Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, October 16, 2023

2023 Birthday Post

Today is my birthday. Won't you help me celebrate?




I've had my share of changes in the past year, but the biggest one is that I'm now retired.

This is what happened. Full retirement age for my cohort is age 66 and 6 months, which would have taken me to April of next year. Since I would have had to work the first quarter anyway, and the commission payout for the first quarter occurs in May, I was planning on retiring at the end of May next year.

But the best laid plans of mice and men are proverbial the same and my well laid plans to sign up for this and enroll in that were crushed down to a single point as if they had met a black hole in outer space by the machinations of my latest employer. After an abysmal 2nd quarter, I was among those who were laid off.

Overall, it's not a bad thing. There has just been a lot of short term chaos to manage.

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.”

The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.”

The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”



My wife and I had purchased a motor home earlier this year, anticipating another year's income and commissions. With the abrupt change, the RV had become a source of anxiety to my better half and so we have it up for sale.

I'm not about to get upset about losing it after only have had it out a couple of times. It's just a thing, and there is no use fighting about a thing. Besides, if she's not comfortable, how am I going to be?



Most of the aforementioned chaos stems from having to rapidly getting my Social Security, Medicare and unemployment (since I was laid off) all lined up. It's getting there. 

I always have something to do. I'm still married and have so far not discovered that I've been smothered in my sleep with my own pillow.

My retirement plan had been to mow the lawn every morning at precisely 7 AM, then sit on a lawn chair in my driveway to make sure no one steps on it. I haven't been able to realize that just yet.

I have been working out more, lost about ten pounds (so far) and have increased the pace of my reading (from a baseline of about 50 books a year). 

In addition to the taijiquan practice I have been almost religious about, I am slowing adding in other practices I have learned from yiquan, xingyiquan and baguazhang to my morning.

One thing I am immediately thankful for is not having to toe the line every morning at work. 

Something else that I've been doing is helping out a friend with a medium sized businesss by working at trade shows with him. My expenses are covered, I get a nice check for my time and talk to strangers about technology. I have a blast. The only downside is being on my feet all day in dress shoes on concrete.

The long and short of it is that we should just roll with the changes.


Richard Bejtlich said...

Rick, I want to wish you well on your retirement. I also admire your attitude. All my best.


Martial History Team

Rick Matz said...

Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday and retirement.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!