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.

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.

There’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 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!