Thirty-Two: Happy Birthday, Casey Palmer β€” Here’s to the Hustle!

July 2015Β β€” I’ve just turned 32 years old, and I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I’ve built this #BloggerLife for myselfΒ β€” a little digital space withΒ promise, letting me share thoughts and ideas withΒ thousands, evolving around me as I learn to massage them into something more…Β spectacular.

Happy Birthday, Casey Palmer β€” Here's to the Hustle! β€” Am I a Blogger-I don’t know whether I’d call myself a blogger anymore β€” things have grownΒ much bigger than that. My site’s more than a blog template, my stories more than a handful of images and subtitles… I look at my #BloggerLife and my other lives running alongside it, knowing what I have to offer is far more than I could achieve by sticking toΒ expectations set by other people.

Don’t get me wrong β€” so much has happened: a surprise press trip to one of my favourite cities so I could explore; a fantastic Twitter chat that helped open my eyes to other opportunities… 2015’s hit me with so much that’s asked me to step my game up, grinding away at the things IΒ believe in if I want to grow them into anythingΒ real. I’ve walked so many paths to this point. I’ve tried collaborating with others to create written works of art. Tried following blogging rules and best practices to catch as many eyeballs as possible. But the journey’s taught me that I can’t accomplish everything I’m going for if I just stayΒ one thing.

I can’t do things like everyone else does and expect to findΒ my answers β€” I need to carve a path from the bedrock of my life; one that’ll let me do everything I must as a husband and father, but still let me create what IΒ want to without sacrificing precious sleep and sanity.

And for that, a little over three decades deep into my life, I look at everything I’ve built so far and ask myself the simplest of questions:

What now?

March Madness

“You can’t knock the hustle.”
— Jay-Z, “Can’t Knock the Hustle”Β Reasonable Doubt (1996)

It’s been a long time, I know.Β Here on the other side of the screen, the hustle is real, filling my schedule with so much that the blog became a sad afterthought for a while. Seeing your numbers drop is frustrating when you know you could keep it all going if only you had more time, but we need to keep realistic. You can’t force the words out. You can’t expect to mine gold from within when your soul’s worn out. Even when the gravy train’s speeding along and everything’s goingΒ amazing, youΒ can’t buy into your own hype β€” because it’ll bring your house of cards tumbling down, leaving you emptier than you started, needing to rediscover to get back on that horse.

April’s underway and everyone’s dusting the cobwebs off, getting ready to take advantage of the little good weather we get each year. Bloggers inΒ particular get chomping at the bit as brands look to increase their real-world visibility since influencers aren’t trapped in their homes anymore. 2015 got me started early β€” January and February came laden with more experiences and opportunities than I’dΒ ever expected, but March really drove the point home that I’m going to need to handle the blog with a level of professionalism I’m not used to, learning how to continueΒ evolving while keeping my messageΒ firmly in mind β€” a balance I think most too readily let slip through their fingers.

But let me do better than justΒ talk about it andΒ show you what went down in the month that kept me from the blog, feeling like a sign of things to come.