The last time I pushed an update to the blog in 2019, I was feeling hopeful and inspired. I’d gotten things ready to make a push into professional freelancing and pursuing some vocational changes, and the game plan I put together in the winter months then went flying out the window with 2020. California’s ongoing efforts to reign in independent contracting labor killed the prospect of freelancing, not just locally but online as well; why bother with learning the intricacies and exemptions of the state-specific law when you can simply just filter out California-based talent altogether? Being forced to accept that the plan I felt so confident in was ultimately unfeasible, I decided to take advantage of the proximity of the day job to San Diego City College in downtown and return to school. If contracting administrative and creative services wasn’t going to be feasible, I would at the very least get the ball moving on something that would contribute toward long-term improvement, obtaining a degree and perhaps shop around for a different job with new growth prospects. Halfway through my first semester back in academics for the better part of a decade, the COVID pandemic hit. Though school was able to swiftly accommodate the situation by switching to an online format, that came with its costs as well. Without in-person instruction, I knew I’d have to withdraw from the Algebra class I’d invested all that time in, not willing to stake learning and grading on an un-tested online format.

I otherwise completed the semester successfully. Throughout the brief “relaxed “ summer intersession and the grueling fall-winter semester that followed, to return to organizing and actively updating the ol’ blog was something I intended to do. Yet, amid the time constraints of a full-time job and three-course load on top of household chores—which have increased in frequency in light of all the time being spent at home throughout the pandemic—there wasn’t really much spare time in which to really maintain a blog, much less generate content for it given that what I had intended on doing in terms of online presence wasn’t really feasible, given the dramatic changes in environmental circumstances.

Further complicating matters has been the continued lack of eagerness to participate in “the internet” these days. There’s the long-standing real world implications that social networks have had that discourages their active use. I shoot out the errant missive on Twitter, but I don’t actively consume the trending feed. Facebook is banned from being installed on my phone, so I only use its properties less than a cumulative half hour per week. Beyond social networks is the nature of the current “web 2.5” we’re all living with. Being old enough to recall the original read-only internet that one used to dial into via a landline, there are too many inherent privacy considerations to beware of. Once upon a time, “thechexican” was more than a login handle, it was it a virtual identity. I could let myself known to be the same individual across different websites and forums, but never more than whatever detail was embedded in my activity. These days, pretty much any information is sufficient means by which to identify me and those around me.

Yet, here I find myself halfway through the first month of a New Year, and once again trying to persuade myself that I do need to up my game to what it once used to be back when I found all these services novel and full of wonder, despite my present-day aversions to it all. More so in light of how remote and digitally driven everything has become in the face of the COVID pandemic. One year ago, I started by delineating my personal persona here from the professional at jlew.pro. These days, I’m not so certain that separation was necessary nor prudent; barring undesirable advanced WordPress hackery, that entails managing and attempting to syndicate two different blogs. A problem to resolve down the line, I suppose.

Despite the outcome of the 2020 election cycle, the world still seems dangerously on edge an increasingly unstable. Yet, the stoic ideology I aspire towards prescribes not getting lost in the details of the picture at large and the obstacles they present, but rather to keep an even keel and focus on maximizing my ability and potential in any given circumstance. With better discipline and focus, 2020 itself could have been a period of substantial more improvement that I ended up making of it. One of the things that has certainly helped is making the time to write in my personal DayOne journal, and I can neglect that It would greatly benefit me to start funneling some of those efforts into public-facing writing once more and honing that aspect of the craft further.