Thursday, November 21, 2013

Birthday Thoughts: A Great Man Is One Who Is There

Today is my birthday. It falls in the middle of Movember, and this year happens to fall on the third Thursday of the month which is my monthly guys' night get together.At this stage in our lives most of us are husbands, many are fathers, but all are a son, or a brother - we are all special and needed by someone. Which makes me want to refocus our Movember discussion away from the spectacle of the stache and to what it's really about: men's health. After all, we can only be or become Great Men if we have the time to do so.

So it is our number one responsibility to make sure we are around as long as we can be to be a Great Father, Husband, Partner, Brother, Son, Friend, and that means taking care of ourselves as much or more than we care for others, but for so many too many, men that is the last thing on their mind.

The things I do to take care of myself are not for me, I am not trying to look a certain way, I don't want to be better than someone else at something related to physical well-being, I do it for the people in my life. I do it to be there for my parents, for my siblings, for my friends, but most especially for my wife. For personal reasons, I don't want to, I can't, not be there for her. I can't imagine having to have any conversation with her about even the possibility of a serious health issue.And it should be the same for every man out there. Everyone one of us has someone, likely many, that that news would be devastating to, so let's do what we can to keep it from happening.

It's great seeing the money come in to my Movember MoSpace, and it will be great to see everyone that can make it out tonight, but to be honest all the men out there I would rather their gift, their time, be spent on themselves. I'd rather they went to the doctor tonight if they haven't gone in a year. The greatest gift any man could give to me, or anyone in their life, would be their own health.

I could go into a long list of things we should do what should or shouldn't consume *cough* cigarettes *cough*, how much exercise we should get, and so on. But the number one thing that men need to do it get checked up. Starting a few years ago I was using my birthday as the time to get checked up. Now every October I have to anyway for health insurance plan incentives, but if not that I would get into the Doctor. Every man should give himself the birthday gift of getting a checkup.I'll let the Doctor lecture you instead of me this time.

Physical health isn't the only issue either, your mental health is as important, and as bad as we are with our bodies we can be worse with our minds. According to Movember:
Men in particular face a unique set of challenges when it comes to them managing their mental well-being, with the associated stigma (of shame and embarrassment) often preventing them from seeking help and taking action. In the US:
  • Men generally have lower levels of awareness of mental illnesses than women
  • Over 6 million men (7% of the population) are diagnosed with depression each year
  • One of the most common manifestations of mental illness is depression
  • Depression affects more than 19 million Americans every year, regardless of age, race, or gender
Stated plainly, your mental health can and does impact your physical health, even your very life.

So please get a regular check up, and if anything is out of the ordinary go get it checked out. If you won't do it for yourself - do it for everyone else in your life