The Happiest


Exactly as the title suggests, this was my week. I loved my life so much that I almost totally erased myself from social media and stopped watching Youtube or Netflix or anything like that. I just wanted to be in the moment and be fully present for everything I was doing. And this week was not like a dramatically unique moment for me: I was going to school five days a week, cooking simple meals for myself every day, occasionally meeting up with old or new friends. But I felt that all the confusions and doubts I had earlier this year prepared me for this period of my life and helped me have so much appreciation for what I have right now, and what I used to have at Princeton, too! Here is the thing. I miss Princeton more every day, and if I ever thought that I could possibly drop out during this year before, I cannot see that possibility at all now. And I love that I miss it. If I try to remember what I’m feeling now as long as I can, I think I will have a much better time at Princeton when I go back. 

Also, it just occured to me after I came to London that my previous anxieties were about really tangible things. Almost as soon as I started this game art course, I just felt so settled. That groundedness has only increased the longer I am here and the deeper the course goes into teaching all the skills we need to build environments for games. We are actually learning so much more than I had expected: 3d modeling and UV editing in Maya, organic 3d modeling in Zbrush, applying textures in Substance Painter, designing materials in Substance Designer, importing assets and building actual game environment in Unreal Engine, etc. I’m learning here in a way more intensely than I would if I were in Gnomon now, as this is part of an accelerated Master’s program (which includes the Game Art course that I’m taking, a VFX course, and a big group project). I’m just amazed by how things turned out like this! I get so excited in class some times my teacher and experienced classmates genuinely find me entertaining for it, which, I’m glad I entertained them for “wowing” at every new trick we learned. While I have a TON of things I hope I could accomplish during this gap year (several projects I plan to do, a lot of habits I want to build to become a healthier human being in every way, a lot of new experiences I want to have), I genuinely felt that I would be content with this gap year if I just stay home for the rest of my gap year after this course. So, apparently, I wanted to learn these skills that badly.

(a sneak peak at the little odd world I’m building hehe)

But, as I said earlier, I am only able to so fully appreciate and enjoy my life right now because I went through so many confusions and anxious states earlier. Especially this summer. Especially when I was in Philly. This is how I think about my summer now:

a lot of pressure and anxieties built up while I was in Princeton, but I was too busy to really face these anxieties. And all of a sudden I was living on my own, with no official structure to my day to day life. I usually had good times during the day, but as soon as it got to the night times and I got back to my little room, I had to face the anxieties more directly and I didn’t want to fall asleep because I felt SO far behind from where I would like to be as a person. 

And what I feel now is similar to the start of fall last year, shortly after a one-week meditation retreat I went to in France in mid-August. I came out of the retreat feeling excited for the very idea that I still had so much room for growth because I was able to see the challenge of personal growth as a beautiful thing. 

I don’t know how long my current happiness and groundedness will last, but I will cherish every moment of it before something comes up again. Actually don’t have much more to say about my life this week, but I am excited to share what I do with my game art projects as I get more done!

a few additional things:

︎books I’ve enjoyed recently: 

︎newsletters I’ve enjoyed recently:

1. Quanta
2. Science X
3. Futurism
4. Undark
5. Edge
6. The Download of MIT technology review

I became more intentional with my newsletters about a month ago. I selected the newsletters that have actual good content, and built a gmail filter for the sender address of these newsletters, and the label name is “🤔🤔🤔”, which is really easy to recognize from all the texts in the inbox. And I’d find a small chunk of time every day or so to “binge scan” through the titles and read whatever I’m particularly interested in. Especially because I am devoting so much of my time to non-science stuff currently, these newsletters have been a great way to give myself some science input as well, even though just for a little bit!