Thirty-five—it doesn’t feel like a big deal, but it sure sounds like one.
I’ve made birthdays a bit of a non-event for myself since having kids. It isn’t me being “emo” about it as Sarah surmised last year when she planned out a wonderful surprise dinner with my family, but the exact opposite.
I’m not who I thought I’d be at 35, living a regular life and working a regular job. Somehow I’ve managed to build this world around me that has excitement at every turn, and though it takes a lot to keep it going, I never question whether I’m living life to the fullest. I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose every day, getting more done some days than others.
And that’s why I didn’t make a big deal about my birthday—because it was just another day celebrating my life like I do every day.
But 35 isn’t just about turning 35—there’s an entire year ahead looking to see what I can do!
You’ll often hear me joke that we’re simply graduating from the “Terrifying Threes” to the “What the Fours,” but no matter what comes out of your father’s cynical, hardened mouth, I want you to know that you’re a pretty great kid.
I’m plenty hard on you—your little brother is literally copying your every move right now, so I need you to be a good role model for him—but it’s all because I want you to become the best you possible. You won’t get this until you’re much, much older, but the time I spend as your Dad often makes me reflect on my childhood, realising much of what I hated my parents for back then became the life lessons that make me who I am today. It won’t be easy for you—unfortunately, I’ll likely make sure of it—but I hope you’ll eventually realise I’m doing it to make the best you possible.
Through our great moments—wrestling, cuddling and our excellent “Good Morning” routines for your classmates—and the not so great ones, like when you cry over things I don’t see as issues and or where you refuse to eat and later complain over your hunger… I hope we can sit down sometime in the future, laughing about this over a beer.
You make me laugh, make me shout, and on the rare occasion make me cry (but I don’t break easy, sir), but I’m happy to call you my son and it’s great to see what you contribute to your world. You’re clever, compassionate and really good at making friends—though my focus is on rules, manners and obedience, you have what it takes to become a far better person than your Dad is, and I hope you always know that.
What the Fours — Let’s Make This an Amazing Year!
It’s hard to believe you’re already four, and even looking back at old photos and your younger brother, you already stand out so much as your own person. You’re a little ball of energy who loves experimenting with his hands, and the more I learn about you, the more I want to support your strengths and interests so you never live a life that doesn’t align with your values.
All that said, happy birthday to you. You’ve celebrated with Mom and ate an opulent McDonald’s dinner as per your request. I hope you’ve had a great day, kiddo—here’s to many more!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
And all of a sudden, the blog came to a standstill. I can’t blame it on anything in particular—I had more than enough to write about with nearly a dozen posts sitting around at about 90% complete—but things felt different. Some stories felt false. Deadlines didn’t feel as urgent anymore. 2017’s been my strongest year yet without question, but there I was finding myself rather aimless at a time where my lifestyle demanded I be anything but.
My friends—allow me to tell the tale of a man who’d obtained the very world, but soon realised he needed to become a different man altogether to deal with it all.
Other than the ‘grams, this past month hasn’t seen me up to much of anything anywhere. Things have been plenty busy behind the scenes with a heap of things I can’t yet talk about, but all that effort left me with little energy to do my day-to-day the justice it deserved. Perhaps I was uninspired. Or maybe depressed. I hate it when things aren’t logical, and these feelings welling up inside were throwing me for a loop. I needed to get over this so I could get back to doing the things I do best.
Let’s be real—2017’s been ridiculous. Media appearances galore from Tales from the 2.9. Travel. More partnerships, bigger numbers… it’s the first year I honestly feel like I’m doing this hustle justice and not just falling in line with whatever comes my way… but who knows? Maybe it was too much of a good thing.
Thirty-Four: The Best Gifts Don’t Come in Boxes.
I sat pensively on my latest birthday—as one does when they grow another year older—thinking on what I really wanted. I had more than enough stuff accumulated in my house—my desk is quite literally trapped under a pile of product I need to review—but what I could really use was some renewal. Not an entirely fresh start—one shouldn’t ignore the experiences and lessons that make them who they are—but I wanted to feel what I felt when I started this all those years ago. Excitement from meeting new peers. That first time I won something big and realised how much bigger the world was from the one I already knew. I’d lost sight of the magic that drew me to blogging in the first place, but just as everything changed in the blogosphere around me, I too needed to become a new me.
It’s one thing to learn that you can’t do everything—anyone who’s bitten off more than they can chew can tell you that. But it’s another entirely to understand you don’t want to do everything, and at 34, I’m putting the pieces in place to make sure I don’t have to.
Thirty-Four — I’m Ready.
I think I’ve spent more than enough time trying to get my act together—it’s time I get back on track… get back to creating work that gives me hope for the future! There’re some very exciting things afoot in my life—I can’t wait to share them with you… but for now, it’s just good to be back, and I hope you enjoy everything stashed up my sleeves!
Thanks for reading and until the next,
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
I feel like we do this every year—I get a little older, grow a little wiser, but somehow miss the mark on accomplishing the countless items left sitting on my to-do list with each passing birthday. Call it being unrealistic or being too hard on myself, but there’s a genuinely great feeling I get from lightening my load by even one item, and it’s that high I keep chasing—especially when I know I’ve done it right.
It’s not something I expect anyone else to get—it’s always proven difficult to articulate the jumbled thoughts inside my cranium, though Lord knows I’ve tried as this blog’s continued to grow. What it comes down to is this—I know myself: I know myself well, and if I ever want to move on to handle some of the bigger challenges in my life, there’s a tome of writing I’m going to have to do first.
July 2015 — I’ve just turned 32 years old, and I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
I’ve built this #BloggerLife for myself — a little digital space with promise, letting me share thoughts and ideas with thousands, evolving around me as I learn to massage them into something more… spectacular.
I don’t know whether I’d call myself a blogger anymore — things have grown much bigger than that. My site’s more than a blog template, my stories more than a handful of images and subtitles… I look at my #BloggerLife and my other lives running alongside it, knowing what I have to offer is far more than I could achieve by sticking to expectations set by other people.
I can’t do things like everyone else does and expect to find my answers — I need to carve a path from the bedrock of my life; one that’ll let me do everything I must as a husband and father, but still let me create what I want to without sacrificing precious sleep and sanity.
And for that, a little over three decades deep into my life, I look at everything I’ve built so far and ask myself the simplest of questions: