Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!
It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.
Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.
But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.
Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.
I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!
But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!
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!
My spot on “Nattering With E”:
The Beasts from the East
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:
As a newly-minted father with one foot out from his previous life, nothing’s like it used to be. At my peak, I tweeted hundreds of times a day, partying near-daily with tweeps full of spontaneity, drama and hilarity. I felt connected to a thriving Toronto, present in a world where presence mattered, making sure I was seen to be heard, indiscriminate on where I spent my time in the Twitterverse. I’ve been scrawling away on how much the world’s changed, the things I miss and what I’d bring back if I had the power, but Ive been looking at it all wrong.
Yes, Toronto’s changed. Yes, social media’s not what it used to be, ever-changing to accommodate a cast of characters under continual flux. But none of that controls who I am, and that’s what I need to remember…
After months of near-misses, Peter DeWolf and I finally connected for #thepetecast’s 63rd episode, talking Toronto, blogging, fatherhood and more! I trolled his site the day after, surprised to find he’d done an episode with my good friend Simone17 episodes prior on a few of the same things!
I was blown away by the interview—not expecting to hear about myself in the podcast, Simone had very flattering thing to say, warming my heart and inspiring reflection on what a certain 6-day trip to Vegas did for me last year!
Last Vegas, I Gave You My Heart…
A year ago, Bloggers in Sin City — an unconference bringing bloggers together as people, not just bringing them together to talk blogging — made me more than 60 new friends, complete with adventures, inside jokes, and the joy of people who don’t care about your blog traffic, clickthrough rates or blog marketing strategy.
A year ago, I had late-night conversations over pizza, sharing parts of myself that rarely surface in Toronto, feeling comfortable enough to know that I could be brutally honest and it wouldn’t come back to bite me later.
A year ago, I re-discovered it was possible to share your story without putting yourself in a box, choosing instead to create based on interest—not the best practices you’re told to follow!
Let’s not kid ourselves by thinking we fit the Canadian stereotype—Toronto’s a cutthroat city! Our blogosphere ain’t gentle, with thousands trying to show value while suffering an inferiority complex from the New Yorks and LAs of the world; we’re a city of the world, but not a world-class city, with bloggers yearning to be taken seriously. For years I drank the Kool-Aid—party hard; be seen; get your name on everyone’s lips, making sure the world will never forget you.
But I was entirely missing the point.
I won’t re-hash my thoughts from my return to Toronto last May (there’s already a post for that) but they weren’t happy. I’d found wonderful people not trying to oust me from some imagined “spot” as a blogger. They were personal bloggers, blogging about life and everything in it—your opinion be damned.
In many ways, like my friend Simone often told me of her previousvisits to BiSC—it was like finally finding my people.
In the year since, I’ve changed—you might even read these words and think me a hypocrite with my sponsored posts, trips and a lifestyle that couldn’t be farther from the idea of just writing about things I’m passionate about.
But BiSC taught me that everyone walks their own path—there’s no shame in being who you are. We are not the food we eat, the clothes we wear, or the events we go to. BiSC taught me that life isn’t a race, and there’s nothing wrong with doing things at my own pace—that if you’ve got something amazing to share with the world, it’s worth taking your time, channelling your thoughts and creating the best damn piece of work you possibly can!
BiSC reminded me that it’s useless to compare myself to the next blogger—my real competition is myself. Making each blog post better than the last; honing my skills, continually evolving my ideas and projects; changing my paradigms to speak with the voice I always had, but never knew how to use. This last year’s been intense, and I know there’s more to come.
It’s taken me a year to learn this lesson, and I hope you’ve the opportunity to experience the same. While BiSC is no more, it made its way into my heart—and I hope all I learned will continue to do so for many years to come.
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: