the past 10 years

A friend of mine posted his honeymoon photos on Facebook. They went to Spain/Italy for around 3 weeks.

While browsing through those photos, I remembered how 10 years ago, both him and me were studying for our O level exams together.

Warm afternoon but windy. At the study benches. After all our classes have ended. Sometimes we would take a nap and I still remember him drooling over his textbook.

Fast forward to present time, he now runs his own design company, happily married and owns a vehicle. While I still work for someone else, live in a small house, no car and have accomplished nothing worth boasting.

I know it’s silly to compare other people with oneself but I feel that only applies to pessimistic people. I’m a mix of both.

I began to think about the differences in our lives which lead to our current situations. The things we’ve done and how we’ve spent the last 10 years.

Disclaimer: I don’t know what he’s done in the last 10 years but I’m going to guess anyway.

For him. Back in our polytechnic days, I remember he switched courses and sort of wasted 1 year, then finished it in 3 years. Then he has to serve National Service for about 2 years. Which leaves him 4 years to establish what he is today, a boss of his own company. I’ve seen some of his work and they are really good.

For me. I finished my course in 3 years, thereafter I took a 6 months break living a Hikikomori lifestyle. Learned a bit of PHP, then went job hunting. Worked in the same company for the same boss for 6 years for average salary.

Throughout my working years, most of my spare time went into FFXI instead of learning new things. Turned down social gatherings with friends and colleagues. All that’s in my mind at that point in time wasn’t about my future, it was all FFXI.

I’m currently reading a Japanese book about “Net game addicts“. Bought it for reading practice. Reading about the lives of different Japanese people who were addicted to online games. Some dropped out of university. Some neglected their health so bad they got hospitalized.

There’s one chapter about a young addict who says he lost all his youth to net games. All he does now is work random part time jobs. Has low income but enough to meet his daily needs.

Recently, I can’t help but wonder if life would’ve been better if I’ve never played FFXI. Could I be drawing a higher salary, driving my own car, living in a larger apartment now?

Some good things have come out of it though. Friends from all over the world. Having fun while saving money. Acquired natural reflexes when seeing the word “Radiant” somewhere else outside the game.

Still, if anyone asks me if they should play MMORPG, or show interest in one, I would advise them not to. Unless it’s someone with no ambitions at all.

P.S. I still play FFXI, and I don’t see myself quitting at all. However, I’m no longer as addicted as I once was. I have control over it instead of letting FFXI control me.