Thirty Eight

This is an unusually late birthday post (still backdated to January 11). I woke up on my actual birthday and was not feeling it. I was locked down even more strictly than January 2021 because I was trying to be extra cautious prior to a surgery my Mom had later in the month. I was also on a fairly strict diet and exercise regime after slipping into a weight range I wasn’t comfortable with.

So I was feeling extra isolated, had a strange pain in my lower back, and I just felt old all over. I thought of the Drake line, “I’m really too young to be feeling this old.” (Maybe originally from Garth Brooks?)

I meditated with a Daily Calm from Jeff Warren called “The Boggle,” which unfortunately I can’t hotlink but here’s how it starts: Sometimes we’re in the boggle, life is throwing everything at us: complicated situations, complicated relationships, we have all these feelings, all these impulses pulling us in different directions, and we have no idea what to do. No idea how to resolve it all. Even no idea what self-care strategy to implement right now. So what’s interesting about the boggle is that there’s the challenge of the situation itself, or situations, and there’s the added challenge of the confusion of it, the scrambling to make sense of everything. So we’re going to try something different, we’re going to stop scrambling and accept, even forgive, the boggle. We’re going to let ourselves be right here, inside any confusion, and take a break from trying to fix any of it. That’s the itinerary, let’s go. It hit close to home, and I’ve ended up returning to that meditation several times since.

The day really shaped up, though! Friends surprised me with a trip to a Teamlab exhibit at a museum that was closed on Tuesdays but they got opened up just for us. The museum was magical, but the best part was seeing friends I wasn’t expecting to, even if masked and relatively distanced. I wore a new comfy matching tie die outfit too, because, why not? Ended the day with a small dinner with Mom and three friends.

I don’t have any particular wisdom from this birthday except no matter how you feel, take some Advil and keep going.

This year on the personal side I’d like to take more silent retreats, get settled at home and out of liminal states, particularly construction projects, and listen to more operas. On the work side I’d like to set up alternative ecosystems for people tired of the traditional options for social with Tumblr, listening with Pocket Casts, and writing with Day One. (Update: A few weeks after my birthday I announced I’m working on Tumblr full-time.) Finally, I’d like to do my birthday post on time next year, but I’m forgiving myself for prioritizing friends and family that day. 😄

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.

15 thoughts on “Thirty Eight

  1. Always love your birthday post but friends and family come first surely!! Loved the tie dye. Hope your Mom’s surgery went well? Sounds like you were in the thick of it. Looking forward to what you do with Tumblr!!

  2. As always, thanks for sharing your inner most and private thoughts. You would be surprised how many people may be feeling similar introspective musings.

    Here is the poem I lean into when I am feeling boggled.

    Augeries of Innocence

    Humankind was made for joy and woe
    And when this we rightly know
    Through lthe world we safely go

    Joy and woe are woven fine
    A clothing for the soul divine
    Under every grief and pine
    Runs a joy with silken twine

    My spin: We are sentient beings. Honor and process feelings both good and bad.

    Oh, and no advil! Make some willow tree tea instead (Indegenous natural painkiller and one of the key ingredients in aspirin).

  3. Congrats Matt! … so the line is growing (19 … 38) unstoppable 😉 … feeling with your weight-issue, as discovering myself the same during 2020/21 … let’s hope at least CoVid19 getting from pandemic to endemic this year and we’ll find the time to face the remaining challenges.

  4. Happy Belated Birthday! I’m amazed how far you’ve come from the 16 year old I met way back in Austin! Congratulations.

  5. Happy Birthday! The ability to do 14 hour days as in earlier years slows its pace (or ends in my case) as you get near 40, but you keep going and learn to be a lot more directed. 🙂

  6. Happy Belated Birthday, Matt! The teamLab: Continuity exhibit in SF was *such* a trip and you appear very well-dressed for the occasion — you should share your animated sea creature drawing if ya’ll did that part!

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