of New Adventures


Compared to 2014, this year 2015, I put up a better plan for the year and even had monthly goals. Normally, yearly reviewing is done on a Google doc and kept private. But this year, I want to put it on this blog so I am more accountable to myself.

Work

The biggest decision I made this year is to quit the first full-time job. I am not suitable for agency model, where the relationship with client needs a lot of rework to maintain the integrity of doing design and development across different projects and clients. I have moved to a product company where there is one client with one product. It has given me more focus with clear goal everyday going to work.

Leaving my first full-time job also meant a much-needed retrospective time. After graduation, I took the job to set my foot into industry and since then kept working without thinking through my career. I realised that I learnt a great deal of knowledge and skills from the people I worked with. I am happy that I made that choice almost 2 years ago.

My new job has brought a new perspective into my design work as I am designing help people to travel better. There are much things for me to learn about travel industry.

Fear

Fear has been the reason I didn’t do and did a lot of things. I discovered some of my fear in 2015:

  • Height, Depth, Confined space
  • Fear of not having enough time
  • Fear of being left behind in society

There is the fear and the fear to start fighting it back. My solution is to get used to the fear and understand where it comes from. I tried to play sports with height such as rock climbing, mountain climbing. The fear in confined space is a new one that I discovered during my trip to Cu Chi tunnel (near Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) and twice during flights. The fear is still there but I get better at handling the it.

The fear of not having enough time and being left behind in society is due to the depression I had when applying for new job and felt frustrated when comparing myself to my peers. It was extremely unhealthy. I kept going and found a fulfilling job. Running also taught me how to tackle these fears. I am going to write a blog post about this.

Health

I moved house so the my 2014 gym schedule is interrupted. I decided to join a gym near my new office. Regular excercising has helped me release stress after office hours.

I ran 2 half marathons this year (Standard Chartered 21km and Sundown 21km) and improved my stamina a lot. This is what I am proud of the most about my health.

I experimented with standing desk this year, at both office and home. I felt better working in office and have more energy. It’s a good way to lose weight and stay focused after lunch time.

Things planned but not done properly yet this year are meditation and yoga. I could only practice those for a few days then gave up. These are going to be my goals in 2016.

Travel

I travelled to a few cities this year:

  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hong Kong
  • Ho Chi Minh, VIetnam
  • Surabaya, Indonesia

I felt like short trips take more energy from me. I enjoy longer trip with more time to rest and refresh perspective to enjoy small things. The trip to Hong Kong really opened my eyes to a city with a lot of public spaces designed for people.

After Mt.Fuji in 2012, I haven’t climbed any mountain until 2015. Summiting Mt.Semeru is a memorable achivement I had with my new colleagues in Wego.

Most of my time in Indonesia was for climbing. I started to understand the people in Indonesia and fall in love with Indonesian food. I now eat Indonesian food at least once every week.

During all my trips, the most memorable times are with my friends, new and old ones. I am lucky to have all these friends around me sharing both enjoyable and challenging times.

Design

I revamped my portfolio website and transfered many cluttered projects to the website you are reading. I wrote more this year and felt more confident with my writing. More articles is my goal in 2015. Next year is a higher quality of writing.

I joined UX Hong Kong conference this year and really loved it. It is only my 2nd design conference after UX Singapore in Oct, 2014.

In June, my friends and I in a game development group called Hiterus published our first Android game. It’s a big achievement for me. I learnt a lot about UI game design and app publishing.

2015 is a year that I learnt different set of new design skills. Knowing my strength and weakness better is what I have been doing.

Photography

My photography blog has been continued this year. I bought an iPhone 6 Plus and took more photos with it more than my film camera. Film photography with its complication slowed down me. I love the fact that it separates the desire to see photos published on social media, which delay the gratification and improve focus when taking photos. However, the need to capture the moment at right times make mobile photography a better fit.

Reading

My favourite non-fiction book in 2015 is Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro. It really changed how I see my job and approach my career planning as a grand design project.

I was given the book The Little Prince with its simple life lessons. My favorite part is about friendship:

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean – tame?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”

“To establish ties?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Murakami is my most favourite author and I just finished What I talk about when I talk about running. It is a great book about life as well.

“Sometimes taking time is actually a shortcut.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I tried a few other non-fiction books this year but haven’t finished such as Awake The Giant within by Tony Robbins and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

Volunteering

A recent activity that I took up is volunteering for Garden by the Bay. Though it has been only 3 months but I think this is one of the most meaningful acivities I did in 2015.

Languages

It is not a good year for me when it comes to learning new languages. I set a goal of improving my Japanese but then didn’t learn more of it in 2015.

This year, I learnt Chinese for 3 months but stopped after finishing the beginner class due to busy schedule at new job. One thing I got out of the class is a love for Chinese culture.

Family

The Christmas vacation with parents and sister is my best highlight this year.

To end this post, I want to borrow my favourite quote from The Godfather.

“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” ― Mario Puzo, The Godfather