Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.
After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.
But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what just don’t feel part of my world anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!
The 2017 100 — My 31 Successes.
3) Build the Casey Palmer business.
So like I said, this was the most significant year for my brand yet. Stellar new partnerships with the likes of Scotiabank and Graco. Big wins from the Tales from the 2.9 series and my Christmas gift guides. We’re bigger and better in 2017, and I’m not slowing down from here! In 2018, I need to learn from 2017’s stumbling blocks, like remembering to give myself time to prepare for the busy seasons. Or doing better at clearing out the clutter, so I’m not so distracted. I’m hoping for a year with the utmost clarity so I can thrive with my newfound success—not crumble under the weight of it.
It’s time to work smarter—not harder.
4) Design a new business card for myself.
This year saw me attend my first formal blogger conference and take a major step with a heavily promoted trip to Mexico to cover Scotiabank’s CONCACAF football tourney. As opportunities developed, I needed an image reflecting my growth, and my old one touting me as a “social media maven” just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So I went back to my roots and hit the gang up at Moo to help me develop a business card better representing the Casey Palmer I am today.
Perfect it’s not, but it’s a colourful step in the right direction!
6) Get my finances in check.
2017 was the year I got my act together.
With several vital campaigns and opportunities pushing my year forward, I’m ending 2017 in a far better place than I’d started. You take for granted how limited your options are when you have debt and other obligations hanging overhead. 2017’s allowed me to pursue some other interests, and no matter what comes next, I don’t see myself going back to the man I used to be.
9 & 10) Learn to write a killer press release… because I’m putting out the second round of posts for Tales from the 2.9, bigger and better than before!
I enlisted the help of both my Cision Newswire partnership and my lovely communications specialist wife to put this together, getting a news release out to signal the second year for Tales from the 2.9—my daily series through February to help fill the void of digital content we see around Black History Month. I don’t know for sure what came from it, but aside from Metro Morning and CTV interviews partly coming from who I knew, the story made the Metro newspaper, several CBC channels and some digital channels as well. So who knows? In any case, it’s something I’ll be repeating next year—Canada’s Black population is growing—our stories should grow with us.
13) Spend more time seeing people and not just following their lives on Facebook.
I didn’t see everyone I wanted to see in 2017—a running roster on Wunderlist’s testament to that—but I still made time for people. And making time for people took me out of my comfort zone:
- It had me speak during Financial Literacy Month
- It had me contribute to a PhD dissertation on Dad Bloggers…
The ripples it made in my world are ones I expect to become waves in the years ahead, and I hope to find even more chances to both meet new people and build deeper roots with the ones I already know.
I’ll see you in 2018! (Hopefully.)
14) Get a Brookhaven Computer Cabinet.
I spent a few years working at a crumbling computer desk to make it happen, but we finally splurged and got a Brookhaven Computer Cabinet, vastly improving our dining room space! There’s still plenty I need to do to maximize my new desk (see #5—getting rid of the endless amounts of paper in my life), but a place to keep it all organised is a mighty good start.
15) Find more time to keep my fashion game on point—refresh my wardrobe with more bespoke pieces.
Little did I know when writing The 2017 100 that I’d have the opportunity to work with Sak’s Fifth Avenue and get a hefty discount on bespoke shirts and suits later in the year! After years working as a bureaucrat, I’d forgotten just how good a beautiful suit felt—it was great to be back in fine form again!
Now to just keep my body in shape so I don’t need to keep buying new suits!
(But I want to!)
16) Get my hands on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for Sarah—and the Microsoft Surface Studio for myself once all the bugs are worked out.
When it comes to tech, they say never to buy the first one of anything. The Microsoft Surface Studio looks delightful, but I’m going to give it a little time to mature before I invest $6,000 in a powerful new rig.
But the Surface Pro is proven, and with Sarah’s 2012 Asus laptop outclasses and outdated by so much that came out after it, I felt it time to replace it with something spectacular.
Fortunately, the gang at Best Buy Canada saw things like I did and helped me get Sarah a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 in time for Sarahpalooza—the triple threat of her birthday, Mother’s Day and our wedding anniversary we handle every May! It’s a welcome addition to the family—I haven’t heard a complaint about slow load times or blue screens of death since!
23) Clean out the garage while there’s still room to walk through it.
If it isn’t in my Google Calendar, it’s not happening, so Sarah made sure to schedule a time for her brother and me to assemble 16′ of shelving along the garage wall to get it all organised. It seemed gruelling at first, but we eventually found our groove, and now the garage is looking better than ever!
Well, it was—a combination of our hurried lifestyle and winter with its pain-in-the-ass -20 temperatures have created a rush-in, rush-out approach to outdoor storage, so we’ll get back to that pristine state in the spring!
25) Get new headphones and earbuds to keep enjoying new tunes!
If you’ve followed my story at all, you’ll know I’ve had some major problems with ear buds as fragile models fell underfoot, cords frayed, and I just felt I wasn’t getting the value for the hundreds of dollars I’d drop on a headset. So earlier this year, I decided to switch it up and invest in some Sennheiser HD1 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones after featuring it on my 2016 wish list from #52!
And what an investment it was—the sound far excels what I’ve gotten from other earbuds—my only concern is that I didn’t get the longevity I thought I would for the price tag (about nine months), and needed to get a second pair while waiting for the first to get repaired. Their exposed wire can be tricky, so if you’re a daily user like me… just be careful with ’em.
27) Hang up Christmas lights for the first time ever.
I didn’t see myself putting up Christmas lights this year—just like I didn’t do every year before—but when Sarah came home with a pile of NOMA Christmas lights from Canadian Tire… I knew it was “go time!”
And you know what? It’s not all that hard—if you use the right equipment.
Being the only adult around who isn’t afraid of heights, I made sure we invested in a robust ladder this summer for whenever I needed to work on the roof. If anything, the mistake that cost me the most time was using the NOMA EZ Snap Christmas Light Clips and not the NOMA C9 Quick-Clip Light Clips, which I thought were a way easier way to get those lights firmly clipped and looking good.
In any case, it was decent for a first try, and next year will be even easier.
Part of our ever-growing Christmas tradition!
28) Get a new cufflink box, because fishing through a pile of them each morning is just downright annoying.
In the end, I didn’t even need a new cufflink box—I just had to fix what I already had. The Bombay cufflink box I reported broken in 2016 just required some screws and adjustment, and it’s back in service. Well, it was. My kindergartener broke it again, but broke ain’t forever—I’ll get it up and running!
33) Take my toddler out for more adventures.
I never got around to telling this story on the blog, but when Sarah took a trip to Calgary to visit her pregnant sister, the week I spent with my eldest was one of the most emotional I’d ever had. We had our adventures, yes, but man… I wasn’t entirely ready to continually handle everything he’d throw at me, and it was the first time I found myself questioning whether I was a good father or if I was failing my kid.
We did plenty more adventuring later on in the summer, but was it all good?
The verdict’s still out.
37) Get out and do more public speaking.
The best opportunities come when you’re not seeking them out.
Some of the public speaking experiences I didn’t quite see coming in 2017 include:
- Speaking at the Crescent School about Tales from the 2.9 and the mission of showing Black Canadian stories in an entirely new light
- Being on a Community Economic Action Group panel for Financial Literacy Month, encouraging others to change their money mindsets so they can read themselves for financial success
- And accepting the opportunity to give two keynote speeches for the Parenting 101 conference in Kelowna, BC, looking to give my unique take on what it’s like to raise children in the midst of the digital age
What next? Doing better at it. Refining my craft. Building it all to a point where I’m as good a speaker as I am a blogger. It’s important to me that I don’t find myself pigeonholed, so expect to see more of my efforts on this one!
39) Make the most of my 9-5, taking advantage of everything it has to offer!
One of the things I was really proud of this year was getting back into French. I’d studied it all the way to Grade 12, and the only thing stopping me from continuing to bilingual status in Grade 13 was the fact that no one else in my school wanted to take it. 15 years later, I’m getting back on my path, hoping I’ll be able to communicate with my boys from the beginning of their journey in Grade 4 to whenever their linguistic exploration comes to an end.
My employer offers so much that so few take advantage of—I’m going to keep making sure we’re giving each other what we need so we’re getting the best from one another.
47) Further develop my brand and PR relationships to the point where we’re both getting something awesome and unique from the exchange.
Things have come a long way from the early days of influencer marketing with a bunch of nameless bloggers going to every party possible all the time… and as my brand grows each year, I’m finding the mutual respect and understanding grows along with it.
2017 saw conversations further develop—getting involved in everything from strategy, budgeting and more. Where I’m asked for my rates instead of told how much I’m worth. I’m looking to work with my brand partners to continue creating better content… hopefully others keep seeing things the way I do!
54) Stop trying to make Sarah laugh. It’s either going to happen or it’s not.
No, for real—if she’s gonna laugh, she’s gonna laugh, and it’s usually not at my jokes. If I’m cracking wise, I’m just gonna keep doing it for myself and my kids. You know—until they don’t find me funny anymore.
55) Act on new ideas.
I remember recently reflecting on this influencer journey we’ve taken with my buddy Justin, thinking on how we once had a roster of hundreds we’d regularly interact with only half a decade ago to the three or four people we truly call friends today. Lots of Toronto’s influencer scene had to grow past a fun house of smoke and mirrors pretty quickly, and for those of us that’re left, the onus is on us to work hard to build a world that’ll continue to deliver value for years yet to come.
And that in mind, I’m glad I’m still friends with Zach Bussey, the guy who continually challenges me to push the envelope even at the times where I feel spent.
It’s not that I don’t have friends—there are still those in my circle who’ve hung with me more than 15 years straight, now—but he’s the one guy I know who truly understands not only what it takes to build something of value in this influencer world, but also why I work so hard to try to make that happen every time.
He’ll be up to big things himself with his Creator Hype project in 2018—if you’re at all interested in the influencer marketing world, make sure to tap into it!
58) See more of Ontario.