30 years old today

Today's my 30th birthday. Funny, I don't feel any older :) Aging has never been a source of concern for me. My religious beliefs insulate me from fear of death, and my physical state is still robust enough to insulate me from fear of weakness. SO I don't see the magic number of "30" as any real milepost other than a nice homage to base-10 mathematics.

It's worth looking back at where I was at age twenty, though. 10 years ago, I was in my third year of college. I was already acting in a mentorship role for the newer freshmen on our residence hall floor, Detling House (Sellery Hall A, University of Wisconsin - Madison). I had solidified my strong friendships with my peers, who remain some of the most important people in my life. I had lost touch with most of my high school friends (which wasn't that large a number) and had also lost touch with my childhood friends, save one (JJ).[1] It's interesting that my memories of my family from 10 years ago are largely the same as they are now - my family has always been a bedrock of stability in my life. At age 20, I was still 2 years away from meeting my future wife. I was studying physics and desperately trying to finish my Honors research project, which to look at today is so laughably poor in the scientific method that I wince. I was not very religious, though I had developed a determination that I wanted to be, and had only started to really understand my identity as a Bohra as well as an American, providing a seed for the synthesis I've achieved today.

My 20's were my first full decade as a rational actor. As I enter my 30s, I am a rich man- I have a wife, a daughter almost 2 years old. I have traveled the world more extensively than I had ever imagined - especially life-changing trips to Hutaib and Surat. I have earned an MS degree and will complete my PhD. I have begun new friendships, rich with potential, with people I have never met in person. I have played an active role in a Presidential campaign. I have helped found entire communities online, in religious, social, and political spheres. I am finally able to truly understand the sacrifices my parents have made on my behalf, a wealth that requires humility to perceive. And I have attained a level within my own faith which I could not have even conceived, let alone predict, a decade ago.

But there's a lot I have to do in the next decade. And when I'm 40, I hold myself at age 30 accountable for those goals. Rather than waste time trying to enumerate them here, I'll just get started, and leave judgement of my progress to my future self, who will be a wiser man than I.

UPDATE: while age 30 carries no specific angst for me, it does mathematically mean I'm past my prime. Until next year.

[1]Just in the past year I've regained contact with two of those childhood friends (GL and DK), though my best friend from high school (KR) remains lost in the shroud of distant acquaintance.

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