📝 Getting to know myself more in the past year

    Originally posted online on 25 September 2021.

    I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve gone through, both the good and bad, because these have all shaped me into who I am now.


    point-of-view of someone on a road bike, where the handlebars are visible, peering out to the road in front of them. A bit of sunlight is reflecting on the asphalt of the road, which somewhat encourages you to press on.
    Photo by Flo Karr / Unsplash

    This past year, I think I have gotten to know myself better.

    It feels refreshing to be fully aware of the things I love and things I’d rather not go into, to know where my boundaries are, and to know which things I’d like to try out, either soon or in the far future.

    The future doesn’t seem as intimidating to me now as it was when I was younger. Sure, it’s still a vast unknown, but I find myself looking at it in anticipation more than fear. I know the future’s coming. I just need to prepare myself for it now. And it’s also up to me how I want to face this future.

    It’s not as daunting anymore for me to say, “my future is in my hands.” I have a better understanding and appreciation of this now. It’s a bit scary to have this kind of responsibility, but it also feels empowering.

    I also see where I feel like I am lacking, and where I would need improvement to become a better version of myself.

    On living alone, and recognizing responsibility

    I still sometimes feel like I’m not ready for certain “big” roles where I need to take care of a lot of things.  Honestly, even at 25, I still feel like I’m a child. But I think this is due to my environment and where I am now in my life. I still live with my parents now. It’s helped a lot in terms of finances and stability, but I know I shouldn’t just stop here.

    Now knowing this, I have a solid desire to live on my own because I want to be forced to face that responsibility of having to take care of myself and not rely on others. Initially it felt daunting to just up and go do this because I felt I had no real reason why I wanted, or needed to do this. But after recognizing this fact with myself, I feel the responsibility to see it through.

    This is easier said than done, though, and given where I am based, it’s an uphill battle. And I’m privileged to have the means to attain it in the next year or so. I just need to lay it out, lest I forget.

    I plan to do that in the next couple of months. That’s not something I can just “cram”, even though other people do inevitably do that anyway. Hopefully this is something that I can follow through until the end.

    On working and being with other people

    I also understand more how I work by myself and with others. I’m maximizing my want to be clear on things by showing that through my over-communication online.

    Especially in the setting where remote work is now becoming a norm (one, due to the pandemic, and two, due to shifting needs in the industry), I value the “soft skills” I’ve learned as an Internet savvy kid back then. I was always responsive when chatting with people online, and did my best to be as respectful as possible, since I recognize that I am talking with actual people on the other side.

    One thing I do know I need more help with in, is dealing with others in cases where it’s not so “positive”. This is one thing I do think I am getting better at, the more times I have to do it. I put it to myself to absorb the lessons from other people’s experiences that they have shared, either to me directly, or to stuff I read online.

    It’s one thing to know about it, it’s another thing to execute it by yourself. And that’s when the learning actually happens. That’s when you know what you need to do, what not to do, and what to improve on to the next. And you keep on doing it. Keep on doing it, until you get better.

    Thankful for the company (the group of people kind)

    A lot of the things I do now, I learned because of the people around me. I have learned so much from my family, my friends, my colleagues, and even random people-turned-acquaintances from various sources and settings. It helps to get yourself out there, even when sometimes you feel like either you think that others will think you’re ridiculous, or if you think that no one will notice you anyway.

    Good news: either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters more is if you like what you’re doing.

    I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve gone through, both the good and bad, because these have all shaped me into who I am now. And these experiences have also helped me pave the way in front of me, in the way that I want for myself. Sure, this can get derailed because of things that are out of my control, but one thing I know about myself is I can adapt to the situation. It may not be as fast sometimes, but I do end up getting through it.

    I’ve survived this far, surely I can keep on going. What’s important is to always try.

    📝 Figuring out where to go and listening to our inner selves

    This was originally posted on 4 September 2021.

    Some advice on what to do when feeling stuck and sharing some reflections on how I move forward


    I’ve been in the industry for around 5 years now. I’m at the point where I’m thinking about the next phase of my career and wonder how I should grow. I have enough experience, yet I still doubt if I’ve done enough. Other people even look up to me already since I help organize knowledge sharing sessions and workshops in the local tech and design community.

    Despite having gone so far in my journey as a UX professional, I still feel stuck. So now I ask myself, what’s next? Where do I go from here?

    Photo of Chi walking with her road bike on the sidewalk. The point-of-view is from her back.
    Photo by Richard Parayno via Dispo

    Which career path to choose

    This tweet from David Hoang struck a chord to me since its topic was timely:

    Screenshot of a Tweet from David Hoang which reads, 'Don't feel the pressure of becoming a manager if you feel what you love and the biggest impact you can make is being an individual contributor, though make sure the career path has that headroom for your growth.'
    Source: @davidhoang on Twitter

    If you’re working in a more traditional work environment, you may feel inclined to go the managerial route after a few years of working. After all, that’s how it has been ever since and is probably how you’d visualize your career progression.

    But what if you enjoy your work as an individual contributor? You just want to keep creating and honing your craft, and managing people is the last thing you’d do for work.

    If you’re like me, who’s leaning towards staying as an individual contributor for now, you might be asking yourself:

    • Is this what I’ll do for the rest of my career?
    • Is there anything I need to learn (or unlearn) with how I do things?
    • Is anyone even looking for a designer with my skill set?

    And so on.

    Is this all there is to it?

    It’s easy to feel stuck since the increase in prowess doesn’t mean an increase in scope in what you handle. You might be honing your visual design skills, yet you’re doing the same kind of mockups and user flows for different projects.

    You might even start to doubt your own skills since you think you’re not doing anything different. If you try to learn other things — on top of everything else you need to do — it may feel discouraging since you either don’t have the time, energy or capacity to get started and focus on it. In my case, I think I’ve reached my skill ceiling for visual design. So now I focus on organizing and maintaining design systems instead.

    I pride myself on building libraries for the different projects or prototypes I work on. But every now and then, I need to choose which one to focus on. Either I don’t complete the end-to-end flow for a particular prototype, or I don’t have time to maintain the component library for the next few weeks. Unfortunately, both have their own consequences.

    Work is work; we won’t run out of things to do. And as tasks pile up, we eventually reach a cap on how much we can do. We all have our limits. We can’t take on everything all at once.

    Taking a step back and looking inwards

    At this point, I’m already overwhelmed. I can hear my inner voice saying, “How do I even grow as a designer when I don’t have the proper space to do so?!”

    Nowadays, though, I’ve learned to stop and take a moment to collect my thoughts. I do my best to remember my achievements, no matter how trivial. This keeps me grounded and helps me feel better about myself. Accepting my limitations and recognizing my past achievements help me feel unstuck from where I am now and focus on the present.

    The main thing here is acceptance: that for everything that needs to be done, you can’t take them all at once. It’s not the end of the world if things don’t get finished.

    I’ve learned over the years to not discredit my work, even though it’s easier said than done. It takes practice, but it’s doable. It may be hard, but it’s achievable.

    Giving yourself credit

    There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back. It’s important to remember that despite possibly having so many downs, there are also so many ups in your life.

    The person who deserves your utmost trust is no other than yourself. And if you’d rather design 50 screens for a prototype or maintain a design system instead of “moving up the ladder” and managing a team, then just go do that! You don’t have to pressure yourself to do otherwise. You may opt to consider the possibility, but if it really doesn’t feel right with you, then just don’t do it.

    Listen to what your inner self is telling you. Whether it be about where you want to bring your career and dealing with things in the present, no one knows what you want best except yourself. After all, it really is up to you.

    And in my case: I still like what I’m doing. And if I want to change things up, then so be it. I’ll go wherever I choose to.

    📝 25 Things I Learned after 25 years of existing

    This was originally posted on 4 September 2021.

    My birthday has officially passed. I figured I’d write a list of 25 things I learned as I turned 25, in no particular order, just for the heck of it.


    Some of these may be rephrases of other items, and some might also contradict each other. Then again, this isn’t a list you should take everything word-for-word. Some items resonate with different experiences in my life, hence why they’re listed here.

    #1: Being patient with yourself eventually pays off.

    You may be super eager to try something out, or you can’t wait for yourself to get better, but trust me: learn to wait. Learn to take things one at a time. It’ll pay off in the end. You’ll thank yourself for taking the time.

    #2: Sometimes, the best way to make up for a mistake is to acknowledge it and move on.

    And it’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake. You’re human; it happens. It’s still bound to happen even after this.

    No trying to fix it, especially if it’s something that can’t be fixed anyways.

    What’s important is how you get back up.

    #3: Your account is your own space on the internet.

    Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on the spaces allocated for you. So what if other people don’t like it, or don’t pay mind to it? It’s fine! It’s your space. You can do whatever you want with it.

    #4: You can be friends with someone and yet still not like their whole being.

    And that’s fine. You don’t have to force yourself to like every single bit of a person. That’s reserved for certain people only, not every single person you talk to. You’ll tire yourself out that way.

    #5: Resting is completely okay, and you don’t have to reach a quota on how much you’ve “rested” to make it worthwhile.

    Spent the rest of the day playing games? That’s okay. Spent it all lying on bed? That’s fine as well. Worked on a bunch of side projects? That’s good, too!

    #6: A change in mindset does wonders to your wellbeing.

    This may be cliché, and doesn’t work all the time, but oh, on the days it does work. Oh, boy. It does wonders.

    I am reminded of this TikTok video from Abraham Piper:

    @abrahampiper Sounds like a joke but it works. Try it! #reframe #thoughtexperiment #trickyourself #psychology #notadoctor #rethink #problemsolving #lateralthinking ♬ original sound - Abraham Piper

    “I can’t simply choose to change [what bothers me], but I can simply change the game.”

    #7: Double check on the “rules” you’ve placed in your life. You might just be limiting yourself for no good reason.

    It’s okay to bend the rules. It’s also okay to change them, especially when they don’t make sense given the current context anymore.

    #8: You can change your opinion on something or some people, based on new information you get.

    Important to fact-check these as well. Such is the way of life.

    Sometimes, a dear friend of yours is apparently an asshole to others. And that doesn’t sit well with you. Well then, it’s perfectly fine to change your opinion about them. Time will tell if you cross paths with them again.

    #9: You don’t have to reply immediately to every single message.

    So what if you seen-zoned someone? In casual conversations, it’s fine. You’re under no obligation to respond immediately. Take your time.

    Besides, you can think about this: if it’s so important that they need a response right away, they’ll call. Sometimes, it’s not as urgent as it’s made out to be, but at least you hit two birds with one stone: the other person gets their response immediately, and you have one less thing to worry about.

    #10: It’s okay to take a stand and defend yourself.

    Even if it feels scary to do so. Don’t think something is okay? Then don’t change your opinion just because other people around you think otherwise. You can call people out.

    #11: Take some credit for yourself, you’ve earned it.

    You’ve been alive for 25 years! That’s a feat in itself!

    Also note that you’ve done so many things! And I’m not talking about grand achievements here. Remember that one time you helped your friend go through something? Or that other time when you shared a meme and a lot of your friends laugh reacted to it? Those times.

    Take those times and cherish them, if they matter to you.

    #12: Financial literacy is very important.

    Money is not inherently evil. Don’t let it control you, manage it instead.

    You can criticize how other people handle money, but that’s it. Just because it’s being mishandled doesn’t mean money shouldn’t be thought of anymore. You’ll end up getting broke if you don’t learn how to manage your funds.

    #13: A clean space does wonders to your mind (and nose).

    Yeah sure, they say a messy space is the sign of a genius yadda yadda, but you know what’s also good? A picturesque work station, clear of any dust particles! Your nose and self-esteem (once you post that photo that wows people) will thank you.

    #14: You don’t have to share every single thing to everyone.

    This applies to public accounts. You have friends for a reason. Share it with them instead.

    #15: Sometimes it’s better to splurge a bit for things you will most likely use a lot.

    But of course, make sure that the item isn’t just ridiculously overpriced. Again, friends are always there to help. You can ask for their opinion on the things you want to spend on to see if it’s worth it.

    #16: You are pretty. You are beautiful. With makeup or without.

    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    #17: Sometimes the only way to find out is to try it.

    Be it a new opportunity, food, that K-Pop group everyone keeps recommending to you… anything! No harm in trying something. At the very least, you’d have one point of reference to see if you like that thing or not.

    #18: Not all battles have to be fought headfirst.

    There are times when you can’t take matters into your own hands. You have to let other people help.

    And on that note…

    #19: It’s okay to ask for help.

    Don’t do this at the last minute. Don’t procrastinate on getting help. Nothing wrong with saying that you’re having difficulty in one matter.

    #20: There’s nothing wrong with blocking people you know.

    Facebook friend being creepy? Block. Some random stranger trying to be super FC (Feeling Close) and is making you uncomfortable? Block.

    #21: You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone.

    You don’t have to convince anyone else. You only have to convince yourself. Just go. You don’t need to have some super convoluted reason on why you want to do it, too. If you want it, then go for it.

    #22: There are instances when it really is better to just let go.

    Don’t be a martyr for your relationship or friendship. You don’t have to suffer for the sake of the other. Let go. You’ll be more at peace afterwards.

    #23: Benefits are there to be used.

    Since you are an employee to a company, learn about the different benefits you have with them. And make use of them. You’ll need all the help you can get in this unforgiving world.

    #24: What may be convention may not be what works for you.

    And again, that’s okay. You don’t have to conform. “Normal” is arbitrary. Who defines that in the first place? Just go do your thing.

    #25: No one cares.

    And that’s okay.

    Honestly. It doesn’t matter anyway. And that’s not as bad as it seems. So there’s no need for you to worry too much on what other people think.

    If you’ve read up until this point, thank you! Hope this 25-list rambling of notes to self was helpful to you in some way.

    I initially wrote this right after my birthday, but deferred in posting it because I was afraid. But now, I’m remembering #25: no one cares. And that’s fine!

    Either way, I’ll always strive to learn and be better.