2020 was obviously one of the most difficult years in recent recorded human history. The world experienced great tragedy with numerous losses along with incredible turmoil domestically (from an American’s viewpoint) and internationally. Despite what happened, my own year for the most part remained unscathed as far as personal tragedies. So I cannot say it was an awful year for myself directly.
The year started off with me having a god awful cold. As a matter of fact, I had two one that I received as I went on my PTO and one as I was recovering while attending the DMV in trying to renew my license. Around that time, COVID-19 had not been making the rounds in the states, although rumors persisted of the occasional case, where many people blew it off as a hoax.
For myself, I really pushed the month of December to get a bunch of documents in order as my driver’s license was up for renewal, which lead to a chaotic quest of seeking all the necessary paperwork to resolve that matter. In the process, I learned I no longer had my original birth certificate, my passport had expired and I needed to get a photo ID to replace my old one.
While this might not seem like a lot, the paperwork in trying to gather all these documents or get new ones felt daunting. I had gotten so stressed out that I’m sure my immune system weakened to the point of permitting my sickness during my break, which really sucked as this often times would happen while working at my previous company.
Luckily, everything worked out and all my documents were renewed or claimed. However, around February, one of the major projects that I had been on was heating up at my company, causing non-stop ulcers and frequent anxiety attacks. By this point, we were ordered to work from home as the cases of COVID-19 ramped up, which I felt was great since the commute was destroying me.
At the same time, virtually all of our clients were forced to shut down, pushing out my project’s deadline. I had publicly thanked COVID-19 for that gift as I don’t think I would have been able to survive another week on that project without some buffer or relief.
Yet the bosses’ belief was that we should be prepared for when the parks and stadiums returned to normal. Considering what was going on in Italy and Wuhan, I thought they were insane. It was sheer arrogance on a variety of people’s parts in believing that anything would open up.
Nonetheless, people really believed that things would return to normal by April. It’s now 2021 and not only has America become one of the most infected countries with COVID-19, California is the hottest spot on the planet for this.
I keep thinking that this incessant arrogance by the American public and government, in believing that COVID-19 would magically disappear somehow using brute force tactics, is the real root cause in why things continue to be fucked up.
Nevertheless, that’s a digression. The thing is that the ongoing mistreatment of my situation made me want to quit. Finally, after this dickhead of a software manager tried to force me to fix one last problem, I told him it would be the last. At that point, I handed in my notice and never felt better.
That was around late June or July. After that, I learned a variety of people started to quit. Some people I heard blamed me but all my resignation did was hopefully make people realize things weren’t peachy.
At the same time, I had been procrastinating in buying my stock options. But the way this economy has crashed, I realized that the short term loss would affect me harder than any long term gain. And I’m glad I didn’t buy those options because I just couldn’t believe in that company anymore.
From there I spent time trying to fix my apartment up and more importantly myself. I spent time learning to cook and bought an Instant Pot, which has changed my life for the better. The quote I use in describing what my previous company did to me was that there’s somethings I doubt will ever heal.
Even now, my energy level has been the lowest in my life. While huge contributing factors are age (of course), improper dieting and lack of exercise, I feel those elements would be negligible if my motivation hadn’t been destroyed. I do think I lost some weight as a result of not binge eating the way I did at my previous employer, but that’s mostly due to just not eating regularly enough.
The other thing though is that I’ve been trying to mentally heal. I needed time to distance myself from the fury of thoughts that would surround me anytime I pondered my existence at my previous company. In turn, I tried to focus more on my writing.
Before getting into writing, I will say for other major losses this year, one was Twitch. I suppose, at the end of the day, this in reality was a good thing. Twitch was a fun distraction when it started and I met other people through it but no one that I could consider my true friends. I had a bunch of fantasies about meeting a nice girl through Twitch but that never came to pass.
While I somewhat soured on that idea, it never made me want to shut them down completely. What did make me want to quit was the inability to block ads. That to me is insufferable. And while the updated ToS pissed me off, the insertion of ads directly into the stream made it the final straw.
It’s sad that there aren’t any other major competitors. Mixer sadly was one of the major tragedies and the poor timing of its fate made the scenario all the more head shaking. In reality, Mixer looked to be shaping up to the be the better technical platform. But they simply never had the numbers. I think if they had stuck around for the updated ToS and ad insertion for Twitch, Mixer would have been able to survive.
Another dying hobby of mine is Path of Exile. This past year slowly showed me the arrogance and decline of what could have been the best ARPG around. Right now, I don’t think there is someone whom I can claim as the best just because everyone took themselves down a notch, leaving a blank opening.
But the game just has been on a decline in my book. The priorities for how that game is made just seem ass backwards. My own analysis of the game’s life cycle and GGG’s hellbent approach at maintaining that idiom made me realize that I should step further and further away from it.
Even now, with Flashback having roughly two days remaining, my will to finish up my projects just is null. I can’t see myself accomplishing the goals I wanted within such a small window since the game is too heavily gated. And without the nonstop time investment, I just have zero hope of advancing much further.
The good news really is that I’m close to completing my novel’s 2nd draft. In some way, it almost feels like an entirely new book since I rewrote a good chunk along the way, especially the third act. While the original goal was to complete it before the end of the year, I can safely say that I’m very close to finishing this up. Maybe another major chapter or two.
After finishing, I can’t say what I’ll do immediately next. I’m considering taking a break and focusing on some tech before doing a re-read/edit pass. I know there’s a bunch of areas that had notes where I’m aware of possible plot holes or spots I needed to fill. But at this stage, I just want to get it done.
What I really want to do is start on the 2nd book. I’ve done two initial starts and neither were remotely to my satisfaction. The good thing about this 2nd draft of the first book is that I found myself better focused, which would help lead into the next book. The first major draft was a good race course as an exercise for finishing such an effort. But the 2nd draft definitely had more meat and better literary elements like foreshadowing and character development.
That’s not to say I won’t have a 3rd draft. But I think I’m happier overall with what I have this time around. Also, getting a start on the 2nd book would put my mind at ease for other reasons (namely, the feeling of moving forward on a project).
Either way, looking back on 2020, I feel as though if there was a purpose to it, it was to get me out of that mental funk of a job and pursuing my dream of becoming a more focused writer. There have been lots of little distractions on the way but COVID-19 certainly took out the majority of them.
The great thing about the way the world is now is that it’s forced me to look further inward, which is what I needed to do for pushing harder on my writing. I still read the news far too much for my own state of mind, but all the emotion and events only help inspire my writing.