The 2016 100 — or — How to Build a Better Casey

I can’t even lie, guys — coming up with a list of 100 goals for the fourth year in a row was hard — ridiculously so. I’m a very different me than I was when The 2013 100 came out, back when free time was still an abundant commodity I didn’t even know I was taking for granted, trying to fill it with countless things that’d keep life interesting.

A problem I most definitely don’t have in 2016!

As I work at surviving the upcoming year — especially with our second child’s imminent arrival — I needed to make the list a lot more realistic; I’m all too skilled at chasing ambitions that exceed my lifestyle’s capacity, and I’ll need to keep wary of that in 2016 if I want to see myself make it out the other side!

So without further ado, The 2016 100. It took a couple of days to polish off after recovering from the gauntlet that was 2015, but I feel like it’s a list that will really make waves in this life o’ mine should I see it finished!

But hey — that’s what I say every year ????

Thanks for reading!


1) Write an amazing series for Black History Month
2) Win a vacation for my dry cleaner
3) Watch Creed; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; Ant-Man
4) Take Eric to a sporting event so he can stop complaining about getting left from sporting events
5) Phase my old 3.5″ hard drive out
6) Get rid of my old electronics
7) Stop biting my nails
8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent
9) Clean out the basement crawl space
10) Build shelves into the crawl space
11) Give my FWD Powershot 2 to my old manager the hockey coach
12) Do the CN Tower Edgewalk
13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP
14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad

Though a chiropractor I started seeing late into 2015 told me I’d developed some mild sciatica in my back, I didn’t need him to tell me I carry too much STUFF. In a digital age where we can pack mountains of information into a single device, there’s really NO NEED for me to carry all the draft posts and note that I do — save the fact that working from hard copy’s the way my brain’s WIRED.

In 2016, I need a little more focus to keep all my ideas stored in one place so I’m not constantly carrying EVERYTHING in my house made of paper, knowing that I probably scribbled SOMETHING on ALL of ’em.

15) Sort out the Internet situation at home so I can stop relying on tethering to LTE data
16) Learn enough Spanish to understand my sister-in-law’s Mexican wedding in May
17) Find time for date nights, which will involve finding someone who wants to babysit two kids… how about we just find more awesome things to do at home, just in case?
18) Try Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake
19) Get to 0 drafts on CaseyPalmer.com by converting everything into live posts
20) Install the growth chart for my kids that we got at my office baby shower
21) Update all the old content on CaseyPalmer.com
22) Upgrade the site infrastructure to better support contest traffic
23) Redesign the heck out of the blog (Twenty Sixteen, what up)
24) Find the time to pack more lunches for work
25) Clean up and optimize my Pinterest account (I still have that copy of Pinterest Savvy lying around somewhere)
26) Shave more regularly
27) Hand out my remaining business “cep” cards so I can put in a new order (wait — do we still do business cards?)
28) Clear out the bookshelves to prepare for Baby #2
29) Replace the lost key to our 2011 Ford Edge
30) Figure out what I ACTUALLY need to run my site and invest in THAT.
31) Replace our bathroom sink
32) Meet with the people who I never seemed to schedule in through 2015 (Aaron, Emma, Ria, Adrienne, Dianna)
33) Get a Brookhaven Computer Cabinet

The 1% of the Casa de Palmer workspace I use to do all the things isn’t the best — in fact, it’s falling apart. As I get older and start formalizing my #BloggerLife, Sarah and I agree that my workspace should evolve to show that. It’ll take some saving to make it happen, but it’d be a nice addition to the home.

The Week That Was… October 4th -10th, 2015.

Welcome back for the second installment of The Week That Was…. Long weekends are long for a reason — between two Thanksgivings, surprise birthday parties and everything we do to keep up with Little Man’s limitless energy levels while he’s awake, squeezing blogging time in is virtually impossible. Anyone in their right mind would call it a weekend, kiss their kids goodnight, and turn in for the weekend themselves.

But take it from someone who knows — few of us family bloggers are in our right minds!

That said, here’s a second helping of The Week That Was and the random that kept me going as I continued through October!

The Scintilla Project Day Seven — A Recipe for Catastrophe

Sometimes you’re going to jump and there’ll be nothing to land on — but no matter how you end up, you’ve always gotta crawl your way back up.

1. Write about someone who was a mentor for you.

2. What have been the event horizons of your life – the moments from which there is no turning back?

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 7 prompts

I had to do some real soul-searching to write this one.

16 was a hell of a year for me. So much was going on in my head, and so much was spiralling out of control. Everything I’d worked at for years was unravelling, and it started to become clear that I couldn’t continue what I was doing for very long. Something had to give, and I didn’t know it then, but 16 would mark the death of Casey Palmer as I knew him, and creating something new altogether.

But who was he and what would he become?

Bred for Success

I guess I was never all that normal after all.

Showing promise from a young age, my parents would do whatever they could to develop the skills they saw within me. My parents raised me to always strive for my best performance but didn’t teach me as much about balance. I’m a child of the ’80s — a child of 20% interest rates on mortgages and two parents working their butts off to make ends meet. My first 16 years were spent cramming as much into my head as possible.

I’m a child of the hustle.

In hindsight, it all makes sense. Dad would work 70-80 hours a week tending to the restaurant, Mom had to balance 40-50 hours a week at a corporation that ultimately didn’t value her efforts, and come home to keep three rowdy boys in line that sometimes didn’t either. They indirectly raised me believing that the stress, working to the bone in the quest for success and never being satisfied were all just part of life.

And it wasn’t until well into my life as a 16-year old that I’d come to appreciate just how dangerous a combination that could be.

Case in point, the first 16 years of my life were always busy. To give you a brief summary of just how busy that was, this list gives you a quick overview of what I remember from those days:

  • Age 5-6: Kindergarten – Grade 1, French immersion; piano lessons
  • Age 7-11: Grades 2-6, Mode 3 education (aka “the gifted program” or “the brainers”), showing an aptitude for language, problem-solving and math
  • Age 11: Compete to get into the University of Toronto Schools, earn one of the 78 spots (from 1000+ applicants!)
  • Age 12-16: Grade 7-12 at University of Toronto Schools:
    • School Activities
      • Deputy Prefect Althouse house
      • Tenor in the Junior Choir
      • Various roles, Junior Play (2 plays)
      • Member of Math Club, Film Qlüb, Impro Club
    • Sports
      • Track & Field Team (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay, long jump, triple jump, high jump)
      • Half-back, Rugby Team
    • Volunteering
      • Volunteer, Square One Youth Centre (Vice-President of the Youth Leadership Committee and in charge of writing grant applications for the Centre)
      • Volunteer, Trillium Health Centre (Team Lead for coordinating the volunteers; co-editor of Trillium Talks, the volunteer newsletter)
      • Volunteer, Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (Chair of Mississauga Youth Week 2000)
      • Contributor, YouthMEDIA Newspaper
      • Contributor, The Cuspidor
      • Counsellor, Tawingo Winter Camp
    • Work
      • Take-out cashier, Line cook and Host, St. Hubert Bar-B-Q

But Success Has Its Price…

It might sound impressive, but a whole heap of accomplishments can bring its own set of problems:

  • I never slept. I remember the first time I had to code a website on my family’s 386 when I was 14 years old — and going 5 days straight on almost no sleep to get it done. (We’re talking surviving from Coke and 15-minute cat naps, here….)
  • I was always broke. I was never home to eat and you don’t make a heckuva lot as a take-out cashier. I remember looking at my bank statements from this time years down the road, appalled at how much I spent on fast food and comic books!
  • It was never good enough. Despite having many people who cared about my well-being, a number of accomplishments under my belt and knowing that I was making a difference in my world, I was never satisfied. I could never focus on the victory at hand — I was always looking ahead to the next one. What could I improve? What was still on the to-do list? Why aren’t I at their level?

And when you’re not sleeping, always stressed about how much you’ve got left until the next paycheque and never happy enough to change the habits breaking you down, all that pressure adds up, and the mind can only take so much. For me, it only led to one thing — me, huddled with my head between my knees in the Grade 12 hallway, tired. So tired. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I couldn’t be the son my parents wanted, and I was in too deep to find a way out of the mess I’d gotten myself into.

It was a full-blown mental breakdown.

There’s a Light at the End of Every Tunnel

It would take years to rebuild myself from the low I’d hit, but I’d eventually learn the skills I needed to find my place in this world. I learned that I didn’t need to bend over backwards to get everyone to like me. I learned that it was okay if people didn’t like me. I learned that I didn’t need to meet my parents’ every whim to be a valuable human being. I learned that I could pour out every effort within me to make others happy, but if I burned myself out in the process, I was no good to anybody.

But most of all — I learned that there are no second chances for those who give up, and that’s what’s kept me fighting since that day — another shot at finding a path that makes Casey Palmer… Casey Palmer.