No one is brought up in this World and taught that Life is difficult from a young age. Rather we all seem to come to that belief later in Life! I used to wonder why after about age thirty ,it seemed that for most people there was a problematic decline in their level of optimism. Therefore, I vowed at an early age never to lose my child like wonder or become a cranky elderly person. Rather, I wanted to hold onto my optimistic view, youthful vigor, and appreciation for the small things. I’m actually proud to report that I’ve managed thus far to uphold my youthful promise to myself. It certainly hasn’t been of a conscious effort. Rather, I owe it to my natural disposition, sub conscious mind, and of all things a near death experience. While I’m admittedly not thankful for the vast number of physical difficulties(painful ones too) I have come to realize that there has been an immense strengthening during those stretches of time. In a way time stopped for me on October 12th, 2012 when I unexpectedly suffered a massive stroke. After that point, my plans for ages 28 and 29, were taken on an extended detour. I struggled to bridge the gap and maintain things for awhile, but- as Dylan sings “The times they are a changin,” and that’s okay. Because there is good news rolled into the bad news of that reality. It meant, my suffering(and yours) would not last forever, just as the good times don’t last forever. Although my plight could’ve led to imminent disaster, quite the opposite occurred. I found those cliche’ sayings to ring true. It really is the darkest before the dawn! For me it was a slow dawning to the realization that, in what I once saw as a complete loss, was actually a complete gain! A gain of time rather than the loss of it. A gain of appreciation for beauty rather than the ignorance of the beauty Life holds. Most importantly, a leap in wisdom that usually only old age or tough trials can bring. I don’t claim to know it all, quite the opposite. -but- I do know that if you look closely at the trials in your own Life, you’ll find the strength to overcome rather than be overcome.