Debt is often associated with money. But did you know that there was a kind of debt that money cannot pay off?

I’m not talking about debt as in owing someone something after they do you a favor, though that is a debt that does not require money to be paid off. What I’m talking about is a debt that is owed by you, to the world, the second you are born.

It’s weird, I know. Before a few days ago, I had never thought about it before. But then I found myself in an audience, listening to a speaker. The topic of the speech was the empowerment of girls, and there was one particular thing that the speaker said that stuck in my head.

“I don’t owe it to the world to be pretty.”

This made me think, because firstly, growing up in a time when media and digitally altered images are everywhere, it really is nice to have confirmation (from an adult, nonetheless), that it is okay not to be perfect.

The other reason this statement caught my attention was because it got me thinking. There are a lot of things I don’t owe the world. With that being said, though, the question arises: what do I owe the world?!

And, furthermore, what does the world owe me?

This is where the idea of destiny comes in. Destiny, by definition, is a predetermined, inevitable event or set of events (courtesy of, though some people – myself included – believe that your destiny is achievable, but only if you work hard towards fulfilling it.

 I suppose I owe it to the world to try to achieve my destiny, and doing something with my life. And I suppose the world owes me the necessary resources and opportunities to be able to achieve this.

However, this isn’t a dystopian novel; there is no guarantee that we all have a destiny, and unless we think critically about ourselves and our lives, it is difficult – in fact, nearly impossible – to guess what one’s destiny is.

If all of this guessing was squandered, students would have no trouble advancing from secondary school to postsecondary school, and picking the perfect career would be a breeze. So, doesn’t the world, at the very least, owe us the right to be aware of our destiny?

If this was the case, and we were all born magically knowing what our purpose in life was, we would be in debt to the world. We would spend our lives trying to repay this debt, and achieve our destiny and in some way, shape, or form, make the world a better place.

But, just like repaying a debt with monetary value, it would be difficult to live knowing you are constantly walking up a mountain, the jagged, snowy peak of which is the point where your destiny is fulfilled.

By being aware of what you have to do, and the debt you must repay, you almost live like you are creating a tower of cards; always consciously aware that one wrong move and what you have worked so hard to preserve will come crumbling down.

Life isn’t a simile, though, and it’s not a metaphor, either. It is a simple thing that we make complex by thinking that we owe the world all these things that we really don’t.

Once you realize that you don’t owe it to the world to look like the celebrities on magazine covers, and once you grasp the concept of understanding that you don’t owe the world to be perfect (however you would define it), you begin to realize your true self-worth.

There are over 7 billion people in this world. That’s over 7 billion destinies; and over 7 billion debts. And all of that is great, and interesting, but: the only person you owe something to is yourself.

You deserve to know that you don’t owe the world the things you worry about, because you really don’t owe the world anything except trying to be the best that you can be.

The easiest way to do this is to keep in mind that you can put effort towards making yourself a better person, and in turn, make the world a better place. If if you can achieve this, you will not only repay the debt you owe yourself, but also the debt you owe the world.