in Awareness

Back to Reality with some Bling on my Finger and Renewed Perspective

May 8th, 2010 was, by far, the best day of my entire life. For many reasons – most importantly and obviously because I made it official with my beautiful wife Lierin. But May 8th meant so much to me and us because of the love that was shared by everyone. 150 of our closest family and friends gathered together and in short, partied like it was 1999. We laughed, we cried, hugs were in abundance, and even though the day was gone in the blink of an eye, time seemed to stand still, there were so many “little moments” that will stay with me forever – that day put my entire life into perspective – everything I had done up until that point couldn’t hold a candle to that moment in time…

And then my wife and I packed our bags and enjoyed an amazing week of rest and relaxation, good food, plenty of drinks, and for the first time since graduating college, we didn’t think about ANYTHING except being with each other – no work, no blogs, no Twitter, no responsibility other than enjoying every moment with one another. I tried to tell myself I was glad to be home, but who am I kidding? I would’ve loved to run away and travel the world together.

But the bottom line is, here I am today, Monday morning, back to reality, but feeling great about where I am and what the future holds. They say moments like these define who you are and who you will become, so with that in mind, here are a few important things I’ve learned or re-learned to appreciate and put into action…

Make (much more) time for family

Looking out over the crowd at our wedding and seeing so many smiling faces was an incredible sight to see (whether it was because of us or the Jack Daniels remains to be determined). What it made me realize is just how important family is – through all the bullshit and drama, after your work-day is done, when you’re feeling alone and that no one cares about you, family is the one constant that will always be there for you. In short, make time for the people in your life who truly matter, it doesn’t take much effort to show that you really care.

On your wedding day, relax

I had heard horror stories about how insane the wedding day could be (or maybe we just watched too many episodes of Bridezillas). But our wedding day couldn’t have been any better. I woke up at 5am, finished my wedding vows, went to breakfast with my Mom, met up with my Best Man, ran a few errands, relaxed with my Groomsmen while we ate Fruit Rollups and played NBA Jam (true story), got ready, got married, and enjoyed every single moment along the way. There was no stress, no worries, everything was perfect. That’s not to say there wasn’t a heck of a lot of stress planning everything, but at some point you have to let all of that fade away. For me, it was Thursday before the wedding, sitting on the train drinking a PBR with my best man and good friend, gearing up for the Bachelor Party. From that point on, I just let everything happen and enjoyed every second of it. It happens SO fast, don’t waste your time with stress and worry.

Say “Yes” to fun

Sitting at my apartment yesterday with my wife and in-laws, we asked ourselves “what’s next”? For the past couple years, everything has been absolutely insane, moving, job hopping, getting engaged, starting a business, getting married – there’s always been something on the horizon, with very little time to sit back and enjoy. Now, finally, for the first time in a long time, at least for the foreseeable future, we are in a great place. Of course, there is still a lot of unknown, neither of us know where we’ll be in a year, or what we’ll be doing, heck, even where we’ll be living, but I finally feel like I can settle in and relax. I’m focused on work and some exciting things in the near future, but most importantly, focused on LIVING.

Part of this is saying “yes” to fun and good opportunities and taking a lot more time out of each day to enjoy myself and make more time for “me” and now…”we”. Work will no longer consume me as it has over the past couple years – I love the work I’m doing but finally I’m at a place where I can develop a rhythm and not feel overwhelmed and scatter-brained. This means more weekday golf outings, more happy hours with friends, more midday coffee dates, more weekend vacations with my wife, more cooking dinner together, and in short, more doing – less talking about doing.

Focus on the good, eliminate the bad

This one’s easy – focus on the people who matter most, on your friends who truly care about you, family who loves you unconditionally, and those who make your life better. All of the negative stuff? Throw it away. Get rid of it. Life is good…no, make that great, and it’s too damn short to worry about all the negativity out there.

Unplug, unplug, unplug

I’ve written about it in the past (as have many of you) – on the importance of “unplugging” and getting away from the Internet. Today’s society puts a lot of emphasis on being connected and engaged online – but what many of us who are caught up in the blogging, Social Media, “tech” world forget is, we make up a microcosm of society out there. The popularity contests online are pointless, you’re not going to miss much if you don’t go on Twitter for a few days, and your close friendships will (or at least should) extend far beyond the online world. There are still plenty of ‘old school’ ways to keep in touch with those who matter to you.

I’ll always be a huge advocate of Social Media and the Internet as an extremely valuable tool from a business perspective – and with my clients, I’ll continue to train and consult businesses and individuals in online marketing, but I also appreciate, now more than ever, that you HAVE to get away from this world – you HAVE to get out there and do a lot more living – you HAVE to stop running circles and talking about the same things over and over and go do something. Instead of writing a blog post, maybe I’ll take my dog for a walk, instead of working all weekend, Lierin and I will go boating in Lake Geneva with her family. When I die, I don’t care if people say I was a good ‘tweeter’, I care if people say I was a good husband, a great dad, a best friend and…ok, maybe a decent author.

You may see less of me on Twitter – blog posts here may be less frequent – but those of you who know me, and know me well, know how easy it is to get in touch with me – and I will of course make an effort to stay in touch with you.

Get married

I don’t know how else to say it – but getting married was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I highly recommend everyone go through this someday. I wish I could repeat May 8th over and over again – there are no words to describe how I felt waiting for Lierin to walk down the aisle and the first time I saw her in her wedding dress – the stories of dancing with our parents and grandparents to Lil’ Jon and doing the Stanky Leg will never get old, the love that was shared by everyone will never (ever) be forgotten.

Being a husband is the most important responsibility in my life – somethings different now – in a very very good way (as I’m sure those of you married out there reading can attest to). I imagine becoming a parent is pretty incredible as well, but we’ve got a little while before we get to that point. Until then, I’m going to enjoy every single moment of my new life as a husband and cannot wait to see where the future takes both of us.


Lastly, thank you so much to everyone for your support – your @ replies on Twitter, e-mails, text messages, and phone-calls. I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life – those I’ve known since I was little and those I’ve met right here through my blog. All of you (and you know who you are) mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without your love and support. Cheers!

Add Your Voice



  1. CONGRATS!!!! Glad you lived it up and are ready to conquer the future as a couple. Although I must say, I did see some tweets from you while you were supposed to be on a twitter vacation!

    Do your 2nd honeymoon in Paris. Chances are good I'll still be here :)

  2. Hey Matt,

    Congrats on getting married. Sounds like you've had an amazing few weeks and quite some time to reflect. I think you've come to some wise realizations at a young age. I think if I had been part of this social media popularity contest when I was younger, I would not have been able to look at the way you have. I would have been obsessive to the point of making myself ill. Taking time away to unplug is really important. It's amazing how much we feel like we might be missing because we're offline for a few hours, but I'm beginning to realize I can do all my work in about 2 hours a day.

  3. Yaaaay!! Huge congratulations to both of you! Will you be sharing more pics? :)

    Love everything you said, especially about unplugging and staying positive, too. The things you try and aim for in everyday life should definitely be included on your wedding day. I'm watching all these Bridezilla shows too and wondering – are we normal for NOT having drama?? Haha :)

    Congratulations again!!

  4. First of all, congratulations!! Sounds like the wedding and honeymoon were amazing, and I'm so happy for you! You deserve it :)

    We've been friends for a while now, and I've seen your approach to social media and work change over time. I'm really proud of you for the realizations that you've come to and the changes you've made. There is a happy medium between being a workaholic/social media addict, and slacking off/giving up Facebook and Twitter completely. You just have to dedicate the time and energy to find it, and I'm sure you will.

    The most important thing, in my opinion, is focusing on the good and eliminating the bad. Sounds like some of our conversations have resonated with you, and I'm so glad.

    As much as it sucks to be back to reality, I think it's a great idea to take this as an opportunity to reevaluate and get a fresh start. Good luck, and enjoy married life!

  5. Congrats, Matt! So thrilled for you, both with your marriage and your revelations. Your line, “in short, more doing – less talking about doing” – really resonates with me, as that's what I'm trying to embrace these last few months.

    You're dead on about unplugging, too. I make a point of trying to unplug for at least a 16-18 hour period each week (trying to go for 24 hours, but inevitably someone calls and says, “oh, all the details are on Facebook. See you there!”) and it makes a huge difference. Same is true with vacations – the best are the ones where you CAN'T be reached for extended periods of time.

    Welcome back!

  6. Congrats Matt! I'm really happy to read this and see where you're at in terms of balancing work/life and stepping back from this “microcosm”. Good luck with everything.

  7. I love this post, Matt. There's not much to say other than that, and a giant congratulations to you and Lierin. Welcome back to “reality” (what is reality, by the way?! lol) and hope to see you again soon!


  8. Great stuff. The coolest list in cooltown. As one who is married for 18 years this July I say good work and huge congratulations.

  9. Congrats again! My own wedding is fast approaching (May 29th) so it's wonderful to hear how great and stress-free yours turned out. I totally agree with all of your points and can't stress enough how important it is to just relax and have fun with each other. Very exciting!

  10. Matt, Congratulations on your wedding, your honeymoon, and your new perspective. This post warms my heart. I can tell through your words how incredibly happy you are and how ready you are to take on this next partnership in your life. Congratulations to you and Lierin!

    Welcome to the club! :)

  11. I'm so happy for you, Matt! I'm sure it's an incredible thing, being married. And, from an outside perspective, your state of pure calmness when wedding day rolled around is indicative that your marriage will be a good one.

    You're absolutely right about unplugging from the media. Yeah, it's good for business and networking, but when it comes down to it, face-to-face is truly the only way we can preserve relationships. That fact is what makes me worried about our future, where Star Wars holograms might take the place of real interaction. Ick.

    Anyway, it's great to hear that everything went perfectly. Continue living it up!

  12. Congratulations Matt and Lierin! I'm so glad to hear how much you enjoyed your wedding day and all of the wonderful lessons you have learned. Thanks for sharing them; I'm going to try to take them to heart.

    I can't wait to hear about your new adventures… even if it's only a few times a week!

  13. Congratulations to you and Lierin! May your life together be filled with much love and laughter, fun and adventure, and countless memorable moments. Cheers to savoring all that life has to offer!

  14. Hooray! I'm glad to hear another advocate of getting married. I hear a lot of people saying they don't want to or “it's only a piece of paper”, but it isn't. It is a great thing! Congrats!

  15. Thanks Lindsey! I had to go back and look and I only tweeted 4 times during the honeymoon – 2 of which were scheduled, so I stayed pretty true to the Social Media vacay (and I didn't respond to any emails).

    As for 2nd honeymoon – I would LOVE to come to Paris, if that offer to sleep on the couch is still here, the wife and I may be there before you know it (we've both been bitten hard by the travel bug).

    Hope you're doing great, we really have to catch up soon!

  16. Hey Srini. I think what I've put into perspective is that this “popularity” contest may hold meaning (I guess) within our “Social Media bubble” but outside of the few hundred or so of us who are running circles, it means absolutely nothing – there is a whole world out there that is existing and thriving just fine without being on Twitter or writing blogs. That's not to say I don't love writing and work within this 'world', but I'm done letting it trickle over into consuming my personal life as well. Luckily I have some great people in my life, role models and mentors I look up to, who are doing amazing things – the emphasis on doing, instead of talking about doing and having the need for self-validation 24/7.

    End rant – I think we're on the same page about a lot of this – looking forward to catching up with you soon my friend. Cheers!

  17. Hey Emily – we've got some other pictures floating around on Facebook (I think we're friends there, no?) but we haven't gotten our professional photos or videos yet (will be a while for the video but can't wait to see what they put together).

    I agree with you – I feel that we're almost abnormal but NOT being stressed on the wedding day, but it really was, through and through, the perfect day. We just let everything happen and enjoyed every minute of it.

    Thanks again for your congrats!

  18. Thanks Sam – I think everyone's “approach” to Social Media greatly evolves over time, sometimes we see great distance between people and sometimes things come full circle – it's pretty fascinating to see how everything works itself out. But, with that being said, I think many of us (myself included) convince ourselves that we NEED Social Media more than we actually do – whether that be for professional use, or as a replacement for actual face to face social interaction. Most important thing to realize is that we all got by just fine before Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace – and we'll all be OK once these mediums get replaced with the next best thing. The “tools” will come and go, real friendships and connections last forever and should extend far beyond the Internet.

    Thanks for always being a good friend.

  19. Doing instead of talking is something that's really hit home with me as of late. I see Social Media and, as great as it CAN be, it can also be a huge time suck and often we're simply running in circles talking about the same things over and over, brushing each other's egos, bragging about who we're hanging out with, or arguing over mute points. Conversation is healthy and helps you grow, but there comes a point where it all just becomes grouped together as “noise”.

    And unplugging is big as well – vastly underrated but something I have to force myself to do much more often. Shutting down Tweetdeck during most of the workday, getting away from the computer on weekends, etc. It's been difficult through all the transition I've been through as of late, but I'm finally developing some rhythm and can focus and streamline my time much more efficiently moving forward.

    Thanks for the comment as always Crysta. We need to meet up for coffee sometime soon!

  20. Rikin. It's so great to hear from you buddy – I hope all is well in NYC and with Edelmen. I am hoping to get up your way in October and when I do, we have to get together for that long talked about beer. Be in touch and thank you for the kind words my friend.

  21. I'm not sure what reality is anymore – I guess we just kind of make it up as we go – I can't complain about things right now at all. Hope all is well on your end and yes, I hope we can get together again sometime soon!

  22. Thanks Jonathan – it's a new balance, but I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing wife who supports everything I'm doing (and vice versa). We make a great team.

  23. Wow! It's right around the corner. Enjoy these last couple weeks and on your wedding day, just let it all happen and soak it up. I couldn't believe how fast everything went by – and now it seems like it was so long ago when it's barely been a week and a half. I'd gladly relive that day over and over again – if I had to have a “Groundhog Day” experience, it would be May 8, 2010. Congratulations to you – I'm sure the day will be amazing!

  24. Thank you Laura – it's great to be a member of this club. It's so funny because so many out there will tell you that marriage is a prison and that it means the death of the “me” life. Maybe so, but I'd much rather go through everything with someone to love unconditionally than go at it alone – seems like a pretty amazing way to go through life to me.

    Let's catch up soon (forreal)!

  25. Judging from what CNN is already doing, and being on the dawn of 3D televisions, I'd say we're not too far off from “Holographic Communication” – which is just plain terrifying to me. Before long we'll all be dressed in silver suits driving around in our hovercrafts…yikes.

    Thanks for the kind words my friend. Very much appreciated!

  26. Thanks so much Jenn – hope you're doing great and NEXT time your in this neck of the woods we are def. getting together (sorry I missed you a couple weeks back – but I had a good excuse, right?)

  27. I'll still be around, no worries there, just re-prioritizing what matters most, I guess sometimes it takes going off and getting hitched to put things into perspective :) Cheers!

  28. Yeah there are a lot of marriage naysayers out there, eh? It's not for everyone, of course, but for me, I couldn't imagine anything better. Thanks for stopping by Kyle!

  29. Congratulations! It totally makes sense where Rich and Nicole were headed instead of drinking it up with us for HR Evolution and for good reason. I've been married for 4 years as of Thursday and it has been a great ride. We are very blessed and so are you.

    Loving your blog and some day I know we'll meet in real life.


  30. Matt, you are indeed wise. During a recent talk in Indianapolis, HH Dalai Lama advised exactly what you are saying — to unplug and rest your mind. He was directing these statements particularly to the youth because it is becoming a cultural expectation to be constantly plugged in.

  31. Thanks Jessica! Rich and I had a great time Thursday night with the rest of my buddies for my bachelor party before HREvolution. Cheers to your first 4 years of marriage, I can already tell it's going to be an amazing journey.

    One of these days we WILL meet up – I've heard nothing but great things, can't wait to finally meet sometime soon!

  32. Unplugging and relaxing the mind seems like such a simple no-brainer but it's something we all neglect to do. It's more and more difficult with our increasing dependency on being “plugged in” but it's something I personally am going to force myself to do much more often. Cheers!

  33. Why do you mention nothing of “hiring the right officiant?” And why did you pick a picture where I'm not visible. I'm never performing another wedding of yours again. Ever.