The word ‘samurai’ comes from the verb saburai, and the literal translation means ‘to serve’. The samurai served their lords or master. They served nobility.

I am masterless. Or to put it another way, I am my own master. I can choose to do whatever I want in this world. Contrary to belief by some that my wife is my master, she is not. I may choose to do things to her liking oftentimes, but that is my choice. You argue that my kids are my master, because I do things in their service, but they don’t tell me what to do. (Not yet anyway.)

Right now, I am what’s known in the samurai world as RONIN. Maybe you remember the mediocre DeNiro move of the same name. It’s a shame they made that film with that title, because they could have made a great movie using a modern day ronin as the central character.

Ronin, the literal literally translates to ‘wave man’ or ‘one who is tossed about like the waves of the sea.’ If a samurai lost his master or he fled his master’s lands, then he carried the title of ronin. He walked the country looking for work. Surviving. Fighting. He could them be hired as a mercenary to fight in wars or get work as a bodyguard. It was shameful to most samurai to be ronin.

But some embraced it. Miyamoto Musashi was ronin. And he may have been the greatest swordsman that ever lived. He wrote the Book of Five Rings. He wrote the Way of Walking Alone, or the Way of Self Reliance which I will post in its entirety tomorrow. He is the reason I started doing this in the first place. The Way of Walking Alone spoke to me. In the end, all we have is ourselves and the lives around us.

Some ronin went on to serve others in a protective capacity. That was a different time. There are no real superheroes today. I am not one, nor do I wish to be one. Real villains have guns. Unless I somehow gain the ability to block bullets with a sword, I’d probably be shot and killed if I tried to become one. That’s what police are for. They do not want or need my help with two swords strapped to my body. And I don’t want to give it.

I am going to make my life great by serving myself in every way. That is not to say I will become selfish, as being selfish in the end is not self serving. It works against you. Your relationships suffer, your sense of self worth sags, your sense of self respect drops through the floor. BUT I will be serving myself. Everything I do this next year will be to better myself, to be a better person…for myself.