What a year.

First, it feels amazing to write this inside of the new Gutenberg block editor in WordPress 5.0. It was a labor of love for so many and the next chapters are going to be even more exciting.

The best part of the last year was growing closer to my friends and loved ones — I don’t know if it’s externally perceptible but my heart feels a lot more open.

I’ve found a good balance with meditation, work, sleep, fasting, eating, and reading that gives me a lot of joy, energy, and feels like a combination I could sustain the rest of my life.

Reading in particular was a highlight as I finished 38 books, which is the most in a year since I started tracking, and so many of them were truly excellent I’m going to do another post just on books. I will give a special call out to The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu. Leaving my Kindle Oasis at an airport ended up being a blessing in disguise as I started using the Kindle app on my iPhone a lot more and that’s become my new favorite habit. (And the physical Kindle was returned!)

It was a strong travel year, covering 126 cities, 20 countries, and 377k miles. I especially enjoyed visits to Tulum, Iceland, Bodrum, Tonga, Kauai, Lanai, and Courchevel. I finally checked off my bucket list item to become scuba certified and had an amazing opportunity to swim with humpback whales.

I was a few feet from Adam Gazzaley when he took this photo.

I also had lots of opportunities to practice patience, weathered a torrent of personally-directed criticism across every medium, and had a few months that were the hardest I’ve worked in my career. With the benefit of a little distance, though, those things don’t loom as large. I learned a ton — often the hard way but often that’s what it takes — and discovered I had some additional gears that can kick in when needed.

As I pass solidly into my mid-thirties, I don’t have any drastic shifts on the horizon but I am looking forward to continuing to strengthen the habits I’ve been able to develop this past year.

Other years: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35.

19 replies on “Thirty-Five”

  1. Happy birthday, Matt! Nothing beats your 22nd birthday post, but 35 is huge! Thank you for your transparency and all the work you and the team have done to push online publishing forward! – From a fellow Houstonian

  2. I didn’t read this because you put ugly ads on my wordpress.com site. I don’t mind ads, but why not vet them? Or maybe ensure content is first like you say so often. My content is redacted in favor of some stupid illustration of a seemingly female gut that looks unnaturally like a flap cake of stomach skin, with a pinching hand that has these pink fingernails. It’s odd. It takes over allllllllll the content that is on the page.

  3. It’s hard to believe that you transformed my life 35 years ago. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for the world! I am so very proud of you, and love you tons and tons (and tons and tons…). Merry you day, BB! Remember that I support you 317 gabillion percent!!!!

    1. Addenda
      Having read your birthday posts from this, 35, to 27 and having noticed that your ‘memoires’ only start at 19, I will try and write your fictional happy birthday resolutions from 19 to 0. Stay tuned. Regards.

  4. Happy belated Birthday wish Matt, I’ve wished you a happy birthday every year for the past 13 years when I first began working with WordPress.com and WordPress.org as a Freelancer. I meekly admit I forgot one year so hopefully you’ll forgive me. You’ve had a great year…one for the ages. 🙂 I too can celebrate as my company (I started in 2003), and I have had a record year with WordPress and look forward to many more to come. Keep in mind I’m 58 years old, retired from a former 27 year career in finance and loving WordPress and my second career!! Congratulations and before I forget, Lent is almost hear! Happy Journey my friend.

  5. What a joy to read this!

    Happy Birthday sweet Matt! I hope this next trip around the sun is the best one yet. Your beautiful, open heart is such a gift to those who know you.

  6. Happy Birthday, Matt! I started reading more books this year, too. I really enjoy reading self-development books that help me to improve my life. I even consider reading some of them one more time.

  7. Happy birthday, Matt!
    I always love reading your birthday posts. It’s amazing to me that you are able to summarize your year into such a pithy little essay. It’s an interesting way to view time and journaling. In fact it reminds me of the 2010 video game, Braid, where everything goes back in time at the end. Memory really is a form of time travel. You my friend are an amazing traveler in geographic spaces, personal spaces, mental/emotional/spiritual spaces, creative and business spaces, but also in time. I wish you many more beautiful years of travel and discovery. Don’t let the turkeys get you down. Anyone who’s criticizing you personally really hasn’t really met you, because if they had they would love you like I and all of your friends, colleagues and acquaintances do. You are a star. Seriously. you make the world a brighter and happier place, because you are deeply kind and genuine, and your sense of wonder is bigger than the universe.

  8. Many happy returns of the day Matt. I found it in one comment on your 34th birthday post but I was interested into any insights into meditation and reading more. What methods do you follow and what do you recommend?

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