I'm back from a life-changing week at a surf camp that I spent with 4 of my closest friends.
I say luxury because it was, in fact, luxurious.
The accommodations were beyond 5 star and saying the view was spectacular would be an understatement.
It was one of the greatest experiences of my life…
I didn't have to cook – gourmet meals were prepared: breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert.
I woke up automatically at 5am to the birds chirping and the daylight peaking through the curtains of my room.
After waking, I would avoid my computer and my iPhone, grab my journal and my affirmations and watch the sun light the Pacific Ocean from the view of our pool deck as I wrote in my journal and meditated on my affirmations.
Those of you that have been reading about my life here in Costa Rica know that I struggled with learning how to surf, but was determined to NOT give up as I didn't want to send the wrong message to my kids.
After all, they saw me struggle and fail and now that I know how to surf, they know that I worked hard to “get it” and succeeded.
At one point I even got labelled “The MVP” by my buddies because of the way I picked up dropping into a green wave and turning.
It was the ideal way to spend my week as I got enough time for physical expression (i.e. I surfed and worked out everyday), recovery (meditation and naps) and work – because I love what I do – all while eating healthy food and spending time with great people…
Which brings me to my point…
This experience was one of the greatest that I've ever experienced because of the PEOPLE.
Accommodations, food and luxury aside, if I spent a week with a bunch of jerks and disgruntled staff, it would've been terrible.
The instructors and staff of the camp went out of their way to make the experience unbelievable.
But what I valued the most was the time that I got to spend with 4 of my closest GUY friends to have some much needed GUY TIME.
Why was this important?
First, don't get me wrong, I'm not denying the importance of the family unit and for the 7 of us (myself, my wife and our 5 kids) to spend time together.
If you know me, then you know I'm all about family.
But what makes me a good family man is the same thing that makes me a good man – which is understanding and acknowledging the needs that I have as a man… physically, mentally, spiritually and primally.
It's a glaringly obvious that today’s men lack a community of males to bond with and to share experiences with.
After speaking to some married friends and thinking back only 5-7 years ago, I found that I was so committed to family that I would sacrifice my own personal time and deny my need to bond with other men – through team sports or a guy's night out – because I thought that's what it meant to be 100% devoted to your family.
But devotion to your family means that you strive to be the best person you can be – male or female.
And being the best person means that you take time for what my wife likes to call “self-care” and for me that means understanding what my needs are as an individual and as a man…
- to move and express myself physically (hence making time to train with kettlebells & bodyweight and going on surfing trips)
- to be the protector and provider for my family AND
- to spend time with other, like-minded men to share ideas and experiences.
In essence, what makes you a good family man is the same thing that makes you A GOOD MAN.
How important is “guy time”?
Researchers from Cornell University found that men who do not have enough spare time to spend with their own friends can feel less attracted to their partner.
I hope this email doesn't come across as sexist – because women need that time too.
It's just that women as a species are already collaborative and it's natural instinct for women to congregate with other women to share ideas.
But some men feel that they are weak if they admit that they need time spent with the guys… that “lone wolf” mentality that I sometimes refer to.
So whether you're male or female, make sure you have time for self-care and part of that includes spending time with like-minded others of the same sex sharing ideas and experiences.
DON'T take that to mean that it's your carte blanche to go out every couple of nights with the buddies to get into a drunken stupor.
The rules of life still apply…
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
Doing something active is always a good option.
Play some pick-up basketball, join a beer league or find some guys and make a touch football team.
Whatever it is, allow yourself some “self-care” GUY TIME.
It'll make you a better man and in turn…
Make you a better father.