I’m taking it easy this week, nothing too crazy — just sharing good meals and wine with friends. Which is probably a good example of my goals for the year: putting family and loved ones first, slowing down (to go further), and deliciousness. (Single Thread Farms blew me away.)

2016 was a year of incredible contrasts: it was the saddest and most challenged I’ve ever been with the passing of my father, and while that overshadowed everything there were also bright moments of coming closer to family, deepening friendships, and growing professionally with incredible progress from both WordPress and Automattic. That momentum on the professional side is carrying through and right now I’m the most optimistic I can recall, and thrilled to wake up and get to work every day with the people I do.

I talked about trying to spend longer stretches of time in fewer places, and that definitely happened. I flew 162k fewer miles than the year before, and visited 35 fewer cities. My blogging decreased a lot too — from 252 posts in 2015 to 76 posts in 2016, but the posts I did write were at least 50% longer. I made it to 9 more of the Top 50 restaurants and stand currently at 50% of the list. I finished 22 books, including a lot more fiction including my first few graphic novels like Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, and Watchmen. I watched 35 movies, 9 of which were from the Marvel universe on a single flight from Cape Town to Dubai.

Last year I said, “it’s exciting to make the most of the opportunity that the volatility, love, loss, glory, failure, inspirations, and setbacks that 2016 will bring.” I didn’t know how right I would be, and wish I hadn’t been.

This year doesn’t start with new plans, but rather three intentions continued from a few months ago. I revealed one yesterday, and promised I would expand today on the others, so here they are:

  1. Symmetry — Balance in all things, including my body which is stronger on my right side and much tighter on my left side. We also need symmetry in WordPress between the .org and .com products which differ too much.
  2. Stillness — In echoes of Pico Iyer, so much of my life in my 20s was about movement, and “going places to be moved.” In my 30s I’m looking inward. As Saint Augustine said in Book X, chapter 8 of Confessions: “Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad flow of the rivers, the vast compass of the ocean, the courses of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
  3. Yellow Arrows — The idea that there are clear indications of where to go next at every fork in the road, and if not you should paint them. I wrote more on this  yesterday.

All birthday posts: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40.

18 thoughts on “Thirty-Three

  1. As always love to read. So reflective and so much to look forward to.

    Have a good year Matt. 33 is symmetrical I guess. Have a little bit of fun too.

    Looking forward to more.


  2. I can relate with the contrasts of 2016. The lows are reaaally low, but there are also highs that kept me afloat. Thanks for sharing, Matt. Have a great birthday week!

  3. About me: I heard you talk at the PARC Auditorium in 2005. I started blogging the next week. That was a while ago. And since then, it has happened that I’ve been consumed by a Sisyphean task. But I hope to be paroled back into life soon – as much as I have left, one never knows.

    About 2016: My life was changed completely last year by something that happened totally unexpectedly. But I will never be the same. And I need to write about that Odyssey after I ship what I’ve been working on, this Spring. But a hint is that at 69, I intend to get my first tattoo and it will be of Ella, a beloved Pitbull whom I rescued from certain death and shepherded to safety in Humboldt County. But really, when I think about it, I’m not sure who rescued who…