It's taken many decades and many life upheavals to figure it all out. That puts us in the position of sitting pretty in the cat bird's seat, compared to people that have never learned it at all.I'm still seeking the highest perch in the tree to sing and display my wit and capacity for dexterity.

Always try to be nice! No matter how many birthdays we have, the weighted lesson remains the same. Life is so short, there's never enough time for the people we love. It gets difficult to allot time to people we don't.

Being nice does not equal suffering by fools. I choose not to waste time with them.

Hardship can render us bitter, selfish, and miserable. It can also be used as an artery of interconnection, a bridge to others in pain, just as the blood in our muscles keeps ourselves alive and moving.

We are living longer than ever before. If you are 50 today, you can figure to live to 80+. If you are 65 you'll probably make it to 85+.

If you look back at our ancestors, we're doing better than humans at any point in history.

By the time we pass the half century mark, we have all withstood our share of slights, indignities and outright suffering. Maybe it's lucky because we have seen enough, felt enough, been self aware enough to learn from our experience.

What we have learned is that all of us are inherently flawed and very vulnerable.

We are the generation of Jack Benny and Bob Hope. We have jumped and jived, danced the jitterbug. We have zoot suited, played real war games and voted for FDR and HST. Not to forget "Tricky Dickie."

Today we flip through TV channels to see the latest teen idols and it's hard to get excited. Call us a bunch of curmudgeons (love that word), but we are skipping "American Idol" and watching "Singing In The Rain" or "Hogan's Heroes" reruns.

That's the great advantage of sitting pretty in the cat bird's perch.

It's a wonderful life, without it I'd be lifeless. If I try being fundamentally and flagrantly farsighted, it might keep me from making dumb frustrating mistakes.

Sometimes I tend to feel that my abnormal impaired condition is something to fear, when in reality it's nothing more than a definite lapse in my thinking, a failure to stay focused on my goals.

"We live in the worst possible world, and all things will end in evil."

That kind of negativism makes the worst of the best. It's a deplorable offense to life.

There is just no way we can ever calculate the stress of our lives. The stress we place on ourselves is a negativism emphasizing something we deem important. The end result being a needless tension and strain.

"Expect the worst." Just call it the "What-if" syndrome. "If" things don't work out, you'll "get your just desserts." Poor you!

The thought of misfortune is doubt and adverse thinking. It may enter our minds on the heels of unforeseen disaster, and gain a strangle hold on us through the years.

A lack of trust can slowly take away our will and strength, like a lingering sickness. This could be our penalty, our "just desserts" displaying little acceptance.

Try being honest with yourself. A cynical person never believes that "Honesty is the best policy" until he tries all others.

The disease is everywhere, a sudden change in our daily life, a shaking up of our "comfortable rut", the seeds of strain are sown. It becomes a tendency to stress the unfavorable gloomy view.

Don't be down on the things you are not up on. You'll only get ulcers trying to climb the mountain over your imagined molehill.

In any event, no matter how we have contracted this disorder, if it is checked in time, it can have beneficial effects. If you rise above it, if everything went your way every time you tried, you would be bored to pieces.

If you really want to succeed, remember there is no easy street out there. Jump at every opportunity that comes along. A realist learns to keep jumping.

No, the world isn't coming to an end, and we aren't going to fall off our cat bird seat.

Our faith will be our adhesive making it impossible to shake us off our perch.

Email Charlie at lst281@aol.com.

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