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10 Ways A Man You've Never Met Will Change Your Life

Last week I spent an hour talking to a man called Alan. You've never met him, and he's going to change your life.

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1. Be Political!


If not now, when? We're living in some of the most politically interesting times in decades. Use your voice, make your actions count, and join a political party.

Alan is the Chair of his local Labour Party. The Guardian explains how you can get involved with a party here.

2. Join a team and get active!


Let's face it, ever since you were picked last for games 17 times in a row, team sports have filled you with dread. You're no good at football, netball sucked for you, and you never really understood rugby (despite pretending to down the pub).

Fear not! There's a whole world of unusual team events out there, just for you!

Alan is the founder of his local underwater hockey club (yes, it's a real thing).

Why not check out something different today: Quidditch? Roller Derby? Extreme Ironing? Fitness First explain more here.

3. Go back to School!


Alan didn't have a degree, he thought this made him an idiot, so he decided to go back to school. One dyslexia diagnosis and a university degree later, he proudly declares himself "an educated idiot" (obviously he's nothing of the sort - the idiot bit I mean, he's clearly educated, and now he has the certificate to prove it!).

Thinking of returning to studying? The Independent have the information that you need.

4. Throw your TV away!


Alan proudly states: "I stopped watching other people's lives, and started living my own."

Not sure you could ditch the Gogglebox altogether (and that includes Netflix and the like too, before you try and be clever)? Then maybe you could follow Lauren Bowling's example, and experiment with 30 Days Without TV.

5. Learn a new skill!

After being made redundant from his engineering job, Alan tuned his attentions to learning a new skill. He now has a pilots license, because - why not?

Don't fancy taking to the skies? Then Lifehacker have a great list of the Top 10 Highly Desired Skills That You Can Teach Yourself.

If you're facing redundancy, the Citizens Advice Bureau can be a great source of support.

7. Be kind!


"No one ever said there is too much kindness. It's something that people rarely focus on these days, and it's such a shame. It can make the single biggest difference to someone. It can make the biggest difference to you."

One organisation that clearly agrees with Alan is Random Acts of Kindness, with nearly 9,000 members, across 87 countries, why not join them now?

8. Be positive!


Alan is living with Bone Marrow Cancer.

It is something he mentioned late into our chat, almost as an aside. It's a huge part of his life, but not for the reasons you might imagine.

Alan is positive about his diagnosis. Even going as far as to say that he is "pleased" about it, which shocked me into silence. Alan explained that a Cancer diagnosis, unlike other illnesses has given him time. Time to assess what is really important, time to learn about his condition (which is thankfully now at a low-level), time to put his affairs in order, and crucially - time to share his experiences with others, so that they might not feel so afraid, or alone: "I'm a Cancer Tart"

10. Join in!

Jack Turner Films / Via

"I put my hand up for everything. I do everything. I don't do it good, but I try my absolute hardest at it all."

Alan is 71 years old.

He is:

The Chair of his local Labour Party

The Founder of his local Underwater Hockey Team in Forest Hill

A Father

A School Governor

A Graduate

A member of the South East London Cancer Research Panel

A Blogger

A Patient Involvement Trainer

A Pilot

A member of the Patient & Public Involvement Advisory Group at Guys Hospital

A Grandfather

A partner of 16 years to Shelley (who deserves her own "Life Changing List").

The founder of "Patients Supporting Patients".

A Traveller.

A member of the Macmillan Older People's Taskforce.


Alan is #NewAge.

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