Life changes only help cement things we know already. At our 2011 wedding, I knew there were plenty in attendance who I wasn’t seeing again anytime soon, with me moving from Mississauga to eastern Toronto, and frankly, changing my priorities as I made room for new things in my life. Same goes for fatherhood — things were already changing with marriage, social media and an ever-shifting job situation being major influences, but my son changed the game entirely, putting my focus in a whole new direction and giving me less time to dabble in things I used to find important.
Along with growing up, I was outgrowing much of what defined me for so long, but that’s part of life — it was time to come to peace with it.
Though I’m only 18 months into my parenting journey, I’ve already taken note of ways my behaviour’s impacting my impressionable little son. Like his surprise one Saturday morning upon waking up from a nap, finding me at the kitchen table instead of at my computer desk where I was evidently supposed to be. Or his understanding that I won’t give in to toddler terrorism — all the fussing and whining in the world won’t get me to give you a banana when you’re supposed to eat your dinner.
It’s stressful, knowing your behaviour and decisions will have very real consequences in shaping your child’s future; you spend most days winging it, tackling each new issue as best you can, knowing there’s no standardized textbook to guide you through the steps.
But the problems are far from new — the confusion, the worry, second-guessing your decisions… I wouldn’t be surprised if this was exactly what my parents felt when they raised me.
I’ve written this post more than a dozen times this week, piecing thoughts together from a million directions to figure out what comes next. Fresh from a summer of contests, events and family gathering, I spent a lot of energy killing it these past months, leaving me unsure what’s left in the tank to see this momentum through the year’s end.
Brand development’s a marathon, not a sprint. You might have some hot content one day and trick yourself into thinking you can strike lightning twice with the piece after that, and again with the one after that.
But creating amazing work is seldom so simple, and I don’t care whether you’re writing your first blog post or you’re raking in more than most people’s mortgage payments every time you hit “Publish”, all content creators need reminding that not everything they put out will be mind-blowing… and they need to learn to accept that.
Getting Used to the New Casey Palmer
At this point in my life, my story’s that of a man who’s trying to raise a family, working entirely too hard, and far too ambitious for his own good, convinced her can do anything if he only uses his mind, time and effort to make it happen.
When I see the trips my fashion blogger friends take, or some food bloggers I know are hanging with chefs like Susur Lee, I catch myself thinking, “I need to step my game up! I need to show these bloggers what I’m really packing and tell ’em what time it is! I need to get my hands on all the opportunities and all the things!”
But come on — let’s be real.
There aren’t too many big-name bloggers I know who haven’t made blogging their full-time gig, or used a blog as a launchpad into doing something full-time that started with the words on their screen. Trying to blog daily’s already admirable — I tried to do it in 2011, and only hit 324 of the year’s posts. But trying to do it while working a full-time job takes a ton of hard work and discipline. And to add parenthood on top of that?
Some days it feels like success isn’t even an option.
But then I take a few deep breaths, look at myself in the mirror, and remember it’s not all about the glitz and glamour.
Free stuff is nice — getting paid to write content is even better — but that’s not what people relate to. People want to hear about the time you went away to a writer’s retreat to get some quality time in with your writing, only realizing after the 3-hour drive that you’d forgotten your laptop’s power cord, and the outdated battery only gives an hour of juice to work with.
People want to hear about the time your brother changed his cell phone number without telling anyone in the family, leading to them scouring the lands to see whether he’s still breathing for fear than an angry ex-girlfriend had exacted their revenge, leaving his corpse in a ditch for us to find.
People don’t want to hear about your #BloggerLife and all the stuff you get that you think they should get with a little disclaimer at the bottom of all your posts — they want to hear about your life and maybe even share their experiences with the things going on when you’re not dealing with life in the blogosphere.
Any blogger can write a good story if they try hard enough — use good grammar; be emotionally compelling; and don’t be long-winded when driving your point home.
But it takes truly gifted bloggers to find beauty in the utterly mundane, touching on things we’re all thinking, but too often lack the words to give it voice.
And that’s what I should strive for as a Dad blogger — everything else is just window dressing.
The Path Ahead….
Once upon a time, in an age where tweetups were all the rage and Twitter wasn’t the self-promotional tool it is now, I’d think nothing of going out 4 or 5 times a week, soaking in what Toronto had to offer and never having a shortage of adventure to write about.
Now that my story’s changed, I need to change right along with it and see the world in a different light to find new inspirations for the stores I share — less waiting for the next awesome email to come in, and more appreciating what I already have in all its abundance.
And if that isn’t a life lesson, I don’t know what is.
Until the next time,
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: