When I entered the corporate world in the US after my stint in the Indian Civil Services, I heard this weird notion called ‘paying your dues.’
Apparently, the grunt work and suffering at the beginning of your career earn you the ‘right to live well’ when you are finally old and affluent enough.
I then thought that the idea was nonsense. Today, I do so even more.
First of all, we are not born with any dues outstanding. We are all free men and women. To our parents, family, and society, we owe gratitude. But we don’t owe suffering to anyone.
Of course, if you have a big dream, it will likely require a big sacrifice. But that is your free choice — you don’t owe anyone anything.
Furthermore, even if you believe that you have to pay your dues, how much? For how long? In fact, nobody just stops one day and says, ‘Let me start living now.’
The rat race often only stops when heart disease, blood pressure, or diabetes force us to. And then we regret.
If paying your dues was about working hard for things you care about, I want to do that till the last day of my life. But if it means not living your life today so you can live it tomorrow, how do you know there will be a tomorrow?
The time to care for your health is now.
Now is the time to run and go to the gym, spend time with your family, meditate daily, and sleep well.
There are no dues outstanding. You are already free.