Last Movember, I started #TacheTalk, a blog speaking to different men about their lives, health and happiness. Here’s the third of part of my catch-up with the original thirty guys, finding out what’s changed and challenged them over the last year.
This year my brother has listened to me worry too much about my work and love life while always buying the drinks. You might have read about his springtime wedding to Mark in The Times of London. Next year, they’re getting a puppy.
A few months ago, Robin’s travels took him to America. He found more geocaches in just two days than he had in five years of geocaching put together. Robin’s also tried speed dating a few times, which has helped reduce his shyness.
‘I have this passionate drive to do the right thing. I’m not sure where it comes from or why it’s so strong at the moment. There’s only so many trips you can go on your own before it starts not being fun, so a partner in crime is my biggest wish for the next year.’
Right now, Dave is on a long holiday in Asia. He ditched the commute from Hampshire and moved back to London where he continues to work for Christian Aid. ‘My job is challenging me but it’s very rewarding. I’m surrounded by inspiring colleagues.’
James is registering CATS (Cancer Awareness in Teenagers and Young People Society), the student group he founded as a charity and taking a year off from his medicine education to do an MA assessing its impact. He’s also working on a new project to create a holistic and relational care centre for the vulnerable groups such as the long term unemployed or homeless in Stoke-on-Trent. He hopes the centre will unite different services available and stop users ‘falling through the gaps’.
‘It’s difficult to get new projects off the ground. You feel like you’re constantly hitting brick walls to battle apathy, get people motivated and build a team around you. It helps that I have a clear sense of calling, to do what I’m passionate about and see the need for. I’ve had a very fortunate middle class upbringing and really good education. We are all called to bring something back, not just live, pay taxes and die.’
‘I’m massively inspired by hearing people’s stories and seeing how the give up their time, money and energy for causes they believe. They are making a difference.’
Ed’s moved house and, to use his words, ‘started dating someone long-term’. ‘I’ve fixed a long term plan in my head and thinking about that is challenging. Climbing, writing more, reading, walking and being forced to talk through my emotions by a significant other has all helped.’
‘I love reading Neil Gaiman, PG Wodehouse and philosophers from 1500 years ago. They faced the same issues and worries as the rest of us. Professional writers find writing and life as hard as I do, which is a relief and inspiration all in one.’
‘Not much has changed. Life is more or less the same, but it feels a little more stable and manageable, which is really nice.’
‘My job has been quite challenging and can often take over, but it’s good to get into the habit of prioritizing what’s really important in life, like my wife, friends and family, relaxing and enjoying myself, spending time on things I’m passionate about. It’s been good learning to spend my time well.’
One door opened when Chris bought a flat with his girlfriend and another shut when his Leigh-on-Sea barbershop closed. He now works as a mobile hairdresser. ‘It’s been challenging to just pay the bills, and change my working pattern from days to evenings. I’m working all the time, so in the next year I want to improve my social life and find investment for a new barbershop.’ Chris remains part of Guerrilla Barbering, a grassroots industry group helping the homeless.
Luke is studying Mental Health Nursing at university. ‘I’ve always been quite an introverted person with a nervous edge behind me. I have quite a lot of anxiety and at the start of this year it manifested itself in me having some OCD-like symptoms. It made me doubt if I should do this mental health course and I nearly didn’t progress at one point.’
‘My family came through and were really supportive which I didn’t expect to happen. My university was also incredibly supportive. I’ve had counselling sessions, feel much better now and been able to progress on to year two. Talking to my family and friends about it really did help. Everyone is supportive.’
‘Your mental health is important and bottling things up isn’t helpful. You just create tension in yourself. We need a culture where people are open to talk about their feelings and how they feel. People can be hurting who are close to you and you may not know.’
Last month I grew a moustache and ran my first ever 10k race to raise money for Movember so they can keep research and conservations on men’s health going. You can find out how I did and sponsor me on my MoSpace. Or you can text ‘JKMO90 £5’ to 70070. Thank you.