Yesterday, thanks to the advice from a friend to save my Instagram story to my profile, I came up with a new hashtag #BlackDadWorries that spells out how I feel in the face of all this death. And death isn’t even calling it what it is—murder, with Black lives continually cut short, and the message made clear: there’s nowhere out there where Black people should reasonably expect to be safe from a world that’s trying to get them.
My boys are still young, but they’re growing up quick, developing worlds and lives of their own. And while I’d love just to sit back and let them develop on their own so they can build senses of self in the truest sense of the phrase… the world we live in won’t let me do it. Yes, they’re six and four, but they’re six- and four-year-olds who hear they look “dirty” because their skin is darker. Six- and four-year-olds who hear they’re not white enough to play with other kids. I’d love to take things slow, but their world’s developing quickly, and it makes me wonder when I’ll need to sit them down and tell them what the world’s really like.
What do you even write about when the whole world’s burning down? Multibillion-dollar sports empires ended their seasons early. The travel industry shut down in one fell swoop. I didn’t start talking about COVID-19 right away because it was all anyone could talk about, but as soon as we closed schools down for three weeks across Ontario, how could I not?
When I first published The Corona Chronicles on March 13th, though, I was so short-sighted. I called the three-week quarantine “March Br3ak”, thinking this would all somehow resolve itself by April. I didn’t jump on long-term prep right away, figuring I could do some catch-up once things calmed down a bit.
But then our businesses shut down on the 16th. Travel another four days later. We learned that this was no small thing—we needed to learn a “new normal” with a very uncertain future ahead. This was no three-week ordeal.
And as the days dragged on and I kept writing about the experience, it only grew clearer there was more going on than a single post could contain. I needed a full series.
So here, in week eight of The Great Quarantine, I’d like to welcome you to The Corona Chronicles: The Series, where we talk about life as a family in Toronto, trying to stay sane each day as we find new ways to adjust.
I, for one, look forward to returning to some semblance of normal soon, but until we do, you can expect me to keep writing about it.
Be well, everyone, and keep doing what you need to to make it in these times!
Until the next, I remain,
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
It’s the end of a decade, and I can’t help but reflect on where I am now versus where I was back in December 2009.
This entire decade, pretty much, has been the balancing act between the blog, the family, and the day-to-day work as a public servant for Ontario.
Back then, I’d just started my first job out of the Ontario Internship Program, putting my time and energy into that and the time I spent with Sarah. I didn’t even really use Facebook at the time, much less everything I’d get up to on Twitter just a year later—the world I spend all this time on now as a Canadian Dad was utterly inconceivable to me back then, because so much less was on the line. Nor was I married. Or had any kids. So many of the things that make me a better man and keep me coming back to do the best that I can for all that are things I wouldn’t appreciate until I had them.
But a decade later, my friend Ramy put it to me best—the more you do something, the more your capacity grows to take on even more, and that’s the mentality I’m keeping with me as I get ready for 2020. Work smarter. Plan better. Make better decisions. I’ve come this far this last decade while doing whatever I wanted and getting better at it along the way. But you eventually hit a point where that just doesn’t cut it anymore, and in 2020, I think I’ll finally learn what I’m made of.
LESSON ONE: Success is More Than Just a Number on a Screen
One thing I can tell you that separates the me today from the person I was a decade ago is that I think differently.
When I started this blogger journey, I treated success like it was a quantifiable measure. That I was the sum of the followers I had. Or that I should measure my happiness by the number of comments I got on my work. I would chase after engagement rates, post frequencies and Domain Authority scores, thinking that they were the keys to my success, but what I understand now is that they’re all just indicative of something much larger at play.
It goes back to what I’ve been saying all along—the medium doesn’t matter if you’ve got an amazing story to tell.
When I took a break from creating as intensely as I usually did in the last few months of the decade, it made me understand that it was what I probably should’ve been doing all along—taking the time to make my work great instead of just good. You get used to trying so hard to be first or trying to be on trend that you forget that great work usually doesn’t just pop out of thin air. If you don’t spend the time and nurture it, you’re only doing yourself a disservice.
What that sweat equity looks like for me is bleeding pens dry. Blazing through as many notebooks as I can. I’m trying to spin gold from a dining room table full of straw every night, and as much as it pains some right now to see me work as hard as I do, I keep doing it because I know there are higher heights I can reach if I try.
‘Tis the season for holiday parties, holiday traffic, and a whole gaggle of germs with cold and flu season upon us… just in time for the holidays.
With our youngest hit by a pretty nasty cough over the weekend, productivity ground to a halt. You can easily take for granted how much you’re doing until something more important comes along and forces you to reprioritise. I learned over time to feel the pressure a little less and accept that my family doesn’t need me to be the best creator in the game—they need me to be present.
And so as I lay down in the bottom bunk of my sons’ bed with a kid who woke up for maybe the twelfth time that night, I put all thoughts of podcasting aside and took care of home as Dave Hollister aptly put it back in 2000.
But now that he’s up and running again, so am I, and it’s time to continue our storytelling journey with Chatting with Casey, Episode 15—I’m Where I Need to be Right Now.
It’s always nice to take a break from our lives and spend a little time on vacation, but when you own your own business, you need to plan for that.
Eight Tiny Reindeer, Two Great Friends, One Awesome Episode!
One thing 2018’s taught me is that I need to get ahead of my schedule if I ever want to spend any time apart from it.
The last third of this year’s had me hustle to get everything off my plate, knowing that as soon as the holidays finish, I have substantial obstacles ahead. So I’ve been working days, weeks and even months ahead to create my best content to avoid ever being backed into a corner again.
And this podcast episode’s no exception.
Recorded on November 15, 2018, after plenty of texts back and forth between Carlos Diaz and myself, Chatting with Casey episode 13 started up with a misbehaving SD card, quick sprints to Shoppers and Rexall, and the hope that one day I get myself a studio so I can do these conversations justice.
But regardless, it was a great convo between Carlos Diaz, Rob Tinkler and myself, and I hope you’ll be ready when 8 Tiny Reindeer debuts this Saturday—may you enjoy listening to it as much as these guys did making it!
But for now, you can hear all about it on the podcast!