For Men's Health Week 2017 we asked comunity members to share their thoughts on the term 'Healthy' and how they look after their health. In Uchenna's on words, he talks about how lessons in work and life have taught him about resilience and realistic goals.
As I near the end of my twenties, health means something quite different to me from what it meant ten years ago – or rather, I can see it more clearly. The words ‘strong’ and ‘stable’ seem to have been bandied about a lot recently; but they’re hard to avoid when talking about health. For me, being healthy is, yes, a state, a condition; but it’s also important to think of it as a journey towards something - towards not being invincible, but being strong, resilient; not static but stable, sustainable.
It sounds like a patronising thing to say, coming from a (sprightly) twenty-eight-year-old, but I think it’s true that, for many people, your twenties are very important period of growth. It’s a time when you learn a lot about yourself and grow up a lot faster than you have before. It’s a time when life swerves in directions you might not have expected: you might have to face up to things that scare you, lose people close to you or take on burdens that you didn’t realise you would have to. Hopefully, you come out of the other side a more mature, compassionate, stronger, person, ready for more challenges ahead.
At the same time, sometimes the experiences that challenge us most are the most valuable. For me, taking on a rewarding but very stressful job in my mid-twenties forced me to clarify my priorities in ways I’d not needed to before. Untenably long hours, impossible deadlines and a jaw-dropping workload brought into sharp relief the importance of the things and people in life that make – and keep – me happy. It also meant learning that resilience is not the ability to bypass stress and strain, but the ability to keep going when those things inevitably hit. For me, being healthy partly means doing things in a sustainable way: being kind enough to yourself to make life’s inevitable unkindnesses easier to take.
With that in mind, I’d say: get enough sleep; spend enough time doing the things you care about and with the people care about; be kind to yourself and be kind to others. And vote!