What I’ve Been Up to In December (and 2021 Review)

December was a restful month, the winter arrived with proper cold temperature (some places in the Bay Area actually hailed and snowed!), as well as heavy rain that helped mitigate our severe drought.  Nights are cold and long which repeatedly reminded me of the question if humans should just hibernate in these cold months 🙂   

Instead of reviewing just the month of December, below is my annual review of 2021!

Creating and hacking stuffs

  • Game Development & Pixel Art
    • I took a long pause in the 2nd half of the year, but I’ve continued to slowly put together my 1st game. (screenshot and prototype below hosted on itch.io… Try walking around with WASD keys, and G key to attack)
  • Drawings –
    • Inktober in October – Still very proud that I participated and did 31 illustrations, one per day.
    • Weekly drawing – Every week I pick one out of the 300 Tang Poems (唐詩三百首). A year later I have 49 of them! Here is a comparison of the 1st and last post of the year 2021. I feel pretty happy with my improvement on both drawing and calligraphy.
    • I’ve created a store with some of my art creation: https://store.heta.link/. Yes, this store needs a bit more love, I hope to create more items in 2022
  • Writing
    • Newsletter – I’ve published one news digest/newsletter per week about tech and science. While I enjoy doing it, I also have been re-thinking the actual impact of doing this as well as considering alternatives. More on this later.


    • Nostalgic Game Reviews – I’ve been writing this panel once a month, and expecting to run out of games to write about in another few months 🙂 It’s definitely been fun researching and writing about this topic near and dear to my heart!


    • I tried to write a story, and it turned itself into an illustration book (:D still in development)

Consuming Stuffs

  • I took a few courses and finished them (mostly in H1)
    • Pixel Art (Udemy)
    • Copywriting  (Udemy)
    • Node.js Full stack web development  (Udemy)
    • Investment bootcamp  (Udemy)
    • Business: Corporate Strategy (LinkedIn Learning)
  • I’ve read books and articles, to name a few:
    • Beat the Street
    • 5 Love Language for Teenager
    • A Promised Land
    • Dorothy Must Die – 4 main books…
    • One Story subscriptions
    • The Secrets of Lost Stone (still reading)
  • I’ve seen many movies, TV shows – Too many to list, so only to name a few favorites
    • Westworld
    • Tenet
    • The Suicide Squad
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
    • Dune
    • Doom Patrol
    • The Conjuring movies (x7)
  • I’ve played a lot of games, and beat a few great ones too.
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider (I am planning to play through the other two in the series)
    • Star Wars Battlefront II single player campaign
    • Metro Last Light Redux (quit ~ 50%)
    • Ori and Blind Forest
    • Beautiful Desolation
    • A Plague Tale: Innocence
    • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’

Failures, Missed Opportunities

  • I still have not invested (pun intended) enough time to seriously look through my investments and financials, and I wanted to spend more time to looking into crypto, NFT and web3 (anything blockchain) but nothing to report here.
  • My artistic projects progressed a lot slower in H2 due to the new job (which I took on extended responsibilities and leadership role). I experimented with fine tuning my daily routine to really get some proper progress.
  • I didn’t spend nearly enough effort into expanding my (audience) reach… while this is arguable intended, yet it is an missed opportunity.

All in all, 2021 in retrospect is a huge growth year. I invested into learning stuff and figured out a system/schedule to get things done. For 2022, I am hoping I can ease into it with the system built last year, and start to really produce (game, arts, books… etc).

So here are my goals for 2022: Not to have goals – or, let me clarify, not to have goal for the sake of having them. I’ve read many people write this in various ways, “goals are counter productive”, “goals are for procrastinators”, “forget about goals, have a theme”. These well intended message can probably be sum up to how our ego fighting against ourselves – frightened by our own mortality and fearing that we would regret for not doing enough when looking back. We set goals, ambitious goals, that overcompensates and feed more anxiety enough to kick ourselves into a vicious cycle.

I think I will just set up a few ‘aspirations’:

  1. Produce – continue to produce drawing, game dev as the platform to tell stories. Books and physical arts are not out of the picture, but I won’t push hard to get them.
    • Writing – I am pivoting the weekly newsletter into twitter posts as I realized it may be a more suitable channel for tech/science news digest. I’ve already started doing this, check it out!
  2. Work – continue to run impactful efforts by leading people and scaling operations.
  3. Consume – As mentioned above, I’d like to dig into web3/blockchain and learn more about it. Also continue to read lots of books (although I am a slow reader :D)
  4. Life – a bit more travel to new destinations… if COVID situation would improve and lower the risks.

If you really finished reading the above, I thank you, and wish that my sharing would either entertain you, or inspire you (if you’ve been thinking about your own creative projects).