When we think of violence in Toronto, Greektown—the bustling stretch of the Danforth known for its family-friendly nightlife and generational communities—is not what comes to mind.
Though we can say the same for an angry young man running pedestrians down in a van in North York or a gunfight breaking out in the city’s busiest mall. Sadly, Toronto’s no stranger to violence—it’s just rare that it hits so close to home.
But let me explain to anyone who doesn’t live here why this is so surprising.
2014’s seen me grow a lot, finally realizing what it’s like to have a voice, believing in it enough to stop compromising and start telling the world how I really feel. I’m not producing as aggressively as I used to, but now I’m giving each post the respect it deserves, trying to outdo myself every time I put pen to paper (literally — that’s how I write my thoughts before they hit your screen!) My blog is my platform to air my thoughts and share my experiences, and despite a blogger industry over 150 million deep, no one does it like I do it.
And that’s what bloggers need to remember — you’re not supposed to do it like anybody else; people read your stuff because it’s you.
But this month more than any this year taught me that my contemporaries are too often scared to have opinions, show vulnerabilities, or be human — in short, too many bloggers spend too much time writing too few things that actually matter.
And May, a month where my nightlife mostly involved playing with my 6-month old and hanging with my wife, it was the month reminding me what I should be doing with my time.
I Go 0 to 100, Man, Real Quick!
May was the first month this year where I really felt comfortable in my new skin — no longer trying to reconcile my #BloggerLife with the new path I’m walking; finding joy in the life of a father, spending less time at events and more in my neighbourhood… in ways, it’s like I pulled a 180º on who I was.
Less social media meant a return to life before tweeting, reconnecting with the family and friends I hadn’t seen as much of since diving into the blogosphere. It meant Saturday strolls with the family to the local ice cream shop, backyard barbecues and friends coming over with gifts and treats to celebrate the new little guy in my life, capturing the hearts and Likes of my social circles. Even as I grew less visible in the Twitterati circles, spending more 9-5 doing the corporate jive and more 5-9 keeping the kid alive, I didn’t feel like I was missing out — a change was in the air, with a new me needed to handle all the adventures laying ahead.
Here’s a look at some key stuff that went down in May, one month closer to making 2014 my best year yet!
Podcasting — More Than JUST a Blogger
Though I’ve yet to launch a podcast myself, I’m not one who’s camera- or microphone-shy. I found some time in May to hook up with Eric Freedlander and Peter DeWolf on their respective podcasts to talk social media, fatherhood, and the constant hustle of life in Toronto. If you’ve got some time to spare and ears yearning for some quality content, you should give ’em both a listen!
With a kid in the picture, our neighbourhood’s embraced us differently — we’ve gone from Sarah and Casey the “nice young couple” to Sarah and Casey the “trustworthy parents”. Instead of East York just being a place I’d go to at night to lay my head I’ve started seeing everything my ‘hood has to offer, its food fare, its parks, its people. The more I immersed myself in my community, the more I knew I needed to get involved.
In May, I started getting hyperlocal in my “urburbs”, linking up with the Greenwood Community Association and the Danforth East Community Association to start telling the tales of Danforth East, using my years of experience up ’til now to help my neighbourhood get the profile it deserves. Over the last several years, Danforth East’s landscape has changed, with plenty of new faces, new shops and plenty of ways to stuff your face. The shots above are just a sample, but you should stop by sometime to see what we’ve got to offer!
Sky’s the Limit
Though no one can believe it, 2014’s almost halfway done. Even a cursory glance at The 2014 100 tells me my paradigm’s shifted considerably these past five months — though I did buy a lawn mower (#61); demolish the hours of TV I expected to consume in 2014 (#67); and shrink the number of browser tabs I keep open by adding everything to my ever-growing to-do list (#71); it’s not like I had room for grandiose travel plans to hit SXSW (#3) or the World Domination Summit (#4). I’ve worked my butt off on the content hustle, churning more content out than ever before, already down to 130 drafts from the 220 I had closing out 2013 (#23). Fixed the wi-fi (#33), sorted the hot mess of a file structure on my computer and external hard drives (#43), rekindled my relationship with my grandparents now that I’m a parent myself (#46) — I don’t even care what the haters say, this year’s been a landmark one for me so far. (Even threw out all the business cards after massively rebranding myself to the new “grown man” Casey Palmer [#64]!)
Couldn’t even honestly tell you what to expect these last 7 months — the only things written in stone are some family time off to show the kid off to some relatives, but I’m on that grind in every other way. 30 years down and an entire future ahead, though many look at this age and decide it’s over the hill — time to settle down — I constantly remind myself that Oprah didn’t even have The Oprah Winfrey Show until she was 32, building one of the world’s greatest brands over 25 long years of work.
This ain’t a sprint; it’s a marathon I’ve run and will keep running until the Lord finds something else for me to do.
Chase those dreams, people — I know I am.
Until the next,
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: