I was far too effective at blotting the light out of my room this morning, and I wound up sleeping in until the phone rang. It was my father calling from the breakfast room to ask where I was, and why wasn’t I there having croissants and cheese, the traditional Dutch breakfast, with him? I actually don’t know if that’s the traditional Dutch breakfast. But it’s what’s offered.
So I didn’t do tai chi until I came back to my room after breakfast, and then I didn’t finish my cycle completely before it was off to the Bloemmarkt to walk past the flower stalls, and then to the Skipvleet Museum, the Dutch maritime museum. They have a fabulous collection of maritime paintings, a genre invented in Holland — and a reconstructed Dutch East India merchantman vessel.
We were going to go have lunch with some design colleagues I met here in Amsterdam, ad I would have liked that a lot. But my dad’s health and energy lagged quite a bit after the morning, and we had to return to the hotel so he could rest. I wound up doing the second half of my tai chi routine then.
But then, it seemed no sooner was I done with that than dad Felt ready and able to do something about lunch, so I didn’t get to write about my tai chi. And no sooner was lunch over than dad was ready to lie down again — between hip and shoulder he was in a bad way today.
And in the face of his challenges, I must finally admit that I started practicing tai chi in a daily effort because three years ago I saw him stiffening up as I saw him get older. I saw his hips and his knees and his shoulders challenged, and I thought, how much of this can be prevented? In essence, I’m making my daily practice into a long-term experiment in how to avoid some of the long term health problems of my family genetics: bad backs, weakening knees, blown-out shoulders, and painful hips. We’ll see if I succeed. But today was a useful reminder of what I’m about, and what my standard for success or failure is.
Now I just have to wait thirty-odd years to know the results.