in life

Twenty-Six. Now what?

Today is my birthday. Today is a reminder that I’m twenty-six years old. Today is a reminder that I’m only twenty-six years old.

Since walking across the stage with my cap and gown, I’ve lived in five different homes, moved to a new city (and back), started two companies, gotten married, and bought a house. I’ve traveled to new places, worked with clients around the world, shed 40 pounds, and learned more about business ownership, personal relationships, and life than I ever could have imagined.

The experiences I’ve been through so far make me feel old. They make me feel like an adult. Getting wasted on cheap whiskey and playing Playstation 2 in my dorm room seems like an eternity ago. My first date with my wife (40 Year Old Virgin and Chilis – I know, stay classy) seems like it was in another lifetime. I heard the Thong Song last week on the radio and reminisced about a trip to Washington, in 8th grade, over a decade ago. 

My quarter-life crisis has come and gone, and today I find myself asking, “Now what?”

It’s a question I ask myself all the time. It drives me. It motivates me. But it also makes me crazy. So much so that I forget to give myself credit for what I have accomplished, in the midst of always thinking about what I haven’t.

And while complacency never got anyone anywhere, constantly wondering and worrying what tomorrow will bring means you’re never present today. Your planning, forecasting, and stressing about “the next step” diverts your attention to the most important task you’ll ever have, making the most of today. This day. This hour. This minute.

Instead of constantly asking “Now what?” start asking “What now?” What can I do right now to make a difference, to get ahead, to feel better, to relax, to take action?

Keep your eye on the horizon, but don’t focus on the big picture if it means neglecting what’s happening right in front of you.

I’m only twenty-six. I’m young. I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m succeeding and sometimes I’m failing. And this year, instead of wondering where I’ll be next year, I’m going to focus on making the most of what’s in front of me. Today. Here’s to hoping you will, too.

(Photo credit)

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  1. Happy Birthday Matt!

    It’s been a long time but I do remember first coming across you online about 3 years ago, striking up some great conversations, and seeing someone take bold inspiring steps in such a short time.

    I now find myself with a new job, a new apartment with a fiance,  and a new company started as well. 

    Keep on inspiring, keep on trucking  mate! 


    • Thanks, Rikin. You were one of the inaugural “members” of this journey, and that’ll always mean a lot. It’s crazy to see how much we’ve changed and grown in such a short period of time. Congrats to you for your continued personal AND professional success – here’s to even more great things ahead for us.

  2. Matt,

    Happy birthday. It’s been a while since i’ve been here. First let me say the design looks amazing. For somebody who is 26 you are wise beyond your years. At 33 I’ve not done many of those things.  But I’ll leave you with a thought from a post I’m working on this morning. There is no timeline for success and significance. Happy b-day. 

    • Thanks Srini. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, too. I seriously fell off the writing bandwagon, but that’s the funny thing about life and it’s shift in priorities. That being said, I’m getting “back to basics” and will be focusing much more on not only the growth of my business, but the growth of my personal brand, as well (as much as I hate the term “personal branding”). 

      It’s been amazing to see all you’ve done with yourself, BlogCastFM, and Skool of Life. Big things poppin. Little shit stoppin. Nuff’ said.

  3. Wise way beyond your years.  I am 17 years your senior and if I knew at 26 what you seem to have a grasp on I can only imagine where I would be at 43.  Your values, ideas and focus are spot on and applicable to all.  Happy Birthday Matt!  Keep posting!

    • Thanks, Julia. Getting thrown into the “life” fire, so to speak, has forced me to mature a lot faster than I ever would have anticipated. But for as old as I feel sometimes, I have to remind myself that I’m still very young with (lord willing) a world of opportunity ahead. Thanks for being a part of this continued journey, Julia!

  4. Happy birthday, Matt. I’m happy to ‘read’ your gift to us and that the life sans pants is back. Yes, you’ve had a hell of a few years, but even though the ‘crisis’ is over, life is rocking.

    Excited to read where you go from here :)

  5. Happy birthday, Matt!! I hope you enjoy your day and have a great year. I hope I can accomplish as much as you did by the time I turn 26 (a year and a half from now)!

    I’m beginning to ask that “now what” and “what now” myself, and this post will definitely help me figure that out. Thanks for the inspiration!


    PS: the blog redesign looks awesome, great job!

    • Thanks, Christa. A little, okay, a lot of hard work goes a long way. When it comes to the “secret to success” there is no secret, it’s all about working hard, trying, and constantly learning. I certainly haven’t “arrived” but I’m thrilled about everything I’ve accomplished so far.

      Thanks so much for the kind words and for your friendship!

  6. Happy Birthday, Matt. This is a fantastic post and a great reminder to focus on the things right in front of you right now. I can’t wait to see/hear about all the great things you do in your 26th year. 

  7. Pantless wisdom? That’s awesome. Happy birthday, Matt!! Hope you had a wonderful birthday and I’m so grateful for the internet – it lets me meet new people, read all of your inspiring posts and be a part of all of our interconnected communities. Hope you’re enjoying SF – and maybe see you there when I get back!! 

    • Thanks, Sarah! I, too, am grateful for the web and the connections it’s facilitated. I’m not in SF (yet) but will be there the evening of the 10th (next Thursday). Will you be around? If so, would love to get together!

  8. Happy birthday Matt!! I really appreciated & related to this post. I’m ONLY 24 and yet run an incessant line of chatter about ‘what else, what next?’, despite everything that I already have & have achieved, and in spite of the many incredible people in my life. 

    After doing the Landmark Forum to get to the bottom of much of it, I’ve created the possibility of reconciling my sense of ambition with also being at peace with my life as it is in the present. Moving forward without missing the ride.

    Good luck in your next chapter. I’m sure you’ll do amazing things and enjoy it all!