Wow! Thanks for the info everyone.
Update complete! I went ahead and did both level 4 and 5 which included the kernel update. I can't say anything seems any different. But then again, I wasn't having any problems before. I guess I learned a lesson here: If it ain't broke no need to fix it, and if it is broke ( even just slightly) it's worth a try. However, I feel good about what I did: Ain't broke, but who cares. Try it anyway. Now I want to learn how to do it safely.
I'm interested in what Viking777 said,
I keep up to date Clonezilla disk images on an external hard drive, then it doesn't matter what I do to the installation, I can be back where I started with everything working again inside 10 minutes, so I don't even have to think about it
I'm Minted on my netbook, and I'm thinking about going strictly Mint (or at least Linux). Keeping "backup images" would help me feel more secure, but I really don't understand how this works.
My concept of "backing up" is just having copies of my files somewhere. And if my system goes to hell (usually because of my playing around with stuff I don't understand) I just do a fresh install, tweak aesthetics to my liking, synaptic the apps I like, and copy my files I saved. Not a huge ordeal, but by no means "10 MINUTES"
viking777's thing sounds like you can just save your whole system and go back to it at any time. That's exactly what I want!
Please enlighten me!