Last evening I took a martial arts test and I was awarded a master’s belt in Tang Soo Do. When I started martial arts, back in the eighties, I never thought I would actually become a master. I have trained in martial arts about twenty years; two in the eighties in a Vietnamese style and eighteen years in Tang Soo Do at the Upper Marlboro Martial Arts Center.
That is one of several things that I never thought I would do in my life. Growing up I assumed I would be a husband and a father someday and I would have some kind of steady job. Computers didn’t exist when I was a kid so I could not even imagine that I would have a career doing software development for the Navy and that my work would take me all over the world.
I never thought that I would teach. I remember standing up in front of the class at Boyd Dodson Elementary School and trying to do a five-minute talk. It was a terrifying and a painful experience. Thanks to the confidence I received from martial arts training, and my training of Navy personnel on the operation of new systems, I learned to speak in public. This allowed me to work with our local community college reading my original stories and talking about writing. It also allowed me to be a martial arts instructor.
I never thought I would sail across the ocean. Cathy and I were able to take a trans-Atlantic cruise in 2012. It is called a repositioning cruise and it happens in April going east and October going west. The cruise lines move ships from Caribbean cruise routes to Mediterranean routes and they don’t want the ships to be empty. The cost is quite reasonable since they have to move the ships.
I never thought at age 63 that I would be in the best shape of my life. When I was a kid I thought people over sixty just sat around and were too old to do anything. It is true that sixty is the new forty. Many people are staying active in their retirement years. We have people at the gym that are still working out into their late seventies. Cathy and I go to the gym every weekday morning and Cathy is great at making great tasting healthy meals. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times that I don’t pack in the food, I still like a good foot long steak and cheese and a bucket full of fires now and then. Of course, martial arts has been a great help but Cathy is also been a great influence. She has always been one to exercise regularly and she keeps me going as well. Cathy’s dad jogged regularly almost to age seventy.
Are there things in your life that you never thought that you would do? If you are retired, like me, I’m sure you have done several things in your life that you never thought you would do. For those of you who can list going in harm’s way for your country, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.