Today is my father’s and my last day in Amsterdam. We’re leaving the city late this morning and flying back to the US. This has been our most enjoyable “just the guys” trip — but they all are. Each year has been better than the last. That said, there were more signals and signs that they won’t go on forever, on this trip than on previous trips. And I face that bittersweet “future memory” with both honor that I get this time with him, and concern when they are gone. It’s not just death that will end these trips, of course; there’s also disability, and fragility — you can be still fit in body and mind, I think, but frail and easily tired or broken. And crowds and museums and movement and travel can leave one exhausted. It’s the natural order of things that we will run down sooner or later, and these days we humans tend to reach the point of fragility long before we reach the point of death.
In between perfect health and fragility we play this little game called “active life” and one of the goals of active life should be to extend the period of active life as long as possible, so that more types of subroutines and improvisations can be carried out. Tai chi is one of those active routines and improvisations. Maybe it has a martial purpose, but at the moment its chief aim is to prevent frailty and to increase longevity. May it prove so for me.
At the moment, I am early on in this work. I’m not even at what I think the peak point of possible flexibility and strength could be, yet. So I know I have more work to do. But today was very promising, really. Even though I’m far from home today, I feel like I’ve made gains these past few days. My skill with the spins, and with the windmill kick, seems to have improved. My morning breathwork was probably the best since we left America for the Netherlands. My speed was also great. The intensity of the tension introduced into the form could have been better. There is always room for improvement. But overall I have made good progress.