JAY Z 4:44 | Grown People Music

Though I’ve listened to plenty of rap since buying my first boombox in ’97, I’ve rarely heard anything representing me. Sure, it’s largely Black music, but from a different narrative than my life altogether. Middle-class. Raised in a two-parent home. Private school education, married with kids—nothing you’d want to hear about in the club. And though I found some kinship in Childish Gambino’s “Not Going Back” and  Drake’s “You & The 6”, the struggle of growing up Black while lacking enough Blackness for your peers only reflects part of my identity. There’s so much more to my life!

NaBloPoMo Day 4 — Grown People Music — What I've Learned from JAY Z's 4-44 — Young Casey

But life is full of surprises. You never know who’s going to create the work that speaks to your soul, and a former hustler from New York’s Marcy Projects would be the last person I’d expect to understand me, but with his thirteenth album 4:44, I can tell you for a fact that JAY Z gets it. With topics like legacy, family and the constant pursuit of excellence, it’s an album speaking to everything I’m trying to build with my efforts here at the blog!

Let’s dive a little deeper.

The Life and Times of Casey and Family — NaBloPoMo Day 3 — Out of the Mouths of Babes.

“Fuckshit.”

The Life and Times of Casey and Family — NaBloPoMo Day 3 — Out of the Mouths of Babes. — The Kindergarten Kid Back from Kindergarten Orientation

I didn’t know it then, but before my eldest started junior kindergarten this September, life was simple. Taking an extra eight months away from the office after her mat leave to be with the boys (and because two kids in Toronto daycare is really expensive), Sarah took the boys on various adventures as they grew. I mean, it obviously wasn’t perfect—I’m not entirely sure how Sarah finished those twenty months with her sanity intact—but for the most part, we were in control. We taught them what we wanted, chose what stimuli affected them, and saw them grow in the world we created for them.

But what we hadn’t considered was a new factor just over the horizon—something we couldn’t control that’d affect our son in entirely new ways.

Other. People’s. Kids.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — SERENITY NOW: Act 1 — Suffering in Silence.

So you may have noticed the blog a little lacking of late. Life hasn’t been so forgiving lately, and yes—it’s been a struggle. Whether it’s the transition to being a schoolkid’s Dad and the rigorous schedule that comes with it or the 12-hour days the 9-5 had for me in budget season, I’ve been continually choosing some things at the cost of others just to keep my head above water.

But now that I’m through a period that had me at my wits’ end more often than I liked, licking my wounds isn’t an option. The world didn’t stop turning while I fought to find my way, and several weeks later with a to-do list filling four sheets of lined paper double-sided, it’s time to kick it up a notch and start producing like I know I can.

And I’d say there’s no better time to do it than NaBloPoMo.

NaBloPoMo — Because This Dude Ain’t Slackin’ No Mo

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — SERENITY NOW- Act 1 — Suffering in Silence. — Baby Palmer, Future Writer

“Why Didn’t ANYONE Warn Me About ADULTHOOD???” — A Treatise on Love, Life, and Filling the Gaps in Between

“If you went back and told your 18-year old self, can you imagine?”

— an old friend’s thoughts when discussing my current #BloggerLife

It’s no secret to anyone who’s made it through high school—adulting ain’t easy. We’ve got bosses who don’t give two craps about us; consumer debt ’cause no one walked us through personal finance; shady friends, poor nutrition, and realising that it’s much harder to make your dreams come true than you ever thought before. We don’t know what we don’t know as kids, and though staunchly convinced things will get better when we’re old enough to do things our way, it’s a big, bad world out there, and no one ever really prepares us for it.

Reason #1 — Because We’re Never Really Ready for the Bigger Box.

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t go back in time to tell their younger selves the things they know today. It’s so much easier when you can measure your self-worth with letter grades and many of the people who matter most are all under the same roof… but things can change so quickly—and for many of us, they do.

-Why Didn't ANYONE Warn Me About ADULTHOOD — A Treatise on Love, Life, and Filling the Gaps in Between — Casey Palmer 2006

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, August 2016: Hustle Game Strong

“You feel the pressure? Man, I know the pressure.”

— Drake, “Views”, Views (2016)

If 2015 was the year with the world as my oyster, indulging in travel and extravagance to keep the brand growing, 2016’s the one that brought me back to Earth, life with two kids completely changing the way I do my hustle.

It’s been one helluva year, though—alongside the new addition to the family, the blog’s been booming with new opportunities, not to mention the full-time job that rarely kept its hours to 9-5. I’ve veered away from my comfort zone with series like Tales from the 2.9, broadening my world in a plethora of ways, and though I didn’t see it coming in January, it was shaping me up to become a very different Casey Palmer by the year’s end.

But the clock’s ticking—though enough bloggers are in denial, thinking the gravy train’s running forever, the #BloggerLife’s only got so much of a shelf life, and soon enough it’ll be time to move on to the next thing.