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Thoughts on turning 32

Matt Boutte in Happy

I'm sitting in a bungalow-style hostel on a beach in Cat Ba, Vietnam situated on the other side of the international date line from California as I write this. It's my birthday here now, but not yet back in California. This means I get two birthdays this year, which is pretty convenient because there is a lot to celebrate. It turns out there's a lot to celbrate when every day is the best day of your life.

I've been getting a lot of feedback when I tell people that every day is the best day of my life. Some people automatically identify with it and know exactly what I mean. One person in particular claimed they had been using the phrase for decades and was mad I was able to snag this domain!

But I get a lot of responses that involve confusion or scorn. When I told my mother that every day is the best day of my life, her exact exact words were, "well that can't last long." And she's right – how could every day possibly be the best day of my life?

The easiest way I've found to explain it is to compare it to a best friend. A lot of people don't actually mean one person who is their best friend; they mean a particular class or group of friends. I mean the same thing about my days. I'm not literally ranking them or saying that today is better than yesterday was; I'm saying that all of my days are in a particular top-tier class of days.

I've also been accused of being manic for saying that every day is the best day of my life. I'm not. There are certainly frustrating days, boring days, and blah days. For example: it took over 30 hours to get to Japan from California at the beginning of my trip due to travel issues and another 30 hours for my luggage to arrive. That was certainly less-than-fun. But it was still the best day of my life.

Another example: when I was taking a bus to the ferry terminal to get to this island, I accidentally stayed on the bus past my stop. The bus driver started yelling at me in Vietnamese and kicked me off on the side of the highway (and without cellular data). I had to hike to the nearest town to find wifi and then hitchhike to the ferry terminal. By this point I had missed the last ferry. Not fun. Fortunately, I met two English chaps and a German fräulein who had also missed the last ferry.

All that is to say that the key to every day being the best day of my life is not my day; the key is me. It's not the good or bad things out of my control that happen to me; it's my attitude and response to them.

In high school my swim coach gave us a quote that I have been chewing on a lot over the last year.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes.

I'm naturally inclined to worry and to let inconveniences eat away at me. I'm also naturally a planner, so when things don't go according to plan I can let it get to me. But when our travel plans were going awry, I decided that my mantra for the trip would be

We're going to have a positive attitude all day, every day, no matter what.

And it has worked. That's the key to making every day the best day of my life.

I don't really have a plan for this blog. I know I don't want it to be talking about my day-to-day life. That would get really boring really fast. I want it to be bigger. I want to explore what it means to have every day be the best day of one's life. I want to talk about what it means to truly be happy. I want to talk about even bigger issues like self-actualization and human flourishing. I want to explore ways that society can be reformed to cultivate human flourishing and true happiness.

I'm Matt. I have a lot to say. I intend to stay it here. I'm grateful that you're reading my blog and would love to hear from you or connect with you via one of the channels below.

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Matt, what is happening to your life?