What Does It Take To Be A Real Man?

Following my recent health scare, all I wanted was some normality to return to my life.

I guess it’s always easier to write about this kind of experience after the event has passed, not when you’re still in the middle of it. For me, a lesson can only be learnt after it’s taught, agree?

One check-up after another, a blood test, a brain scan, next a consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, when is it going to end?

I was over it. At times, it felt like forever, my patience was once again put to the test. Why me? I don’t smoke, I don’t drink… What if I have a cancer?

At one point, I became this stoic and cold person. I could shrug it off and carry on another day no problems. But other times, I was a complete opposite to the guy 24 hours ago. I watched myself going from one extreme to another – from feeling carefree and careless to feeling anxious and powerless.

Waiting is the hardest thing to do yet there’s nothing you can do about it. You can only hope that one day that time will be on your side. It’s not a big ask, is it? Apparently it is if you don’t do your homework!

Finally, 4 weeks later, I got some breathing space I desperately needed. I was given the all clear by the doctor and the specialist. To finish it on a positive note, it felt like someone had handed me a second chance in life. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Typically, men don’t care enough about their health, compared with women. In many cases, men have that ego thing going on, stopping us from reaching out. In a short term, it may help save our face but in the long run, will it save our life?

What does it take to be a real man? For me, a real man is someone who knows himself inside out including strengths, weaknesses and vulnerability, someone who takes care of his health including physical health and mental health.

Sometimes we just can’t be bothered. Sometimes we are in denial. Sometimes we think problems will go away themselves. All these are convenient excuses. What we need is a gentle push, to go out of our way to do the “inconvenient thing” like getting our health checked. It’ll put us in a better position to do the rule-in and the rule-out thing, instead of just guessing what it might be.

Looking back, this health scare has re-affirmed to me one thing – life is unpredictable. I could’ve got totally different results. I could’ve come out of it a crashed man. But I didn’t. Why not? Older and wiser, I checked the facts. Don’t freak out until you know the facts! I was prepared for it – come what may. Good or bad, it’s better to know and do something about it, than not know and do nothing about it.

That’s what a real man is all about…

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