This past August Tailor & Barber passed its one-year anniversary, and that got me thinking. What are the people who read this blog getting out of it? What am I getting out of it? What do I want Tailor & Barber to stand for?
I realized, while pondering all of this, that I use this blog as much as anyone. I’ve discovered in the past year that if I’m interested in something, chances are other people are too. On this planet of seven billion people, more than a few are bound to have some of the same interests. With this in mind, I’ve decided to write about more of my passions here. Most of these are aspirations and goals, not current skills. My hope is that like some of my current topics (wet shaving and style) I will be able to improve myself, through writing, in any area in which I have the desire.
This post was initially entitled “What Is a Tailor & Barber Man?”, and that’s how I’d like to present some of the topics I plan on covering in the upcoming year and beyond. My vision is not to preach, teach, or dictate, but to create a sort of shared experience where my journey to become a “Tailor & Barber Man” inspires and encourages others in their own personal growth.
A “Tailor & Barber Man”:
1. Cares about his appearance.
This includes personal grooming, attire, style, care for his clothes and shoes, etc. None of these are done to the point of vanity or hubris, but to draw out that quiet confidence which comes with the knowledge of how he presents to others. For better or worse, we live in a society that values confidence. I know I get a charge on those days when I feel pulled together and am putting myself out there exactly the way I want to.
2. Maintains and improves his physical health.
I think I went through my entire twenties and never saw a doctor. I finally broke down when my wife insisted, and you know what? It wasn’t that bad. I got my checkup, I got my flu shot, and got a few questions answered! I’ve since added a dermatologist and a few other specialists to my annual calendar. I highly recommend seeing a dermatologist for an annual body check, especially if you ever played outdoors as a kid, which is basically...everyone.
To me, improving my physical health involves two factors: diet and exercise. I think my love for the kettlebell has been pretty well professed at this point. Additionally, I’m a big fan of Crossfit and rowing. However, exercise can be anything that fits your life, your body, and your needs. I’ll continue to write about fitness topics that interest me, but I really think the most important thing is just to get out and move. And diet leads me to point three.
3. Knows how to cook.
I love cooking. There’s something magical about manipulating raw ingredients in just such a way that they come together in a tasty meal. When everything’s clicking, and you nail that recipe, it’s a powerful feeling. I’m also a fan of the Paleo diet, even though I don’t follow it nearly as much as I should. I just love cheese too much. I think the only way I could stop going to Di Bruno Bros. is if they closed the doors forever. Regardless of what you consider a “healthy diet”, the best way to keep on track is to prepare your meals yourself. Now, I don’t need, want, or have the time to become a gourmet chef, but I do want to be able to prepare healthy, delicious, and varying meals for me and my family. I’d like to start writing about a few of my favorite dishes, as well as work through some new ones.
4. Strengthens his mental health.
Like kettlebells, I think most people are aware of my daily meditation practice. Meditation enables me to step back and view situations a little more objectively, rather than letting my emotions run my reactions. With the help of programs like Headspace and Calm, I’ve been able to become much more comfortable in my own skin. This allows me to open up and be more vulnerable in my relationships, thus deepening and strengthening those relationships.
While the perception seems to be improving, I still think the word “therapy” has a stigma attached to it. However, I’m not sure where I would be without an objective, third-party to discuss my life with. Whether it’s a therapist, a psychiatrist, a priest/pastor/rabbi, a mentor, or anyone you can confide in, I think having someone you trust, who can help you work through a problem, is invaluable.
5. Is well-read.
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, and one that I really enjoy is “The Moment” hosted by Brian Koppelman. Brian and his guests, specifically the other writers, rattle off books they’ve read, both classics and contemporary works. I wish I could relate more. There’s an old quote about learning from your mentors’ mentors, and literature is steeped in life lessons. Both fiction and nonfiction can teach with incredible poignancy. Current events will come and go, but Shakespeare has survived the test of time for a reason.
Of course, don’t forgo all news. But, unless you’re Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, who notoriously read several newspapers a day, stick to just one or two news sources. If you do choose two, try to choose two with opposing viewpoints, like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The point is to broaden your horizons, not just reinforce what you already believe.
6. Is multi-lingual.
Currently, I’m slowly working my way through the Rosetta Stone French levels. My goal, and this is a long-term goal, is to learn Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese too. I truly think the days of “this is America, speak English” are over. That’s just a closed-minded, avoidant view. Practically speaking, if you do business overseas or want to travel, knowing the local language can only help you. Even if you don’t have the “need” to speak another language, being able to will only give you a boost.
I know this post was longer than usual, and I so appreciate you taking the time to read through it. I look forward to sharing my experiences with these projects. Do you think I missed anything? Let me know.