Today marks the one year anniversary of my departure from Australia.
It all feels a bit surreal in retrospect. My lifestyle has become so different from the fairly secluded one I led back in Perth. I wasn’t unhappy with my lot in life by any means. On the contrary, I considered myself very fortunate to have such a loving family, a good home and a job I tended to enjoy more often than not. Working as a games advisor, I got to spend my days talking about the medium I loved with other like-minded people, and I was able to continue enjoying my hobbies at the end of the day. Then I got pulled onto a little project that would eventually come to be known as Starbound and everything began to change.
What started as a hobby quickly became an obsession. I began burning the candle at both ends, working long and hard into the late hours for several months, often coming into my day job with only a couple of hours sleep at most. Eventually I made the decision to switch from full-time to part-time to free up precious hours to work on Starbound. Months later I dropped the job completely when I was offered a contract to work on Starbound full-time. It had become such an all-encompassing aspect of my life that I barely left the house and only got to see my friends a couple of times a month at most.
My family was incredibly supportive during this time; especially my mother. She understood my situation, mirroring much of my enthusiasm for the project and it’s potential. It was a gamble, to be sure, as I would ultimately spend half a year working with no income, getting by with savings I’d been putting aside for a rainy day. At the time we had no idea whether Starbound would be successful. Being a person who hadn’t really had much in the way of larger aspirations, putting so much time and effort into something that might not succeed was a bit scary, but I remained hopeful all the same.
Fast forward to the present day and things are just so completely different.
Now I’m working in an office full of fun, incredibly talented people. In this place my friends and co-workers are one and the same. While city life in London is pretty damn expensive, I really like the area I live in, and not having a 45 minute commute to and from work is a really nice change from my previous jobs. I can get to the office on foot in just over twenty minutes if I move at a decent clip, and now I’m just a stone’s throw away from visiting my friends if I feel like being sociable.
The past year has also represented pretty good progress on my weight loss journey. After receiving a heartfelt plea from one of my best friends to start seriously thinking about my health, I decided that when I moved here I would try to take control of my eating habits and exercise more often, and that’s precisely what I’ve done. I’ve been carefully calorie counting most of my meals and making sure I walk to and from work on a regular basis. Honestly I don’t feel like I’ve been this healthy since my uni days when I was playing a frankly ridiculous amount of Dance Dance Revolution.
To put it in perspective, when I first arrived in London at this time last year, I weighed in at 130kg, dangerously close to being classed as morbidly obese. At time of writing I’ve gotten myself down to 105kg, which means I’ve successfully managed to drop 20% of my body weight in the past year. As someone who has been obese for almost his entire life, this is incredibly encouraging. My goal is ultimately to get myself down to a healthy weight (about 70kg), which I think is probably going to take me another couple of years to reach, but I’m okay with doing things at a steady pace.
Honestly, I couldn’t ever have imagined my life being what it is now. When I started working on Starbound all I had was the earnest hope that it would someday lead to something bigger and better, and even in it’s incomplete form it has already done exactly that. Developing the game continues to be an absolute joy, and I’m totally pumped for the stuff we’re going to be working on over the next couple of months! I’m really looking forward to this June as well, when I’ll be visiting my friends and family back home in Perth. I’ve missed them all a great deal and I will be doling out hugs like nobody’s business!
Here’s to another great year!