The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, March 2016

Life with two kids is a whole lot busier than I thought it’d be. I remember thinking my hands were full with one when he first arrived in 2013, but it’s clear to me now that I hadn’t the faintest back then of how complicated things can get!

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the BloggerLife, March 2016 — Reading to the Boys

“You can’t knock the hustle.”

— Jay-Z, “Can’t Knock the Hustle”, Reasonable Doubt (1996)

It’s a whole new ballgame the second time around. Some things are familiar and actually improved with baby two—you play better, console better, and generally do everything for your second that you just fumbled around with for your first—but there’s plenty that wasn’t part of the picture: a toddler craving attention, whether through refusing to sleep at night or testing his boundaries and limits to see what reaction he’ll get; the daycare drop-off and pickups mixed in with a schedule growing ever more complicated; and a little more age that’s seeped into your bones, making things a little harder to do than they were the first time.

But you don’t just quit because something’s hard—though I’m weeks deep in unfinished stories and lapsed deadlines, I do what I can each day to keep moving forward, trying to connect the dots in what feels like a complex puzzle of my life I’ve only but begun to solve. But I have to keep realistic about my pace—we only recently got Little Man sleeping through the night again after weeks of sleep regression; I’ve teetered on the edge of burnout with a fierce creative block forcing me to dig truly deep for content; and after a year of planning, training and configuration, the system I’ve shepherded at work is finally live to 350+ users, and as the first point of contact, let’s just say that my work life is busy.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the BloggerLife, March 2016 — Little Man Fixing ThingsMany would see all this and say I’ve got more than enough to manage already. Many would tell you that I’m just too hard on myself—I’m already “living the dream” with my wife, two kids, and stable employment to pay for the clothes on our backs and the food in our bellies—society would call me successful; what more could I want?

But that dream isn’t enough to sustain me—that dream does not a legacy make. If we live striving for the bare minimum, I wouldn’t call that “living”—I’d say we’re simply participating in the lives we’re given, never really figuring out what we’re capable of because it’s too hard. Or we’re scared. Or any of a million reasons that I’ve simply no time for—life is for living, and I’ll keep testing my limits until I’ve made the most of mine.

So all this to say… what? Sorry I haven’t been posting like I used to? Sorry that my ideas aren’t as timely as I’d like them to be, the unexpected twists and turns of parenting young children whittling away at the time and energy I once had for the craft? Or sorry that this journey will take a bit longer than expected, with life trying to show me what I can handle at this point in my life, not where I think I should be when I keep comparing myself to a bevy of peers?

Or maybe it’s just learning not to say “sorry” at all, realizing that there aren’t many bloggers writing with two kids under 3 to look after, and that the trips away, tasty dinner events, and most of what previously kept me busy in my #BloggerLife have to go on hold ’til we’re slightly more stable. Or remembering that this blog isn’t my full-time job like many of those who’ve made a success of themselves, and that I’d benefit more from expectations that let me maximize what time I can offer the craft each day, not ones that keep me pushing myself too far, winning some short-term battles, but winding up too exhausted to be in the war.

It’s accepting that my reality isn’t one that many share, and accepting that is something long overdue in my life.

The State of the #BloggerLife, March 2016: Still Getting that Blog On Between Diaper Changes and Piggyback Rides

So that’s what’s up—who I am and the world I live in today. The grind to create work that challenges blogging as a medium, not simply follows the beat of the bloggers who came before. I bare my soul, revise without end, and fight with every fibre of my being to reach my potential. This is but another paragraph in the story I’m still crafting, but with every sentence, the path’s a bit clearer.

That said, it’s time to get back to the grind—these incomplete blog posts won’t write themselves, and I have a number of commitments I intend to keep. Some may doubt me, and some may think my time has passed, my various obligations keeping me far too busy to post as frequently as some of my contemporaries… but I see the vision in my head and remind myself there’s much yet I have to share with the world—and I look forward to every last word!

Until the next,

–case p.

A Time for Planning

A Polarioid photo of Casey Palmer, circa 2002.
Casey Palmer, circa 2002, who confused “fresh to death” with “vest of death”. Hoo boy.

We need to keep life as interesting as possible, lest we lose the will to live life at all.

It sounds drastic, but it’s true. We get to January  and all of a sudden, all the awesome that happened in December is long gone, leaving us with credit card bills, miserable weather, short days and dull routines. Life is so short and yet, without fail, we do this to ourselves every year, searching for something that can get our excitement levels back up.

This week was all work and planning. Planning communication  strategies for my church. Planning out the future of Mansformation. Planning with financial planners to make sure that Sarah and I have a solid financial plan.

That’s a lot of planning, for someone who hates planning. But it’s all necessary in its own way, helping make way for bigger and better things later in the year!

Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that can make all the difference.

Changing our look. Putting a new skin on a phone. Or, in my case, working on checking items from a massive list.

Casey Palmer at Sakshi's birthday party.
There was that one party this past weekend…

To get you a little up to speed…

#5 — Sell all the stuff I’ve meant to sell

This could also be listed a “give away all the stuff I’ve meant to give away”. I’ve had a problem with clutter for ages and ages — having too much crap in my life makes me less effective as a person. It makes me invest more time in finding things when they’re misplaced, or makes me use more energy to figure out how all the bits and pieces I have stashed away in the house can work better together.

So I’m working harder at saying bye-bye to anything that’s unnecessary! Some of the stuff I’ve decided to get rid of and find a better home include:

  • My collapsible, portable easel and paintbrushes which I sold to a friend taking a painting class
  • I’m sending a Flip Video UltraHD to a friend in the States in need of a decent video camera

More to come, since I still have some boxes of other stuff around the house!

#25 — Get a local doctor and #26 — Get a local dentist

After years of self-neglect due simply to the fact that my health care providers were too far for my liking, I finally put the paperwork through to move everything to Toronto from Mississauga! Appointments are scheduled this week and next, and if I’m lucky, I’ll come out of them a changed man!

#39 — Get all the outstanding work off of my plate at the 9-to-5

With me wrapping my current role up on Valentine’s Day (of all days) due to an unexpected turn of events, this one should more or less wrap itself up nicely. A PowerPoint presentation here and an Excel workbook there should help me see the end of it and help me move on to some new challenges!

(Which is always good for me, since I lose steam if I’m working on the same thing for too long!)

#50 — Read all my old yearbook signings and candygrams to get a better understanding of the journey I’ve travelled

The seal has officially been broken on the memory box, and I’ve already started reading through a lot of old stuff.

It’s always so surprising how many memories we can forget!!!

#53 — Eat breakfast more often

Still working on refining my daily routine, but I’m getting a little better at making sure to stuff a pain au chocolat into my system — at the very least — to start my day!

#96 — Take photos at Caribana

Casey Palmer at Caribana 2003 (or so).
2003 was an interesting year, where somehow I found myself in Caribana in all sorts of compromising pictures…

Looks like I’ve made some contacts who’ll make getting a Media Pass or Marshall’s badge far easier, so I’ll follow-up with them and make some magic happen!

#98 — Carry less paper

I write my posts by hand first, and the more I get out, the more paper vanishes from my life and into the recycling bin! The plan? Keep writing and move to Moleskine notebooks and a system that’s a heckuva lot more compact! While I haven’t made it to the “Great Purge” yet, my backpack is definitely starting to get lighter!

So until the next time, remember — your character is truly determined by what you’re doing when people aren’t watching.

So why not do something you’ll be proud of?

The world will follow suit.

–case p.

2013: The Journey So Far.

A self-portrait of Casey Palmer in a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.
Casey at 14 still wore sweatshirts with Mickey Mouse on them and was working on pioneering the selfie. 1997, y’all. Please believe it.

To try to do 100 things in a year is an ambitious goal. Not the most novel idea ever, but ambitious! And not the not only is it more things than weeks in the year, as was pointed out to me…

…but it’s one thing every 3 1/2 days. In fact, with me posting this on January 6th, you could argue that I’m already behindDoomed to failure with goals far loftier than my schedule will allow!

Let’s slow down a sec, though — this mission isn’t as impossible as you might think!

2012 vs. 2013

#HoHoTO group shot!
A joint picture between #TeamTrolling, #TOCrew, and whoever else we were partying with that night!

I’d love 2013 to be a game-changing year. I started sharing some of the ideas I have for the next year with friends, and they often ask: “What makes a game-changing year?” Is having a kid? Changing jobs? Blogging more? Blogging less to plan more? Planning less and doing more?

Trying to limit what will or won’t make a game-changing gear to a specific definition is dangerous business! If we judge whether a year is a good one by whether we make a certain amount of money, or attend a certain party or even carry out a specific goal… we eliminate the possibility for so many other things that we can add to our lives!

2012 was an insanely busy year for me. I pushed myself to fit more into my schedule and be involved in things I’m interested in more than I’d ever done before. But it was one of my best years, too!

But I didn’t enter 2012 with a plan. When I finished 2011, I was worn out from trying to run a daily blog — ready to take a break from writing and blend into the background. On top of that, I got married, travelled, spent a lot of time at tweetups, commuted between my current house and my parents’ home in Mississauga constantly, changed jobs twice — all this may have been a little over-ambitious.

But 2012 brought unexpected wins. Unforeseen opportunities. Reasons to post often. Stronger friendships. Insane adventures.

It also brought daily Man Lessons. More photography sessions. Tighter scheduling. Sarah and I needing to get a little smarter about how we spend our money, effort and time.

So this time, I made a list to keep track of the things I’d like to do, so that I wouldn’t let another year breeze by while blindly trying to figure out what I’m doing!

6 Days Down, 98 Goals to Go.

So back to my point — intentionally or not, I’m right on schedule! In fact, I can say that I’ve already gotten a couple of the items on the list done!

#14 — Update my résumé

There’re goals that’re intentional — the ones you need to plan and set some time aside to do — and some that just happen due to forces outside of your control!

For those not in the know, I’ve been in my current day job temporarily — and the time is up. But when word gets out that you’re becoming a free agent, it can really grab others’ attention!

So with updated résumés making the rounds and my LinkedIn up to date, I consider #14 done and done!

#43 — Turn My Negatives and Slides Into Digital Images

This one was much easier than I anticipated! I thought I’d need to go to the Toronto Reference Library or hire someone to do it, but turns out that with a little update, my scanner become quite the beast!

Let’s call this one done for now — I got all the negatives I’d liberated from my parents’ over the holidays scanned in; the only things to do now are grab my parents’ and parents-in-law’s negatives; see if I left any more at my parents’ next time I’m there.

But for now? Case closed.

Other Updates

#53 — Eat breakfast more often

Don’t know if it’ll be a habit for life, but I’ve been making sure to eat breakfast every day since the start of 2013, and don’t intend to stop anytime soon! If I could pair this up with #9 — cook at least one meal, I’d be well on my way to not snacking on ridiculous food anymore!

#91 — Transfer all my external storage to an SSD Drobo system

Now that I know that Drobos run on a proprietary software system (which can lock you out from your files if the Drobo starts failing), I’m going to look for at some other solutions for backing my data up.

T0 2013… and Beyond!

So what will 2013 bring?

What I do know is this 2012 taught me that if I really want to pursue the things that I passionately believe in, I need to reshape my life and find the time to work on them. The real question is — what am I willing to do to make that happen?

Good luck to everyone trying to make something happen in 2013 I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely need it!

–case p.

The 2010 20K: Day 38 – Still at it!

Hey all,

So, as planned, my other blog has been good for just goofing off and getting original Casey Palmer content out. Today was a song – it's good times 🙂

But the 2010 20K still progresses! Some quick updates:

  • Still working on putting together a Statement of Work for a business reconstruction project
  • Sharon was kind enough to donate another $20 to the challenge, so thank you, my dear!
  • A friend brought up the idea of doing art auctions in order to fund some of the challenge money, which could be awesome
  • There's the possible prospect of getting paid for some manuscript editing, but that also is only in the talks

So you know, despite a weekend with me resorting to the reclusive side of my personality, things still move forward, with or without my active involvement.

I haven't QUITE quit yet ;D

Still working on those websites and hope to have them up soon as well – WordPress is working well with me, but there'll be a good deal of experimentation before I really get it all where I want it to be.

Anyway, just checking in! Hope everyone's been awesome, and may you have a great week! I hope to come with some more news sooner than later!

Until then, comrades,

–case p.