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'Life Begins at 40?' Do me a Favour!
People say "life begins at 40", I don't know about that.
It seems to me that rather than beginning, it gets bloody harder if anything. I was quite happy in my 20s thanks. I could go to the pub when I wanted, a super club in Liverpool for an entire weekend, and proper football away days. By the time 40 comes along many of us have teenage kids combined with elderly parents and a mortgage to pay. There is a point (it was virtually overnight for me) when you go from feeling the same at 43 as you did at 23 to making involuntary noises as you sit down or stand up. That comes as quite a shock I can tell you. It's the time when instead of heading to town on a Friday night on a whim and knowing everyone, you are having to arrange a night out at least a month in advance and then really having to motivate yourself when the day finally comes. Even if you make it out of the house there is still the sensible part of your brain telling you that another round of ‘bombs’ isn't a great idea, given that you've got to drive the kid to some field on the Welsh borders and watch him play rugby in the wind and the rain in the morning.
Most men in their late 30s and 40s do seem to just get on with things, we're all ‘younger’ than our dad seemed to be at the same age as us and despite the pressures we will get through it. Kids will move on; the mortgage may get paid off and you can look forward again just like you did when you were younger. It is important to note though that for many men at this age things are very tough.
According to the office for National Statistics; the recorded suicide rates in England for 2020 showed that men were three times more likely to commit suicide than women, and the age range of 45 to 49 had the highest rates of suicide amongst men. This was largely reflected in Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland.
There will be hundreds of reasons why men in this age group are struggling, as mentioned earlier many of us have pressures from below (kids) and above (parents) as well as a career to manage. Men are often in more senior positions at work by the time they reach this age which may well bring higher income but far more responsibility and stress. Then there are the thousands of men who are increasingly at risk of redundancy in an ever-changing world of work which brings the fear or the reality of not been able to find a job that you're either skilled to do, or pays as well as the one you had. I've been there and it's not a pleasant experience.
Men need to talk to their loved ones and to their mates, conversely if you're the one that he is opening-up to you need to listen, not take the piss, and not judge. Just because the message is out there in the media that talking is good it doesn't mean that it's being heard, for some men (including many that I know) they have waited far too long to open-up. The reason is often because they just don't recognise what is happening to them until it is too late, and the other reason is fear. Fear of ridicule and fear of appearing weak. Society has changed and is continuing to do so, largely for the better in my opinion. It is now much easier for men to open-up than it was in say the 70s or the 80s (I just think back to my dad in the 80s) however, we mustn't emasculate men. Many men do still want and need to be strong and provide for their families, it is how us working class boys were raised and it's what we saw around us as kids.
It does take a great deal of courage to show any vulnerability particularly for men, and maybe if you know someone in your life who may be struggling you need to tell them that you are there.
At ArchieSoul Men we are unashamedly about serving men, most of our customers are in the 30 to 50 age bracket and we also have a lot of female customers who are buying products for their partners, husbands, and dads as they are almost removing the risk of buying a gift and them not liking it. Someone asked me what type of products do we sell? Simply saying male grooming products didn't really cut it, after a few seconds thought the word that came out of my mouth was solid. We sell solid male grooming products that men like to use. That is why Duke Cannon is so popular in our store.
I am proud of what we have created with ArchieSoul Men and excited about where it is going to go. Yes, the products are great (I would say that, but they just are) but more importantly I know that there is a posse of blokes out there who keep coming back because we speak their language, and I know that for every order we send out 99 times out of 100 there will be a smile at the other end when they receive it.
One of the key priorities for ArchieSoul Men over the next twelve months is to outline how we will support men both young and old, either through financial donations, time given or both and I have a few ideas on how we can do that and still grow the business. Obviously the more we grow the more we can do and the bigger impact we can have. My dream is to create a community of ‘ArchieSoul men’ (and their partners) to see what dent we can make on the world. Much more to come on that.
I have added a couple of links below to the usual places if you are struggling or you know someone who is, and if there is no one in your life who you can or want to talk to, you can always contact me.