"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back, so [punch] him out."


This post comes extremely delayed--I blame it on the J-term accounting course I was taking at the Harvard Extension School in the attempt to learn something new, inherently practical and more or less quantitative--or something would at least sound that way to the next person who reviews my resume and hates on Comparative Literature. Even though the course took up enough of my time that I got behind on posts, I would not exchange my accounting class stories for anything. Just imagine a 72-year-old, kippah-clad and sandals-with-socks-wearing professor who also happened to have graduated from Princeton in 1962 making you stand up for the first five minutes of class to do tai-chi with him, spending half the class talking about motley life experiences, and spending the the remaining time in class half-sarcastically berating you for not understanding how to do such "simple" things as amortizing a bond, writing a statement of cash flows, etc. Priceless, I tell you. But I'm glad to be back and writing.

When TFC and I wrote our first drafts of our New Year's Resolutions, the lists were comprised of decently concrete, self-bettering goals for the year. But after reviewing our lists, TFC insisted: "We gotta have something fun in here. Like purely fun."

Becoming skilled with web design and reading news headlines and business headlines more than four days a week would certainly keep my brain at work, as would trying to maintain my ever-crustier Chinese. Taking a trip outside of the U.S. would be fun, but the price tag of the flight and the credit card bills to come home to would certainly prevent it from being "purely fun." And even if HBS were to cover, say, a trip to China, it would mean it was a working trip. Stimulating, one would hope. But not "purely fun."

Challenged on the spot to come up with a resolution that would fit the bill, I blurted out what would be my twelfth resolution: "learn to box." At the time, I hadn't put terribly much thought into it. But just as in the other (too frequent) cases in which I speak before I think, I had to own what I said--no matter how ridiculous--and live with the consequences. Which meant I was going to, at some point during 2013, learn how to box. Or at least try to. I've been told that I look intimidating. Why not develop the jab and uppercut to substantiate the persona?

So on January 1, motivated by the fresh start, I made a few inquiries for free trial classes at two different Boston boxing gyms and bought a Groupon for classes at a boxing/MMA fight sports club in Cambridge (insert joke about 'Fight Club' here). By January 2nd, I had attended my first class. On January 3rd, I headed to my first accounting class and spent at least two thirds of it dreading getting up from my seat and being overpowered by the soreness that was so well distributed over my body. On January 4th, I hauled my ass back into the ring to get it kicked. Nevertheless, I've been boxing at least four times a week since in this place in Allston, and I haven't felt this physically challenged since I did weeks-long intensive tennis programs every summer in high school. For now, it's been mostly conditioning exercises, punching a heavy bag, and working on punch form, but I look forward to actually sparring in the coming months and hitting something that hits back (and hopefully without losing any teeth or spilling too much blood in the sparring process).

I have the unfortunate body-type fate of whenever I work out a lot, I end up bulking up rather than trimming down. But whenever I think about that and get down on myself a little, I try to think other things instead, like, "you couldn't do a single pushup last month, but now you can do at least 15 in one set," or "stop concerning yourself with a scale number, it's almost certainly muscle weight," or "no kidding you're not going to fit in that pair of jeans from college. You barely went to the gym in college, and when you did, you never did anything beyond bicep curls for strength training. " (If you're reading this and think I'm deluding myself, do let me know).

Despite being asked "why are you angry?" on three different occasions in the past month by three different drunk men (as if a girl could never get pissed off at a guy for holding his fourth Miller Lite in one hand and much unappreciated-ly touching the small of your back with the other), I'm not an angry person. But I do have a lot of frustration that tends to manifests itself in anger. And I find it hard to imagine something better for me than punching some of that frustration away, day by day. Despite the awesomeness of finishing my thesis, graduating, and finding my first real job (if my position can be considered real) in 2012, it remains a year with a lot of ghosts for me. But I've had enough of beating myself up about the things that happened last year.

In fact, you might say it's time I beat something else up.