I don’t have a link to it, but I remember reading about how some people essentially “reinvent” themselves multiple times over the course of their lives. They are constantly learning new things and switch careers to some other focus every decade or so, in an attempt to live a rich, varied life free of stagnation.

An interesting idea, if you can pull it off. After all, typically, people are married and have a family to take care of. And if not for a family, one’s own finances need to be secure.

Now, I’m not planning on quitting my job any time soon, mind you (I love it quite a bit), but I think the basic idea could at least be applied to one’s hobbies…

Since I was in high school in the 90s, I’ve always had a thick interest in game development. Skipping past the boring self-analysis, I came close to doing it professionally a couple times in the last decade, but otherwise it’s mostly stayed a hobby. But it was one I actively participated in during my off hours… I could cite various reasons, but suffice it to say that despite my dreams of ‘going pro’, it never took off.

Other, recent events have soured the milk on game development even further. It was probably for the best, though. All it ever did was remind me of unfinished projects, and planning for a future that wasn’t going to exist. Never mind the increasing number of horror stories from inside the industry, as people begin to feel safe about opening up about corporate abuse and general misery.

So, over the last couple months I’ve decided to pack up my game development hobby and put it into a little box in the closet. Sure, I’ll still keep tabs on industry news and people’s fun indie projects and stuff, but it’s no longer a primary interest.

What will fill the void?

Well, over the last couple years I’ve been, off and on, attending the B-Sides information security conferences along the east coast. I always had fun, but felt a bit weird going to them. It wasn’t my field. I felt like an outsider, even though it was stuff I could potentially apply to my day job. But as time went on, the wheels of further interest started turning…

Network security has always been a major weak point in my computer education. Compiler internals, hardware, software development? Sure, I love that stuff. But network administration? Server security? Subnet masks? OSI layers? I’ve had, more or less, only a scattered, surface level understanding. (No worries — I had a good handle on what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to security when working on software projects, so no worries there at least …mostly. I mean, as far as I know. Oh god, now I’m paranoid.)

So, I’ve been taking courses. I’m going all-in on educating myself about all of it. Taking part in CTF challenges. Pentesting my own internal network. Breaking into vulnerable virtual machines. (Already taught me a ton about WordPress security. Cough.) And I’ve been taking extensive notes as I go.

And you know what? I’m addicted. This is seriously fulfilling stuff. And my interest has only increased the further in I get. It’s like an infinite box of puzzles that keeps my brain active.

So now I have a primary hobby that is not only good for me, good for helping others, but also helps my day job.

I don’t want to say it’s goodbye forever to game development, but it’s going to be a long time, if ever, before that flame is reignited. And hey, maybe I’ll write up some more educational stuff here and there to help others, like me, along the way. I’d be down for that. 😎