Real talk? I was done with 2018 months ago, but it wasn’t quite done with me.
It’s been a challenging year. And not in the regular “working harder than any year before it” kind of way—hard in the losing friends and making enemies kind of way. In the realising you have more work than you have the effort available to do it kind of way. 2018 was a continuous, ongoing gauntlet of activity, and though I’d love to jump forward to 2019 and make a clean break, things aren’t quite that easy.
The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Reality that was 2018.
I tried so hard to have less on my plate than everything I’m looking at on December 31st, 2018.
The year had no shortage of curveballs, and my batting average wasn’t exactly amazing—despite my successes, there’s plenty that’s gone to the wayside. Like this being the first year in a while I didn’t start with a list of a hundred goals, too busy travelling and planning to get my act together. Same goes for my annual Black History Month project, which got a few posts out but didn’t reach the potential I had in mind. It was a year full of distractions, and while I started Chatting with Casey and giving some much-needed shape to the unfinished problems in my life, it still showed I was a long way off from sorting it all out— I sensed a very interesting 2019 ahead.
“When **** hit the fan, is you still a fan?”
— Kendrick Lamar, “Mortal Man”, To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
The thing about being a content creator is that you document your year’s highs and lows in all its full-bodied glory.
To give you a quick recap of the year I’ve had and how it’s shaping the one to come:
- Being one of two keynote speakers at the Parenting 101 conference in Kelowna, BC, sharing my experiences with fatherhood and the things we can learn from them
- Finally starting up Chatting with Casey after five years toying with the idea of a podcast, breathing new life into stories that might’ve never been shared otherwise
- And after years spent trying to find a use for all the paper I had lying around, I found my groove and started making something of it all, turning all of these scribbles into something more useful.
- It turns out that the internet doesn’t always play nice, and I had my share of scraps this year that dissolved their share of friendships and had me rethink how I’d handle challenging topics in the future
- I learned my content’s still got a long way to go, with rejections from both the Fohr First Class and the Google/PRX Podcast Creator programs giving me pause to consider how to really communicate what I want to share with the world
- And I finally found myself falling out of love with my craft, too inundated with the minutia of creating my content to put it out as quickly as I wanted. Something had to give.
So with everything I learned from 2018, it was clear I could do so much better. I’d worked hard and thought I was working smarter, but it soon became clear that I’d need to make a few changes in my life if I wanted to keep moving forward.
Three Changes to a Better Casey
Change One — Wrap Up all the Old Work.
Firstly, it’s time to tie up some loose ends.
With a dining room table that looks more like the desk of an editor that’s months behind on his work than it does a space where a family of four could enjoy a meal, everyone’s eager for me to figure everything out so we can reclaim some of the limited space we have in our home.
And a huge part of why it’s all stuck with me this long is because I’ve been distracted. I spent a good deal of time in 2018 figuring out how to fit opportunities into my story instead of just trying to tell my story in the most authentic way possible, which brings me to the second change—making better choices with sponsored content.
Change Two — Just Say “No” to Unfavourable Relationships.
In 2019, I foresee myself saying “no” a lot more. I’ve spent enough time in this hustle, and with every passing year, creators are willing to give up more and more of their creative control to the people holding the purse strings, which makes things challenging if you’re not playing the game full-time.
What I need to remember is that I’ve already put in the work on some great projects, so it’s time I put my focus to making my creator-owned content shine instead of convincing companies that I have the best brand around.
I’m looking forward to everything 2019 has to offer!
Change Three — Rest.
As a final change, I need to better manage my time. I’ve tried convincing myself I can do everything under the sun—but just because something’s possible doesn’t mean that we should do it.
Self-care’s made it onto 2019’s 200-item to-do list since the older I get, the more I realise that the body is only so durable. It’s time I take things more seriously—I’m only going to have one life to live, so I’d better do the best I can with it all.
With these changes, I think I’ll be setting myself up for greater success in the year ahead. Losing one’s way is easy. Finding the way back never is. Hopefully, this will be a step in the right direction.
The Long Road Ahead.
2018’s been one helluva year, but it’s also been an educational one. As I grow older, I realise more and more how much we focus on how far we’ve yet to go without stopping to look back at how far we’ve already gone.
I spent a Saturday this year in a visioning session with the rest of the leadership team at church, and remember doing a particular exercise that stuck with me. We stood in a circle, closed our eyes, and imagined ourselves standing on the timelines of our lives, free to move backwards or forward along them as we wished. Our facilitator had us take five steps back to reflect on what our lives looked like in 2013 and everything we learned since then. We took five steps forward to think about who we’d become five years from now, and that’s when something clicked.
If I am as different in 2023 from the Casey I am today as the Casey I am today is from who I was five years ago, then everything’s going to be just fine. It’s easy to drown in the hype, constantly checking things off of our lists, but if we don’t stop to give our lives a little context, how much are we really growing from it all?
Real Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight.
So from the desk—or rather, dining room table—of the man rumoured to be one of the hardest-working Dad Bloggers in the country, I hope 2018 was everything you wanted it to be. And before you kick yourselves over anything you didn’t accomplish in 2018, here’s some food for thought.
Change—real lasting change—takes decades to build, not months. So many of the success stories we know didn’t happen overnight, but through years of hard work and perseverance to grow an idea into something amazing.
- Oprah didn’t start as a media mogul and billionaire—she only started the Oprah Winfrey Show at 32 and spent twenty-five years building the legacy we know today.
- Ken Jeong had his first stand-up comedy win in 1995, but wouldn’t hit his stride until 2017’s Knocked Up, a full twelve years later while still serving as a licensed physician in California.
- The Notebook was Nicholas Sparks’ fourth book, after only moderate success from the first three.
- PSY’s first album came out in 2001, and Gangnam Style wouldn’t take the internet over until eleven years later in 2012.
If one year wasn’t the year you thought it’d be, don’t let that discourage you, because God willing, you have many more yet to come.
Happy New Year One and All — Let’s Make an AMAZING 2019 Ahead!
So here’s to 2018 and everything it taught us. Hopefully you’re leaving 2018 a little better than you’d started it, with some hopes and dreams to carry you into the year ahead.
And as for 2019, let’s celebrate the new. New relationships and new ideas. New opportunities, new successes and new lessons to learn. As for me, it’s time to take all this and focus. I’ve spent all this time catching up on my obligations and getting my act together—it’s time to show you what this Casey can do.
Let’s close the year out with some sage words from Drake as we reflect on how we got to be here and the year that’s yet to come. I wish you all the best for 2019, and we’ll see you in the new year!
“But I stay down, girl I always stay down
Get down, never lay down
Promise to break everybody off before I break down
Everyone just wait now, so much on my plate now
People I believed in they don’t even show they face now
What they got to say now? Nothin’ they can say now
Nothing really changed but they still look at me a way now
What more can I say now? What more can I say now?
You might feel like nothin’ was the same….”
— Drake, “Furthest Thing”, Nothing Was The Same (2013)
A happy new year and until the next,