38 things about being 38 years old

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Yesterday I looked at some emails in my personal inbox from 11/7/08. That’s 10 years ago today for those of you good at math. I turned 38 at 1:18am this morning. (I was asleep.) I would have turned 28 on that day. Again, we’re keeping with the “good at math” theme.

So, look, 10 years is a long time. When I turned 28, I lived in New York City, I hadn’t even started dating my ex-wife yet, I was still at ESPN (and would be for another three years), etc. Since then I’ve moved three times, I’ve had probably 3–4 jobs (100s if you count contracts), I’ve been divorced, probably all my friends have had kids — I just did some more email research and the first one of my friends’ kids was born in January 2009 — so my individual arc is unique. I get it. Everyone’s arc is unique. I’d say your life changes a lot between 28 and 35, but that’s common to most people.

I thought about sitting down and writing a post called “The difference between 28 and 38,” but then I realized that would be trite, self-indulgent bullshit. So I didn’t write it. Instead, I’m going to do a mix of trite, self-indulgent bullshit along with some other nuance by presenting this list of 38 things about being 38:

  1. Most birthdays that are not zeros or fives don’t really resonate that much in the grand scheme of things. So, that said, whatever.
  2. I own a lot of 1990s logo NBA t-shirts.
  3. I still could be in better shape but, since I’ll be 40 24 months from today, no time like the present.
  4. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do on Twitter, semi-worthless platform it may be. Follow the #JustBeSocial hashtag periodically to see more of that.
  5. This blog makes me proud. I think I am different from other people that blog. I think my voice is unique. Am I blowing smoke up my ass right now? You bet your bottom dollar I am. But I think I get more attention from different industries than anyone probably realizes, especially those who dismiss me as someone who “just bitches about work,” so … I’m proud of what I do.
  6. I’m proud of what I do on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a fucking wasteland of value. I think I spit truth there. That matters to me.
  7. I think I could start a conversation with anyone in any bar anywhere in the world, although the base idea that I should even be in that bar is probably something to question more.
  8. Be thankful for the journey, even when the journey sucks.
  9. I think Facebook has some nice scale, but probably doesn’t exist in 25 years.
  10. Feel the same about the NFL, at least in current format.
  11. The “butterfly effect” of your life — how seemingly random shit becomes very consequential down the line — is very, very, very fucking real.
  12. I still don’t think HR is very strategic.
  13. I still don’t think a lot of guys running companies know what “strategy” is.
  14. One time in the past year I had been out with some friends and I had to pee and my elevator got jammed up and I was in there forever, and I knew my door was 40 feet from the elevator and it was late and who’s gonna see me, so yea I started pissing my pants a little bit as the door opened and I prepared to sprint to my door and yes, three people saw me and it comes up more than you would think.
  15. This is probably the first birthday (of a whopping two) since I got divorced where I won’t hear shit from the friends I had in my world with my ex. You don’t just divorce your ex, yo. You divorce a whole ecosystem of friends. I still struggle with that one sometimes, admittedly.
  16. I still think it’s funny people (a) don’t talk about sex and (b) assume women don’t like sex, when sex is literally what creates you. How weird is it that we don’t discuss the thing that creates you or our salaries? Like, what the fuck?
  17. Meetings are still the worst thing humanity ever invented.
  18. Applicant Tracking Systems are probably №2. So a smart person going to upload their resume and then fill out 22 screens of exactly the same data, eh? Hmmm. Seems like a good path to “A-Players.”
  19. Last Christmas I went out with some guys who live in my neighborhood (this was about a week before, not Xmas Night), partied/did shots with them (they were late-40s), and woke up the next day with $200 in my back pocket. I texted one of them, a big oil and gas guy, and he says “Spend it on something nice for someone!”
  20. I got blown up on Instagram direct message by my cousin twice in the last year, and I probably deserved most of it. I have many flaws.
  21. So does Instagram.
  22. One of my best friends died a little bit before my last birthday, and it made me think a lot about this whole bullshit notion of “a five-year plan.”
  23. When I listen to YouTube while working, it’s mostly Tim McGraw’s “She Never Lets It Go To Her Heart.” Read into that what you will.
  24. I still like fucking with people probably more than I should for almost 40.
  25. When I was getting D’ed up, my parents, and especially my mom, were the only people really and truly consistently there for me. It makes me appreciate what “family” really is and really should be, and it makes me appreciate my mom even more as an adult, which I think is valuable.
  26. Age ain’t nothing but a number.
  27. Most of business is just task work and buzzwords, but if you can show that you’re making money, it’s OK to have all that bullshit everywhere.
  28. You can explain a lot of the last four years of my life by simply reading Yelp reviews and Facebook posts for Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth, Texas.
  29. I’ve only lived in Texas four years and I feel like I’m already at Version 4.0 of myself: 1.0 is moved here/married/job; 2.0 is laid off from job/still married/trying to make it solo; 3.0 is divorced/failing solo/succeeding solo; 4.0 is in new relationship/succeeding solo/doing more with one company. That’s a lot of arcs for four years, honestly.
  30. I think about this shit often, but I don’t think I still talk to anyone that was at my 30th birthday. Weird, yea?
  31. You can control what other people think of you, sure, but if you spend a lot of time on that, it’s all kind of worthless. Be yourself. If they like it, cool. If they don’t, also cool. That’s life.
  32. I want to be a bigger soccer fan and keep missing that window.
  33. It’s sometimes weird to be in a new relationship (not new anymore) and think like, oh wow, I went through this, I didn’t think there was love on the other side of that, whatever that feeling at the end of that marriage was. It’s weird sometimes, sure, but I’ve learned so much from my girlfriend in even one year, it would be hard to put into words. And as you can see here, I know how to make longer lists…
  34. I was freelancing last year for a client who spent six months discussing an email strategy at his level in the company, never told anyone who had to execute on it, and then berated us all for missing a deadline we didn’t know we had. White-collar work, baby!
  35. I turned 35 in a cabin in western Massachusetts around a fire with, again, people I won’t hear from today. (And it makes perfect sense.) If you asked me to road map my life on that night for, let’s say five years — to 40? — I’d already be in a different hemisphere by now.
  36. I turned 36 right after Trump won. I still think liberals are misguided on how they try to approach him, and as of 2016, I was probably one of the most liberal motherfuckers you’d ever meet.
  37. Maybe someday I’ll write a book that 92 total people will read.
  38. Whenever life hits you in the face with something, just remember: you are good enough, strong enough, big enough, tough enough, beautiful enough, and capable enough to get up out the mud no matter what the fuck happens. Be yourself and steer up. The world will get it eventually. You’ll get there.
  39. (one to grow on) Smile at people and talk to them. You have no idea what others are going through.

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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