Number 38

I missed my annual birthday post – I must be getting old. 🙂

I had a great birthday – a fun taco and beer dinner at Crafted: The Art of the Taco. For the record, it was March 2nd.

I spent most of the last year looking at houses. No lie! We bought one in Greensboro, and have been improving it ever since. I’m excited to make it our own, little by little. I do wish I could start over on the bathrooms from scratch though. But like I said, little by little.

At work, I’ve been tackling leadership roles more, being in that role with Twenty Seventeen and Components. I’m enjoying stretching myself there.

Beyond that, I’m writing and reading more, two habits I think will help me grow more than anything else. I’ve also started getting deeper into minimalism, questioning my purchase decisions with thoughtfulness and looking to live more with less.

I also began a simple bodyweight workout regimen for ten to fifteen minutes, five days a week. I’ve been at it for more than two months, so it feels good to have it sticking as a habit. I’m feeling better physically, and enjoying the fact that everything I’m doing can be done without a trip to the gym or lots of equipment.

I’m looking forward to a more focused year. We’ll see how it goes!

Related: Number 37Number 36Number 34.

Number 37

Yesterday, I turned 37, and got carded at dinner by my waitress. To be honest, she was likely carding my wife, and asking for mine to be polite. It’s okay – I’ll take it. I had tacos and beer, so it was really just a bonus.

Well, I’m officially in my late thirties. While that scares me a bit, I can honestly say that being older means I just worry less about things that don’t matter. In the last year, I’ve tried to focus on the small details that go a long way.

I started using Habit List to track non-digital habits I wanted to strengthen, like reading, playing with my daughter and writing.  I blogged a lot more too, dogfooding my company’s new product. I’ve continued to contribute to WordPress, going to this year’s Community Summit, and presenting at WordCamp U.S. But the biggest undertaking of the year has been looking for a new place to live. More on that later.

In the next year, I’m aiming to continue to focus on the small details and keep building on the habits I’ve formed. I’m also looking forward to moving, and jettisoning some of the things I don’t need anymore.

I experienced less gigantic life changes this year, but I started processes that will mean gigantic changes in the end.

Related: Number 36, Number 34.

Number 36

Today, I turned 36. Older? Yep. Wiser? Maybe a little. Having more fun? Definitely.

No year has changed me more than the last. I became a dad to a wonderful daughter who surprises me every day. I landed a dream job for Automattic, working on projects I’m passionate about. I picked up CrossFit again after a brief hiatus, missing it more than I imagined. Everywhere I turn I see challenges worth tackling because they’ll make me a better person at the end of them.

This year’s celebration ended up laid-back because both my wife and I are getting over being sick. I still managed a birthday shot of whiskey and a glass of celebratory champagne. I also watched my daughter stand up countless times – she’s about 10-months-old and learning how to do that quickly. That’s a good birthday if you ask me!

This year’s big lesson? Don’t be afraid to go into the unknown toward what matters. We create the darkest parts of the unknown because of our own fears. The rest is either success or failure, two experiences always worth reaching.

So far, I’m excited about the habits I’m working on this year. I’m writing more. Cooking more. Cooking, I know – it’s surprising. Plus, I’m contributing more to the WordPress community. Amid all this creating, I’m trying to simplify. So far, I’ve ditched two-thirds of my old books, donated a bunch of old clothes and purged thousands of old emails I didn’t need. I’m looking forward to a year where I’m less tied down by the things that don’t matter.

What all the big things that happened in the last year, it’s hard to imagine what’s next. No matter, I’ll be going forward, more inspired, and with a lighter load. Bottoms up.

Related: Number 34.

Number 34

I turned 34 on Saturday.

That’s kind of crazy. I don’t feel any any older. I never do, but I do feel more balanced and focused. That’s refreshing. Maybe that’s what wisdom feels like?

I realized that I never wrote a New Year’s post, something I’ve done each of the last two years. Today seemed like a good time to catch up on self reflection, plus I always enjoy reading Matt Mullenweg’s birthday posts. So here goes…

Code City

Professionally, I’ve never felt so excited about what’s next than right now. I started the new year with a new job. I’m writing more code, working on two WordPress themes (to be released soon), contributing to the Make WordPress Accessible group, and diving deeper into the accessibility community.

When I first jumped into the web field I was intimidated. It looked difficult to find a niche, a place where I could make a difference. After all, the web offers a lot of opportunities to make it better, but so many talented folks are already in those spaces doing amazing things. Where does someone new fit? It takes time as I discovered. Now, I feel like I finally found my fit in the WordPress and accessibility communities.

Gutcheck Time!

What I loved most about running cross country and track in high school was the mental challenge and the camaraderie among my teammates. During tough interval workouts, I used to yell, “What time is it? GUTCHECK time!” It turned into a rallying cry for our team.

I tried to keep running after I graduated, but I never stuck with it because I missed the people. Last year I started CrossFit and have been doing it ever since.

I love how CrossFit pushes you and your body in every way possible. A few weeks ago I did my first rope climb. Plus, when your fighting your way through a workout, you always have someone over your shoulder with words of encouragement – like that rallying cry I use to yell. It’s the new cross country and track for me.

This Year

I want to build on my progress:

  • Release the two accessible WordPress themes I’m working on.
  • Finish the three goals on the whiteboard at my gym: 1. Complete my first rope climb. 2. Deadlift 225 lbs. 3. Perform my first double-under.
  • Write more on my blog.
  • Keep reading more.

That’s it. I’m trying to simplify my goals more than in years past. See you in my mid-thirties.