Last updated on April 2nd, 2021 at 12:53 am
“I’m not even trying to win—I just want to get by without struggling too much.”
As the great Marie Kondo put it, if something doesn’t bring you joy, then you shouldn’t keep it in your life… and I think that’s how I’m finally feeling about blogging.
Now. I’m not quitting. I’m not announcing the death of the blog for the millionth time. But what I know is that I’m ready for something else, because Dad blogging just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.
Casey Palmer, Canadian Dadfluencer 2.0
If you told me about the wild roller coaster ride ahead back when I was tweeting about my lunch in ’08. There’s no way I ever could’ve seen it. The blog’s given me so much—it’s let me travel across the continent. Play with all sorts of toys. I’ve made countless friendships and opened my eyes to a bigger world than I’d ever imagined… but it’s time I start striving for whatever comes next.
The writing’s been on the wall since forever as the opportunities dried up and the world’s attention moved elsewhere.
It means that the average blogger can’t make money from their work as quickly as they did before. The world continually asks more from the content it consumes, and despite tens of thousands of years of history, the written word can’t keep up anymore.
But for me, that’s okay. I mean… I never really meant to become a blogger anyway.
Why Me Blog?
Back in the day, all I ever wanted to do was draw.
As a kid, I’d read Nintendo Power and sketch out the levels for video game sequels I dreamt up in my head. Year by year, I kept drawing up ideas, so much so that I believed it’s what I’d do for the rest of my life.
However, life had some very different ideas in store. Business school. Finding a career. A post about sandwiches that established me as a writer for several years to come.
But I never intended for writing to be the only thing.
“Maybe I should actually USE all this stuff I’ve accumulated over the years….”
It was the iPad Pro that got my ideas going again.
Even after my dreams of artistry were set aside for a while in pursuit of more traditional goals, I never stopped drawing. Sure, it was mostly sketching in the margins of notebooks that never went any farther because it wasn’t convenient, but having a portable digital drawing option that rivalled what normally needed my Wacom drawing tablet and a laptop to accomplish, it changed a lot of what was possible.
And it got me thinking.
Why limit myself to drawing when I knew how to record podcasts? Edit my photos? There were a whole heap of other ways to express myself that I wasn’t using, and in limiting myself, I was killing my creativity.
You Can’t Think Outside the Box if You Don’t Recognise That You’re in One.
It felt like I’d run out of stories to tell. Like I was repeating several things I’d already said over the years. But of course, with everything I said before, it leads to one lingering question I rarely deigned to ask—
Why write stories at all?
I realised that a lot of what I had sitting around would be properly better served in other formats, but I needed to be intentional about taking the time to build the skills I needed to use them well.
And so, that’s what I’ve been doing. Practising. Experimenting. Nudging everything along so I can accomplish a little bit more now than I could just months before. I don’t know how long it’ll take or what it’ll look like when I get there, but rest assured I’ll tell you all about it when I get there!
The 2019 200 Not-So-Monthly Update—July
Now, on to other business—The 2019 200.
It’s been months since I’ve had a good sit down with this list, too busy “being a responsible adult” to keep up with my content.
It hasn’t been all bad—it’s given me a better lawn, a cleaner house and more time with my kids… the days have been far more productive, and I think I’m getting closer to the Casey I need to be.
That said, I haven’t forgotten about it! The pile of paper in my backpack tells me that I’ve still got plenty of work to do, so why don’t we get to it?
Let me tell you a bit about what I’ve been up to with The 2019 200.
Things to Combine
64) Clean up my files—with terabytes of data; I probably don’t need it all. & 68) Get rid of all the old files in my life if they aren’t photos.
I want to clean all of my files up.
When I unexpectedly found a folder five hundred sketches deep in the bowels of my iCloud, it was a dear reminder that there’s a long way to go before I’ve made sense of it all.
But it isn’t so nice that I have to say it twice!
Instead, I’ll roll them up under #64 and put a new #68 on the table—
68) Come up with a way to organise my cords so I don’t need to stash them away every time we have company ?
Things to Adjust
135) Knock Black History Month out the PARK with stellar stories on 28 different aspects of Black Canadian culture. & 144) Update and finish my e-book on “25 Reasons Your Blog is BLAH.”
“It just goes and then you miss out on your moment because you’re so in the moment you didn’t know the moment was going on.”
— Kendrick Lamar, interview with Rick Rubin for GQ, October 19, 2016
So here’s what happens when you have too much on your plate—things fall off. When I come up with an idea, in my heart of hearts, I want to see it through, but the older I get, the more I appreciate that I’m going to choose my family over pretty much everything else. Time and time and time again. And when I finished Black History Month with only a handful of podcasts… something had to change.
But I’m also not a quitter.
What I’ve learned is that my creative process takes time—a lot of time—and I need to allow for it if I ever want to evolve past the point I’ve been sitting at for a while. And that’s meant rethinking my Black History Month project and my relationship with the content. Or taking old ideas like 25 Reasons Your Blog is BLAH and reworking them for a world that’s looking for something different.
After years of writing these lists, I’ve realised that the things we wanted years ago aren’t always the same ones that we’ll want now. So I’m going to rework these for 2020.
135) Plan out a NEW Black History Month project that elevates past work from previous years.
144) Turn my 25 Reasons Your Blog is BLAH content into something new and USEFUL.
Good job, Casey Palmer. Good job.
19) Explore Millbrook, ON.
Though we haven’t been back since The Millbrook Fair in June, we’ve taken quite a few trips to the home of Serena Ryder since my parents move there last Christmas.
It’s a charming little town of about 1,700, with plenty of places to ride your bike, hike a trail, or enjoy a cup of coffee in its quiet downtown!
Far as I can tell, my parents won’t be leaving town anytime soon, so do expect more stories from Cavan Monaghan’s most populous place!
21) Find more time for adventure.
One thing I did a little differently in 2019 was focus a little less on content and a little more on living.
My relationship with my brand’s changed over time, and a decade later, I find myself spending more time on massive pieces of content than trying to keep things going with something little every day. And with the slower pace I’m taking, it’s opened the door for bigger adventures in my life, and I’m far better off for it.
I’ve swum through underground caves in Tulum, Mexico. Helped my kid take a poo on the side of the road. I’m planning a family trip out east to the Maritimes… and we ain’t done yet!
So while it takes longer for me to document what we’re up to, I’m making sure that it’s worth the wait—like I often say, we are the sum of our experiences, and I’m working to prove it to you!
32) Spend more time meeting with people.
Life changes when you have kids.
It can be hard not to feel at times like the world’s passing you by when you take a look at the lives of friends who made different choices than you.
Ever since I became a Dad, I’ve had one foot in this brave new world of parenting and playdates and one in the world I came from, with a little more time to connect as adults and not just the butlers of our teeny charges.
And at times, it’s been damn near impossible—you miss out on birthdays and get-togethers and take everyone for granted as you do everything you can to be a great parent to your kids and give your partner the support they need so they’re not drowning in all the stress.
But the kids are a little older now, and with that, Sarah and I can step away more often, confident that the other’s got things covered back at home.
And so I’ve been getting out. Making new friends. Getting back together with old ones. Learning about things like Cory Chadwick’s Personal Greatness Project or giving impromptu micro-tours of the city when meeting up with people I’ve known since forever. I’m not the same Casey I used to be, but I feel like I’m learning to make the most of the life I have now.
33) Spend some time with my West Coast friends.
One might ask how I planned to spend more time with my West Coast friends when Goderich, ON was the farthest west 2019 would take me (lovingly known as part of “Ontario’s West Coast”).
Well—I’m fortunate that my friends there like to travel as well.
In January, I spent some time with my friend Li, an old friend with discerning taste in food, liquor and music! We spent as much time as we could dining on Toronto’s fancier fare and catching up since the last time we’d seen each other.
And then months later, when we did the photoshoot for Miller Lite’s Real Guys of Canada calendar, I met up with Buzz Bishop (aka “Mr. February”) when he was in town, finding the time to share an early dinner before he was off to see some family!
While I don’t expect to cross paths with any more of my westie besties this year, it’s always good to see them when I can! With any luck, my hard work will find me back there in 2020!
37) Be a better landlord.
When we got this place a decade ago, I never imagined how much work it takes to maintain a home. Fixing roofs when unexpected leaks show up. Working for months to keep a well-manicured lawn so your neighbours don’t cause a fuss. 2019’s seen me clean out gutters and fix garage doors—there’s been no end to the adulting I’ve had to do this year, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t see the end of it anytime soon. ?
54) Keep the car clean. | 61) Streamline the number of things we keep in our kitchen. | 74) Unsubscribe to any unneeded services, email lists, etc. (JAY Z and Beyoncé are great, but do I REALLY need TIDAL?) | 114) Learn to say NO to anything that doesn’t advance the brand.
When I initially wrote The 2019 200, I tried hard to avoid any duplication, and let me tell you—that right there is a feat in itself. I remember working on it for weeks and being super happy when it all came together.
But what you should also know is that perfect 4,000-word lists don’t exist. When the year got too busy and I stepped away from the list for a while, I was surprised to see how thematic this list was when I got back on track ?
One of the major themes for my 2019, I’d say, is my “Quest for Less”—the work I’m doing to become more objective and get rid of the things that I don’t need so I can focus on the important things. And in the process, I cleaned out my car, crumbs and wrappers and all; got rid of some extra containers and appliances taking up room in the kitchen; got rid of of the emails that clutter my inbox because Lord knows I have enough already; and rethinking everything I do to make the most of the things I have around me.
I’m far from done, and there’s a ton I still have to sort out, but I’m farther along today than I was the day before!
71) Minimise how much I need to carry in my bag every day.
If you’ve been around awhile, you’ll know about my ongoing struggle to reduce the amount of paper I use, including what’s in my bag for my current projects.
And it’s getting there. Though I’ve stepped back to let the young guns have their run of the machine, I’ve been working behind the scenes to create some of my best content ever—it’s all just waiting for the right time to shine.
In any case, between leaving my work laptop at work, swapping my old MacBook Pro out for a sleeker iPad Pro, and only carrying a few projects worth of paper at a time… I think my back is pretty grateful for the better decisions I’m making!
80) Find more reasons in my life to wear a tie again.
Here’s the thing. While there’ve been many reasons to suit up in 2019—both good and bad—it just doesn’t feel right in my day-to-day life. Don’t get me wrong—I still love rocking my dress shirt and jeans combo, but the tie’s an extra stretch.
…or maybe I don’t want to think about it because it’s summer.
Don’t worry—we’ll probably see the V-neck sweaters and ties again in the fall. ?
102) Design new business cards.
Some would say that no one uses business cards anymore, with so many digital options available these days to reach out and touch somebody.
But we aren’t all wired the same way. In a world where word of mouth still crushes any form of advertising you could imagine, how hard is it to believe there’s an entire segment of the world that prefers something tactile over just looking up a profile?
So when I needed to drop some coin and invest in a new set, it tuned out that my old friend Christine Panourgias had gotten into the printing industry and could help me get it done right. (And quick, since I wanted to do it before flying out to Mexico!)
In any case, they came out just as I designed them, and Christine even noted a detail I could keep in mind for the future (photos on cards with rounded corners could benefit from having rounded corners themselves…), but 10/10 would do again!
192) Replace the missing clip-on sunglasses for my Modo Tortoise / Blue Gradient Columbias
The saddest part is that I had to do it twice.
I first replaced them on the way to Mexico in April, because who’s going to hit up a resort vacation without a pair of shades on their face?
But the problem with the MODO clip-on sunglasses is that their magnets aren’t very… strong. There I was, taking a photo of the yacht we’d soon be partying on… and a moment later, I’m looking at my clip-ons sinking into the murky harbour water of the Atlantic Ocean, just out of reach.
Should’ve used my cap to scoop them up, but eh. Good ideas don’t always pop up when you need them.
So I replaced them. Again. And everything was cool till a trip to the St. Lawrence Market and they fell off again while taking a picture of Lower Jarvis Street from above. Sure, they got a little run over, but they’re still on my face, doing their duty well into summer!
I’m on deck for a couple of new pairs in late 2020, and I feel like I’ve learned a few things… but hey. These will work for now!
198) Use my Air Miles and travel points—there’re plenty of trips planned; I just need to pay for them.
Palmers don’t stand still.
2019’s had us all over the place, from the “gorge-ous” streets of Elora to that resort life in Mexico’s Playa del Carmen. And it’s fun and all, but trips cost money—it’s just smart to dilute those costs as much as possible!
After tons of investment in the brand this year (content creation ain’t easy, baby), I had enough points to offset some of the spending we got up to for all this globetrotting. A flight here, a car rental there… I want to start learning how to do more with less because there are so many life hacks available out there if you look in the right place.
Here’s to ballin’ on a budget!
- August tally: 14/200
- Total-to-date: 45/200
And I think that’s more than enough for now. Stay tuned! I still have many stories left to tell… I just need to do it a little more regularly.
Be well out there, everyone, and until the next, I remain,