“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” I love quotes. Some people simply appreciate them, but I make a conscious effort to embrace them and try to live my life in a fashion often inspired by them. The quote above, which is derived from an interpretation of Aristotle by contemporary philosopher Will Durant, is one of my favorites, as it is directly related to one of the most significant aspects of my life.
My passion for physical activity began in my childhood, as I was an active participant in tennis, volleyball, and tetherball. I did not realize it at the time, but retrospectively, I see that these sports had one common denominator: they are hands-on activities. They all incorporate the lower body, sure. But the defining characteristics of these sports are upper body strength and hands-on exertion.
It was no wonder, then, that when I took my first boxing class in 1999, I was hooked. It was a remarkable experience to find a sport so similar to those of my youth in terms of physicality, where I got to use my upper body strength to succeed. This time, however, the activity itself was more empowering. As I triumphantly wiped the sweat from my face after my very first boxing session, I knew I had found my next passion in the world of athletics.
With the unique empowerment of that first boxing class still freshly imprinted on my mind, body, and soul, I promptly joined a local boxing gym immediately after it opened in my area. With every jab and cross, I built upon my foundation of skills that had been developed during my childhood. It was intoxicating.
I was further elated when I got the chance to become the owner of this same gym. This gave me the opportunity to blend two major versions of myself: businesswoman and athlete. The boxing gym had long been my happy place, and now I owned that happy place. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
My mission was and is to give others the same feeling of power and satisfaction I feel whenever I box. At 55, I started teaching boxing classes to inspire others, of any age, to pursue this exhilarating exercise and never stop improving at it. Age is just a number in the boxing ring; the sport itself is something we always have an opportunity to improve at.
As the aforementioned quote states, “excellence is not an act, but a habit.” I am now 59 years young and have continued to pound that heavy bag with the same vigor as ever. We can never reach perfection. However, if we put forth the necessary effort day in and day out, we can create that habit of excellence.
Boxing serves as a microcosm of this concept for me; if I do everything in my power to improve whenever I lace up those gloves, I will reach every one of the goals I set for myself. That is the habit I will continue to develop, regardless of how old (young) I am.
In the end, age is just a number.