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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

A Grateful Heart

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Andy Andrews admitted that people cannot simply snap their fingers and choose to be happy. “It’s a little more complicated than that,” he acknowledged. But then he zeroed in on the target: “I do believe that somebody can choose to be grateful, and that happiness is a product of gratefulness.”


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I have always had the greatest admiration for Abraham Lincoln. He is one of the all-time greats in my mind. I have read everything I could find about Abraham Lincoln... everything he wrote... clung to every word he spoke... until one day I read that, when asked about happiness, President Lincoln had said, “I reckon a man is about as happy as he sets himself out to be.”

This totally confounded me. How can you choose to be happy? Can you choose to be sad? Can you choose to be elated? Can you choose to be depressed?

I was always convinced that you cannot. You felt happy... or sad... or whatever. You can control what you do in response to how you feel, but you cannot control how you feel. I was convinced of it. You feel however you feel. Period.

This dilemma between the words of a man I placed on such a high pedestal and my strong belief plagued me for decades — not every day, mind you. I did have a life, of sorts. But it bugged me, in the back of my mind. I could not shake it.

The Seven Decisions

Recently I was listening to a motivational speaker on a PBS pledge drive special program. Oh, I had heard most all of them: Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale, Leo Buscaglia, Anthony Roberts, Zig Ziglar... their spiel was all pretty much the same: interesting, true, but not especially inspiring... not to me. There was nothing new in what they said.

But Andy Andrews put it differently. He went deeper. Andy’s presentation on PBS was called “The Seven Decisions.” They are the seven decisions that he believes shape your life. Number five is Choose Happiness: “Today I will choose to be happy.

That got my attention.

Andy did not spew out a bunch of feel-good, mumbo jumbo: “You are what you think you are”; “think happy thoughts”; “you’re as young as you feel.”

(No, wait... that last one from the Geritol commercial; skip that one.)

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"Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," 55 songs: 2 CDs and a DVD from their 2003 concert tour.
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The BBHQ Feature Album is "Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," by Simon & Garfunkel. If you were fortunate enough to see them in concert in 2003, I do not have to sell you. The concert was terrific! This album collection includes 55 songs, plus their new recording, "Citizen of the Planet," and one of the songs sung by the Everly Brothers during the concert. The DVD was recorded during their concert in Madison Square Garden in 2003. For any S&G fan, this is a must have! But then, you knew that already, didn't you?  Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)

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