I recently turned 30.

I usually think of birthdays just like any other day of the year. Like all things in life, birthdays are only more valuable than the other days of the year because of the meaning we choose to ascribe to them. We could just as easily imagine a world where we celebrate every day, never celebrate, or celebrate every X days rather than every 365.

But unlike other birthdays, hitting 30 was different for me. I think the reason has to do with the significance which I ascribe to the age. There’s only a day of difference between the last day when you’re 29 and the first day when you’re 30. However, when you’re 29, you’re still experiencing the same decade of your life as when you were 20. And when I was 20, I was in college doing irresponsible things. And since 29 is part of the same decade, psychologically I felt like I still had a license to do irresponsible things. I know it’s irrational, but that’s how I felt.

Now that I’m 30, I feel as though that license to be irresponsible is no longer there. I can no longer do what I was doing when I was 20. Unlike the first day of my twenties, in the first day of my thirties I’m married with a responsibility towards my wife, and have a job with a responsibility towards our entrepreneurs. I also foresee a future where, still in my thirties, I have responsibilities which extend to a larger family and society.

Fortunately, I’m glad to have these responsibilities. When you lose one license, it’s only to gain another one. I may no longer have the license to be irresponsible, but I now have the license to be conscientious and live a life that’s meaningful to those around me. And that’s a license I prefer.

Also published on Medium.