The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was… 2018.

Real talk? I was done with 2018 months ago, but it wasn’t quite done with me.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was... 2018. — Casey Pout

It’s been a challenging year. And not in the regular “working harder than any year before it” kind of way—hard in the losing friends and making enemies kind of way. In the realising you have more work than you have the effort available to do it kind of way. 2018 was a continuous, ongoing gauntlet of activity, and though I’d love to jump forward to 2019 and make a clean break, things aren’t quite that easy.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Reality that was 2018.

I tried so hard to have less on my plate than everything I’m looking at on December 31st, 2018.

The year had no shortage of curveballs, and my batting average wasn’t exactly amazing—despite my successes, there’s plenty that’s gone to the wayside. Like this being the first year in a while I didn’t start with a list of a hundred goals, too busy travelling and planning to get my act together. Same goes for my annual Black History Month project, which got a few posts out but didn’t reach the potential I had in mind. It was a year full of distractions, and while I started Chatting with Casey and giving some much-needed shape to the unfinished problems in my life, it still showed I was a long way off from sorting it all out— I sensed a very interesting 2019 ahead.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was… 2016.

It’s December 31st, 2016, and while I feel like the same Casey I was 365 days agoeverything’s changed.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was... 2016 — Casey and Toddler PalmerThere’re now two kids who need me in their lives instead of the toddler flying solo just a year ago. And though I seem to change 9-5s more than some change their underwear (ew), leopards never really change their spots, and the struggle remains real to find the balance I’m desperately seeking, but never seem any closer to finding. It’s not the kind of year where I can pinpoint what I learned—I spent most of it hustling ’til I dropped, and while I saw gains in some places, I’m not convinced the Casey you see today is any different despite all this.

If anything, I guess you could say I’m better prepared. Year after year I’ve looked back, surprised that the year I’d had was somehow busier than the one that came before, but this time it’s different. In 2016, much of that hecticness was by my own hand, and I’m pretty sure that just who I am now. The guy who’d rather turn something in late than create something that conforms.

But that also makes me the guy who’s constantly learning hard lessons from that pressure for perfection. The guy who’s had to part ways with ongoing gigs because they just weren’t doing it for me anymore. I spent more than enough of 2016 feeling like I was doing something wrong, so when things turned around at the year’s end with a post that finally gave me a taste of what success felt like, I tell you—it may have changed my #BloggerLife forever.

The 2015 Wrap-Up — How Casey Got His Groove Back

It’s almost surreal that another year’s behind us as we gear up for another full one ahead. I hit Maker Pizza with my sister-in-law and her fiancé a few days back, and while we both had very different 2015s, we both agreed — the trip we took to Cuba back in January feels a lot farther away than a mere 11 months!

No; 2015 challenged me to do more than any before it, and while I’m not about to give myself any gold stars for performance — there’s enough I could’ve improved — but the Casey today’s a far cry from the disillusioned blogger we saw just one year earlier. If anything, 2015 helped me take a quick glimpse at my potential, seeing what’s possible if I’m willing to test my limits and really show myself what I can do.

It makes me hopeful for an even better 2016 than the amazing year I just had!

The 2015 Wrap-Up — How Casey Got His Groove Back — Casey in New York City

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.

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 91-100: The Last Post of the Year

We made it. Despite a 3-hour outage from my hosting provider, I managed to get this done. Thank you for joining me on the ride, and I’ll just leave this up here so I can go get my party on in these last few hours of the year. Enjoy the post!

Putting 2012 on the Shelf — Here’s to 2013!

Another year gone, another year where we reflect on what happened, what we wanted to happen, what we wish had happened, and what we hope happens in the next year – our next attempt at getting life right.

I don’t even need to think about it — 2012 stands out as one of the craziest years I’ve had yet. From mountain climbing to cutting loose to bending the very nature of probability, dull moments weren’t something I was really concerned with these past 366 days.

Trippin’: Killin’ Kili and Caribbean Dreamin’

Killin’ Kili

So as you might recall, this year I managed to climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro — one of the Seven Summit of the World! Even though it wasn’t initially my idea, once I got there, I knew I couldn’t turn back and learned a lot about myself in the process.

What I didn’t talk about and share as much was the experience we had afterward while on safari.

While I won’t go into elaborate detail in this post on the sights I saw and the things I did while on the dusty trail, I definitely hope to share it all with you someday — nothing you get in the big city  compares to the experiences you can have while on the Savannah!

Caribbean Dreamin’

I’d hoped to write an entry on our Caribbean cruise as part of the November to Remember series, but the holiday season took over and it never happened (which I’m okay with, as I still have 200 photos waiting for post-production from that trip!)

One day I’ll tell you all about it.

One day.

The Man Behind the Camera

I did more photography this year than any before, covering events like Social Media Week Toronto, Toronto Pride 2013 and several tweetups and networking events. Wherever I would go, one of my cameras was sure to follow.

In 2013, I hope to continue capturing the experiences people have around me daily, honing my craft with better equipment, more experimentation and refining my technique.

#TeamTrolling and my Tweeps

2012 would see a group of friends come together that’re unified by a love of laughter, a fiending for food and just being all-around good people to spend time with.

I was very blessed this year to get to know friends like Christine even better, while still developing a number of relationships that I’ve made over the last decade!

Mansformation

Mansformation-short-logo

Sometimes you have to be a one-man army to get things done, and for me that meant blowing the dust off of my graphics tablet and working on the logo for Mansformation in Adobe Illustrator. After a lot of tweaking and input from my wife and good friends, I was able to come up with this — something that I think I’m going to be pretty happy with for a good while!

One of the more unexpected things that happened this year was developing Mansformation — an idea that’d started as a bit of a joke and developed into a project with real potential!

I love everyone who’s supported Mansformation so far, and look forward to all the things I can do with it in 2013! I feel like this year’s will be one for the history books!

Partying Like it Was 1999 Again, Were I Legal Enough at the Time to Appreciate it

2012 had no shortage of celebration going on! Between a private Halloween party, a birthday party that easily went down in infamy and just about any other event that Twitter could throw at us — there’s been no rest for the wicked!

In some ways, I’m surprised that I managed to get anything done in 2012!

Even though the year will likely start slow with people worn out from December and trying to fill the gaping wounds left in their wallets, as the weather warms up, so will the events as they get bigger and badder throughout the year!

Better get that rest while you can!

Dating Lady Luck

A common theme in the later part of 2012 was winning stuff.

To the point where it was ridiculous.

Winning bottles of booze and conference tickets was one thing, but top-of-the-line phones? Trips to Vegas??? Lady Luck was way kinder to me than I could’ve ever anticipated in 2012!

Love & Marriage

A shot of Casey and Sarah at the "Thermae Romae" TIFF premiere!
Thanks to Meg, we were able to check out the premiere of “Thermae Romae”!

And of course, this was my first full year spent as a married man. No more wedding planning, no more trying to figure out honeymoon details — just continuing to learn about each other and figuring out how to co-exist so that we both win.

It was a good year for the both of us to relax, since you never know what the future will bring!

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for many decades yet to come!

It Was a Good 2012. Here’s to 2013!

Most of all, I think this is the year where it all started to click. Where social media became a bit less of just being another place to have fun, and started being somewhere that could help define the future of not only myself, but a whole heap of people who I know!

Have a happy new year, mes amis — something tells me that 2013’s will be amazing!!!

–case p.