Coming up with a yearly challenge is no easy task. Every year around October, with the gradual warming of the weather, my mind turns to how I can challenge myself in the following year. For those unaccustomed to my yearly ritual, since my birth in Blenheim Hospital in 1978 I have celebrated my birthday on the 31st of December. Aside from reflecting on my life, the past 15 birthdays have always involved the setting of a new yearly challenge.
For those unfamiliar with my yearly challenge, here is a little history…..
My first challenge started in 2008 with the goal of writing a blog for a year. This saw the creation of the critically acclaimed Ozymandias Warning blog, my entry into The Herald Romance Writing Competition, and my first book entitled ‘I am Alarmed’.
Following that, who could forget 2009 where I used the same Gillette razor for a year – shaving once per day.
In 2010, I completed one of my proudest personal achievements, wearing the same pair of underwear for an entire calendar year.
The year 2011 marked my first of two failures. A hospital visit in April for suspected appendicitis, curtailed my attempt to see if it was possible to eat 3000 Weet-Bix in a calendar year. Then in 2012 (my second leap year) I failed to complete an elaborate daily push up challenge when I broke my ribs in a bike crash in November.
To get things back on track I went with the relatively safe option in 2013 of using no pillow and in 2014 I went an entire calendar year only drinking water. The year 2015 saw me revolt against one of the key comforts of our 21st century lifestyle and live like Wim Hof by only having cold showers.
On a roll with my yearly challenges, 2016 proved to be the easiest – even though it included an extra day- with a year off all social media. However, this was followed in 2017 by my hardest challenge yet, running for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Green vegetables were on the menu in 2018 when I ate one brussels sprout a day for 365 days straight.
The year 2019 once again had a food theme as I used the same knife, fork and spoon for a year.
In 2020, the year of covid, I completed what I can only describe as my most beneficial challenge – getting up at 5:11am every morning. If you think this year seemed longer than usual, you were right as it was my third leap year.
During 2021, while most of the world was dealing with lockdowns, antivaxxers, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, climate change, and New Zealand’s Test World Championship victory, I had a different issue to deal with. On the 1st of January I set out on an ambitious musical goal where I became the first person in the world to listen to Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone every day for an entire year.
During 2022, my challenge moved to an academic focus. Reading the entire First Edition of the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Written in the year of 1966 and published in three thick volumes, the book was a publishing success at the time and has been used as a basic reference about New Zealand since then. Edited by Dr. Alexander Hare McLintock the encyclopaedia includes over 1,800 articles, 900 biographies, and is written by 359 contributing authors. The three volumes combine for 2,537 pages of mind-numbing facts. My favourite entries were duels, the fascinating biography of Kimble Bent whose first wife was “about 25 years of age and no beauty, with one eye and thick lips’, and the rather interesting social commentary found in the Women’s Role in New Zealand section.
So, what does 2023 have to offer. Well after 15 long years I think it is time to think about others for a year. I am the first to admit that my yearly challenges have had a sense of narcissism about them. Not in 2023.
This year my challenge will be to join with those who identify as her/she/girl/female and to do what every her/she/girl/female does, every day, without complaining – I am going to pee sitting down.
A quick google search on the topic and you wonder why men don’t sit more often. A 2014 study into sitting while peeing showed that in patients with LUTS, Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, the sitting position is linked with an improved urodynamic profile. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of over 11 studies performed between 1999-2012, with over 800 subjects from all over the world, exposed some surprising benefits of peeing sitting down. These included significantly lower post-void residual volume in the bladder, an increase in the maximum urinary flow rate and a decrease in total voiding time, all achieved while peeing when seated.
If that doesn’t convince you to sit and your next visit to the porcelain throne, then maybe Larry David will.
I have withstood food challenges, fitness challenges, clothing challenges, grooming challenges, a music challenge, and even an academic challenge. But is it possible for a man to last an entire year and not stand up to pee. Only time will tell.
See you in 2024.