November 5th, Guy Fawkes Night. While I’m no political activist trying to fight a system that’s holding me down, there’s still plenty I’m fighting against daily. A blogosphere filled with people who just don’t try, satisfied doing the bare minimum for their content, not aspiring to grow any greater than their current stations. A world that still sees most Dads as bumbling idiots, when really, they’re likely the most involved they’ve been at any point in history! It’s a constant hustle to change the narrative around me, and this reality inspired the post you’re reading now — the one where I stare the world down and let it down that we gon’ be alright, even when they want to see us fail.
But let me start from the top.
Long-time readers will remember back when I did monthly updates, trying to show the side of my life that didn’t focus on the blog, and especially showing how I was faring with the list of 100 goals I release annually. In a way, this year’s list was the most ambitious yet as I grew up a little, learning how to put some of my more far-fetched ideas on the back-burner to handle the issues right on my doorstep, realizing I’d never move forward if I left things unfinished.
However, as is often the case with my #BloggerLife, I failed to fully appreciate how awesome my 2015 would be, causing me to re-prioritize constantly as I took on new clients, new opportunities and new ways of thinking as I managed the extra load of new things I had to learn to manage.
In short, though the year started slow as brands figured their annual plans out and everyone focused on surviving the winter blahs, the time’s long overdue for me to plan for the busy years ahead, building the structure I need if I aim to continue juggling family life with two young sons, the ever-growing #BloggerLife and a full-time job.
I don’t know if anyone ever expected me to make it this far.
I can’t completely blame them — before launching CaseyPalmer.com in 2011, I’d tried and failed with a number of blogging projects beforehand. The moneymaking blog. The group art blog. The blogs of a young twentysomething who apparently knew everything about all the things, so the world should obviously pay attention to what I was writing. It was early days yet for my #BloggerLife, and I needed to figure out a whole heap of things that didn’t make me tick before I found the ones that did.
But the more I figured out how I wanted to tell my stories, the stronger the shade grew. Rather than collaborate and create content so we could all eat, some bloggers rather see me burn out so there’s one less peer to compete with in the blogosphere. People would tell me the things I wouldn’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t do, hoping I’d fall in life and play my role like they expected me to — not try to bring anything different to the table and shake things up. More than anything, 2015’s been a real wake-up call after starting the year in a daze — I’ve learned that it’s possible to take this blog farther than I’d ever imagined, but I’m a long way off from being able to sit on my hands and letting the show run itself — it’s time to really hunker down and focus if I want all this content to hit its real potential. It’s no longer like it used to be back when I started this hustle — it’s not just about having the flashiest content. It’s not all about seeing your name in lights and having the biggest following. In 2015, it’s just as important to remember where I came from and continue creating like no one’s ever heard of me as it is to lead an ambitious life, doing everything I can to outdo who I was before.
And in November 2015, I feel like I’m finally getting it.
I’m Fine Thank You, and How Are You?
For the first time in a while, it’s feeling like the sacrifice is really paying off. The sleepless nights, the stress-filled days, and the time invested to show myself not that I’m the best content creator in my city, but that I’m the best content creator I could possibly be, in charge of a site constantly redefining itself to earn its spot in history — ain’t nobody got time to take anything for granted!
As for that itty bitty list that started this year, I haven’t been idle — though I’m always writing, 2015 hasn’t been short of experiences, so I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on a thing (#9); I’m actually rather glad I didn’t return Roam Mobility’s gear to then, since it really came in handy when I hit New York (#11); I got an awesome little booklets of family photos as a Father’s Day gift which complement the pictures already sitting on my desk (#16); I copped a pair of Ecco Soft 7s a month ago which have been one of the best footwear investments I’ve made in a while (#19); I somehow adopted my in-laws’ principles, making me someone who actually cares about being on time* (#21); both sets of grandparents have seen a lot more of Little Man in 2015 than I’d expected (#25); the old and outdated gear I haven’t been touching is finding its way into electronic recycling (#29); I’m putting just about any paper I can find to good use (#30); I’d like to think I think better of people as the year goes on and that it’s reflected in the relationships I keep (#32); I grew up a little and realized that the 25 Reasons Your Blog is BLAH!!! series just has no place in 2015 (#39); got another smartphone (#45); gave the dishwasher a thorough cleaning job (#46); refuse to order some Mint Meltaways because I won’t pay $10 shipping for $13 of product (#47); decided that my birthday wasn’t as big a deal as I’d made it in the past and played it low-key (#53); saw my father- and brother-in-law come over in the summer to help fix our ailing fence (#56); found my way into more photos since it was one busy summer (#59); definitely got to know more of the neighbourhood families with toddlers better over the summer (#60); I hit the Calgary Stampede and lived to tell the tale… just not on the blog (yet) (#63); finally got not one, but two winter jackets to survive our harsh winters (#79); focused less on having a perfect music collection with subscription music services making things so much easier for me (#84); and replaced my iPad 2 with a faster, more portable iPad Mini 3 thanks to Swiffer (#92), pairing it with the Adonit Jot Touch 4 my friend got me for a recent birthday (#93).
And you know what? To hell with shorter posts — I write to create the best stories possible, not meet some guideline that someone says I’m supposed to follow (#98).
“They say sleep is the cousin of death
And nobody wanna die, so nobody getting’ rest…”
— Rapper Big Pooh, “The Jungle”, Sleepers (2005)
So to anyone wondering how I’m really doing, the answer’s “just fine” as I hustle away at a life I never thought I’d have. Some people fake it ’til they make it, but where I’m from? People can smell inauthenticity like a bad stink, you work leaving a bad aftertaste to anyone who consumes it.
If you stopped to give this a read, I salute you as it’s some of the realest stuff I ever wrote. In this world, anything’s possible, and I’m steady on the grind to prove you can be a little different and still do well at life. I’m here to lay my life bare and tell the best story I possibly can. I’m here to take every last story in my head and turn them into pieces I’d love to read decades from now. I’m here to buck every trend I can find, because I’ve no interest in being ordinary.
Happy November, one and all — as we creep up on the year’s end, I hope you plan to end this year with a bang! Too many of us look back filled with regret as we wonder where the time went as we start another year empty-handed.
Don’t be that person. Start hustling for the things you want from your life today — it might not be tomorrow, it might not be next year, but keep at it and one day it’ll all come together; and when it does? Trust me… you won’t regret it!
Until the next,
*I’d wager it has something to do with having so little free time available.