The 2019 Wrap-Up: Design of a Decade

“Reality tells you what you can’t do.”

— Rick Rubin on HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, Season 2, Episode 4

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.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — NaBloPoMo, Day 1 — Why I Do What I Do.

“I feel like most of your posts are apologies for not posting more.”

— a Facebook friend on my last post

The Last 60 Days.

T.G.I.N., y’all—Thank Goodness It’s November!

With another Halloween in the books (and less of a haul than the year before, but hey—I hear transitioning from naps will do that to you), I’m finally free to turn my eyes to the rest of 2017 and what it yet has in store—a perfect time to take one last run at unfinished resolutions and dangling loose ends.

With sixty days left in the year (not including today), it’d be all too easy to bow out and rest. 2017’s vastly exceeded my expectations in ways I’d never imagined, but it’s not without cost—my triple life’s an unyielding one, but I’d likely give up a thousand nights’ rest if it meant I could continue chasing my ambitions.

I guess you could call me obsessed. With potential, with growth, obsessed with the freakin’ hustle… it’s tiring work, but I’d have it no other way—it’s what I need to do to get where I want to be.

But in this drive to become my best self, some fear I’ve lost my way—that money and opportunity have led me astray, and that the Casey who got me this far’s a memory… but that’s not it at all.

A Long Kiss Goodnight to Blogging — Why It’s Time to Evolve to the NEXT Best Thing

I hit a point where I didn’t want to write a damn word.

Those who know my #BloggerLife would think me crazy—I’d built a world always filled with adventure, and opportunity was in abundant supply with each passing day. It’s a brand that’s developed over years—one shaping a handsome lifestyle and letting me enjoy freedoms atypical of a Dad with a family to feed and bills to pay.

But in a way, therein lies the problem—I don’t want the same things I wanted back when I started this journey. Once upon a time, it was enough to hit events and write about ’em after, but it took an anime monologue to help me realise why words just weren’t cutting it anymore:

“…you seem to dream of an escape from ordinary life, but life in Tokyo will turn into another ordinary life in about six months or so. And so, if you want something extraordinary, you’ll have to go somewhere else or seek something more underground. But once you’re on the other side… it’ll only take a few days for it to become mundane again.

If you really want to escape an ordinary life, you must constantly evolve.”

— Izaya Orihara, Durarara!!, Episode 12 (2010)

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — Why Do We Fall?

You’ll find more moments like these in my life today than you find ones going nuts at events.

People often ask me how I do it — how I manage life as a husband, father and full-time 9-5er while still managing to push content through the blog.

It’s no secret I spend hours working on each piece — scrawling ideas on notepads while commuting to and from work, rewriting relentlessly to refine my posts; putting in copious screen time with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to make sure my photos are not only pixel perfect, but just the right fit for the tales I weave; and spending so much time obsessing over details that I’m glad this isn’t the only thing putting food on the table — as long as it takes to get my posts perfected, my family’d starve in a month.

I definitely take this blog seriously, and while my style and methods may sometimes seem unorthodox, I create standing firmly behind its potential for growth and standing for something at its journey’s end. I think before I blog — a lot — having learned that I want content I can look at years later and still be proud of what I accomplished with some words on the screen.

My #BloggerLife’s embedded in every aspect of my blog, driven by lofty beliefs and ambitious goals as I work to tell the best stories I possibly can, hoping to inspire others to live the best lives they can.

Daily Thoughts #5 — Of Questionable Choices and Consequences

https://www.caseypalmer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Daily-Thoughts-Day-5-02-17-15-Of-Questionable-Choices-and-Consequences-2015-02-17-8.49-PM.mp3?_=1

Note:

  • Despite ending my night as a hot mess, Guu SakaBar is utterly delicious and I couldn’t recommend it more!

Background music: Obsibilo’s “Soixante-8”, Creative Commons licensed