Today is the 1st of November and for some years now this day has launched the Movember event. It was started in 2003 with the idea of raising money for men’s health issues, particularly prostate and testicular cancer, and mental and physical health. To signify participation you sign up and grow a moustache – something that in Australia where the movement started had become rather unfashionable so a sudden outbreak of moustaches would be noticeable and promote discussion. The M of Movember signifies the item in question, This year the intention is to exploit the ‘Move’ syllable to emphasise the importance of movement and being active for general and mental health and well being. These issues are near to my heart these days as I have spent the last 3 years getting fitter and lighter after, at nearly 18 stone (114 kilogrammes) and with high blood pressure, being told I was likely to have a very short and unpleasant retirement. And I was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine examination while I was in hospital in April with a ruptured kidney after a mountain bike crash. All is well at the moment as I have got down to 12 stone 12 lbs (81 kilogrammes) and my blood pressure is normal. My cancer is of a relatively low grade and contained so for the moment I’m on the ‘active surveillance’ programme and life goes on as normal. No doubt I will be doing further posts here about health, fitness, exercise, diet and cancer. I have been pretty successful in losing weight and getting healthy over the last 3 years in a way which for me at least is sustainable. I’m pretty confident the changes I’ve made in diet and behaviour are now comfortably embedded in a lifestyle that I will have little trouble in continuing. Time will tell. What works for me won’t suit every one of course but it might be of interest to and useful for some.
The other thing that starts today is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The idea is that you sign up and write a novel, of any genre, in the 30 days of November aiming at 50,000 words by the 30th, about 1667 per day average. It’s been going since 1999 when there were 21 participants. Last year, 2014, there were 325,142 participants. I started it a few years ago and kept it up for a few days but didn’t get into the habit. My interest in writing fiction and poetry has revived in the last year or two (although I’ve not done much about it so far) but I might sign up for NaNoWriMo this year and see if I can do any better.