Debits and Credits and the Great Ledger of Life

We all know that life doesn’t always go according to plan. In spite of how hard we try and how much we plan we mere humans don’t have total control over our own destiny. Sometimes things go horribly wrong and it seems that nothing will ever be right again and you’re left with a feeling of deep despair. At other times things work out and you feel a fabulous sense of joy and happiness and all is right with the world.

They say that humans can experience over one hundred and thirty different emotions. These can be classified into six basic emotions – happiness, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise. Sometimes I feel like I’ve experienced all of them in one day. Life can often be life that.

Emotions help us deal with what life throws at us and is one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Just as importantly, each emotion comes with a set of physical characteristics – we scowl and shout when we’re angry, smile when we’re happy.

Being able to capture the emotion of a character, what they are experiencing and how they react, so that the reader feels their hurt or pain or happiness is, to me, the hallmark of a great writer. Something I aspire to but struggle with all the time. Being able to draw on my own experience helps make it real but I have so much to learn about how to write convincingly. Feeling depressed and despair are just two of the emotions I feel when I read my own work, interspersed with the occasional sense of elation and pride when I think I’ve got it right.

Which brings me back to the great ledger of life.

Dealing with the highs and lows is something we all have to learn to do in life. And the older I get the more I think about the cycle of life. I think about it in terms of debits and credits. So long as there are more credits in the ledger: happy times, success, achievements, and less debits: disasters, problems, issues, then I think I’m doing OK.

It takes a lot of work to make sure that, over time and on balance, life is more in credit than debit. It’s not always easy and especially at those times when all seems lost.

But remember we only get one shot a life – so smile and never, ever give up!

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