The 2014 Wrap-Up — Darkness at My Back

“Do you wanna, do you wanna be… happy?
Do you wanna, do you wanna be… free?”
— J. Cole, “Intro”, 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014)

2014 was an insane year — insane.

I started it out driving a rickety ZipVan across town to pick a glider up for my sleep-deprived wife, unsure of my driving skills as I crossed an icy Gardiner Expressway to provide for my family. Last year at this time, I was stressing over my year-end wrap-up, trying to tell my stories in the last few days before calling 2013 a wrap.

This year, not only am I not rushing through the last of 2014’s content like a madman, I’m ending the year on a solid note, more confident in my content than I’ve ever been!

That Year I Lost My Way and Had to Climb My Way Back Up Again.

…I wanted to write something really special to close out 2014. This year has been the most defining yet in my life, challenging everything I thought I knew about love, balance, blogging and fatigue. 2014 wasn’t all smiles as I lost myself to the blogosphere, living life to the pulse of my email inbox with its media pitches and event invites, but I’m coming out the other side a better man for it, more knowledgeable of who I am, what I stand for, and the things I’m willing to do support that.

2014 was a big year — I got a glimpse of what life as a full-time blogger could look like, and revelled in it. I was finally getting paid for my work; seeing my social media metrics grow in ways I could’ve never previously imagined; and thought myself poised for a glorious future with bigger clients, bigger budgets, and a nest egg big enough to eventually spend all day — every day — working at my personal brand, creating stuff that’d leave its mark on the world.

But it was too much, too fast — I woke up one morning realizing I no longer recognized the path I travelled on. The things I chased felt artificial, the things I thought I wanted seeming to crumble to the touch as soon as I laid hands on them. It felt like I was a marionette, and lost track of who was pulling my strings.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXXIV: One Last Post

Well that didn’t turn out exactly as planned — ended up some posts shy of my original goal, but I managed to get a lot out, a lot written, and make some progress in life.

The 2K11 24/7 Wrap-Up

I’m happy to have made it through 2011 in one piece with plenty of hope and positive prospects for 2012 afoot. 2011 was my most challenging year so far — here’s a monthly look at just what went down:

  • January: Win a $2000 Wolfram Mathematica licence in the Wolfram|Alpha Holiday Gift-Away: Deck the Halls with Facts & Knowledge thanks to friends and family; win a new Cisco router at #ReGiftTO
  • February: My boss left our branch, changing the entire dynamic and environment of our office
  • March: Found the AMAZING Burberry suit that I’d wear to the wedding
  • April: Lots of wedding prep and finding time to hang out with friends before becoming a married man
  • May: Got married, had a crazy bachelor party in Montreal, head off to Europe on honeymoon for three weeks, going well into June, bought an iPad
  • June: Come back, face reality. Work hard.
  • July: Decide not to throw any more birthday parties and travel instead, go camping with the in-laws
  • August: Montreal Part 2, hit up the de Bruyn cottage in Quebec for an extremely relaxing weekend, start new job!
  • September: See high school friends after a very long time, take up sewing classes
  • October: Cottage Antics at another cottage
  • November: Headed out to Boston only to find that Toronto’s better
  • December: Start yet another job, have some crazy times with Twitter folk at HoHoTO, and wrap up a very busy year.

Living a life filled with regret isn’t what anyone wants — we focus on the years of constant lessons; figuring out who we are, what we’re about and where we’d like to improve; and we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and where we’d eventually like to get to.

And that’s simply for the things we do casually.

What if you work on something with a little more intensity? If you do something very regularly, the improvement to your task happens over a much shorter time than one might expect! It might take 10,000 hours to master something, but by no means does that mean it all happens at a constant rate!

For me, in 2011, it was definitely this blog.

Lessons from the 2K11 24/7 — What I Learned from a Year of Almost-Daily Blogging

When I started writing the 2K11 24/7 back in January, it was primarily just to prove that I could write a blog post a day. All I had at the time was a catchy-enough name. No real theme. No real idea of what content I’d write — just a name.

The blog took on a life of its own as time passed — I found myself really assessing my life, trying to learn more about the world and why it was so messed up — writing all the time had me thinking about things I hadn’t dredged up in my mind in a very long time.

On top of this blog’s message, I learned more about what it means to be a blogger. I learned about marketing, coding and analytics; got more involved in Toronto communities both online and offline — all things I didn’t know would be fundamental to my success as a blogger; I just discovered it all as my journey progressed!

Lots of major events and life changes, but it wasn’t without its disappointments as well. Life isn’t perfect and neither are we — in 2011, I strove to put out a blog post a day, but in November, the malaise that often comes from too much repetition and routine would find me, sending me off to look for other projects and to finish the year with a blog just 30-40 posts short of 365.

While on one hand, I could beat myself up for not having made it all the way, that’s over 300 quality posts! 300 posts of blood, sweat and tears invested in posts of various topics — forgive the visual.

2012 will be even better — I look forward to not chaining myself to the computer in search of things to cover each and every day!

What’s the plan for next time? Just wait and see!

–Casey E. Palmer

324/365

2011. Signing out.