Birthdays are so great because they’re about generosity.

The act of giving, helping, is so generative.

It’s what we can all do for ourselves and each other.

But accepting is really hard, too! Gosh! Let it in.

Sometimes we don’t let the gifts in.

Approaching forty has felt impossibly light and heavy at the same time for me.

It’s so cool to be typing this into something we made together. I want you to really think about that. Ponder the enormity of all that came before that allowed you to be here today, and I want you to get a little bit excited, in that sacred hidden part of your heart that yearns for more.

Let’s keep doing that. And let’s make it better and share it so everyone can enjoy it. We make the world.

I’ve been enjoying so much all the posts coming in for the birthday gift. I’m reading them as fast as I can.

Specifically, my failure mode is I share too much. I’m too generous. I like to err on the side of open. Here’s some amazing code I wrote that you have a legal license to use however you like. If you ask those closest to me how I mess up, it’s that I over-extend myself and try to do too much.

I’ve never shared this publicly, but when the Bay Lights wasn’t going to make it the first time, I mortgaged my apartment and used that money to get it over the line. My personal finances were messy for years after that. I think a lot about being impeccable with my word.

I want people to give the smallest $10 donation to the Bay Lights and encourage others to do the same so that we can all share in feeling that together, we can build things. And every time you see the light or bridge or think of San Francisco, you’ll think of that sacred hidden part of your heart that yearns for more, wants to leave everything better than you found it.

Add some light.

Let the gift in.

This is the part where the sounds come in and you hear it’s the remix.

I find myself returning, again and again, to the Automattic Creed, especially the first line:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

I’m having the most amazing day reading everything that people are sharing. I want to re-share the quote I shared on Tim’s podcast from Will Durant:

Health lies in action, and so it graces youth. To be busy is the secret of grace, and half the secret of content. Let us ask the gods not for possessions, but for things to do; happiness is in making things rather than in consuming them.

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.

32 thoughts on “Forty!

  1. Matt,

    I am not too far ahead of you. Just couple of year. I am at the magical meaning of life number – 42. Looking at the world now has allowed me to understand and answer questions I had when I was younger and wondering about people and their choices. If there was only someone to teach us about what’s ahead of us when we were younger … parent, other adults. But as young people we do not listen.

    Happy birthday and to many more.

  2. Happy birthday Matt! Your brain and your heart are so precious and just what this world needs more of. Thank you for being so generous with yourself.

  3. Happy Birthday! I’m coming up on 50, so I can almost guarantee you’ll make it 10 more *haha*. Hope you get some time for yourself and enjoy the blessings of yet another super successful year.

  4. Happy Birthday Matt. I enjoyed the last podcast you did with Tim. You mentioned you’ve changed your mind about kids. I have two kids and I honestly think you’ll be an amazing dad. You enjoy the challenge of creating open source, well you’ll truly love raising children. It’s the best job in the world.

    Lastly I’m an Optometrist in the UK, with no coding knowledge. I have good sales skills! What do I need to do to get a job at Automattic? I have my own practice, but would love to go into the tech world and software development.

    Any books, tips or references would be great on learning to code.

    Wish you all the best.

    1. Thank you! Automattic has a variety of roles, some which require coding and some don’t. Relevant experience and being able to point to similar work you’ve done as what we’re hiring for is a huge help, but if you don’t have that on your resume an amazing cover letter goes a long way. All of our hires have trials where they do some version of the work that they would do if hired, and that ends up being a pretty good indicator of fit.

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  6. Happy 40th birthday! I’m 44 and I have never felt better.

    Thanks for making it easy for people to create their own websites. I love WordPress.

    God Bless You and all your friends and family. And everyone who uses WP.

  7. Happy Birthday, Matt! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my past 4, almost 5 years, with Automattic. You’ve built some truly amazing “things” in your life thus far, and I know you won’t stop there. May your next year bring a wealth of discovery and enjoyment!

  8. Happy Birthday! I tried to make a donation to The Bay Lights on, but it appears their site is down? Anyways, great post! You have given the world so much!

    1. Very nice Green-DIV-background!
      … do you have any idea, how many readers are trying to clean their screen viewing it?