The fuel to your flame.

Empathy, it’s a cool trait to have, isn’t it? Being understanding of what anyone you know has going on in their life is a good thing, assuming that they’re willing to let you in. When someone chooses to pour their heart out to you, it’s easy to become more concerned about them, but don’t we always want to do anything we can for the people that we care even a tiny iota about?

Kindness is another cool thing to have in your armour. Treat people like you want to be treated, right? Sure, it’s easier said than done sometimes, but maybe if we all approach each day with that mindset, we’ll do okay. It sounds like a glib thing to say, but you wake up every day choosing how you treat people. Strangers, your partner, your friends, your work colleagues. It doesn’t sound too difficult, but sometimes it’s not easy. Things impact your own life and so sometimes you’ll not always be in the right place to offer help when it’s needed. It’s okay to miss things sometimes, but you reach out when realise that you need to, don’t you?

Whilst it’s absolutely the right thing to do, your kindness can be interpreted by different people in different ways. Some take your intentions in the way that you meant them, some others don’t, and whilst it’s those people who’ve read things wrong, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve misjudged things also. Did you go too far, did you give them too much attention when they needed help, did you make a mistake? We all make them, probably every day, certainly on a regular basis. Perhaps the difference is what we do after our mistakes, whether we learn from them or continue to make them again and again. It’s okay to make them but you want to try and not make them again.

Sometimes though, your radar is off, a mistake is coming and you have absolutely no idea about the consequences you’re going to face.

This one might be a battle, might not turn out okay.

When you split with someone that you thought you’d be with forever, don’t you try and focus on anything else you can that will help you try and do whatever the fuck it takes to make you get through it? Work it is.

The week is a little different than usual. Forty five interviews in five days is draining but finally it’s over. Two people are needed for my team and there are only six that make the shortlist. It’s like the NFL draft, will I get my number one pick? Turns out I do, but I have someone forced on me by the powers above that I don’t want. Nothing against her, she seems cool enough but sometimes you have a gut feeling about people, about things. Always trust it, right?

Days and weeks pass and it seems like my gut was spot on. She has a lovely personality, she’s friendly, warm, she’s Snow White classically pretty but there’s a but. No one else can put their finger on it either, but something isn’t quite right. Drinks are arranged one night, everyone gets involved, it’s cool to unwind without the stress of work chat.

Too many drinks are had by most, some of us remain sensible, but she doesn’t. She breaks down, starts crying, emotional kryptonite for most of us boys. I walk her home, making sure that she’s safe and we talk for most of the night. She opens up about personal things going on in her life, suddenly I get why she’s been off her game. She reaches in for a kiss and I don’t stop her. A mistake. I stay over, and whilst nothing happens, it’s another mistake.

More days and weeks pass and things develop, a proper relationship starts. More mistakes are made, I was just a pawn in a game that I finally realised one day that I’d never really understood. She’s pretty, she’s younger than me, she’s a girl that turns heads when she walks into a room. Irresistible. Who wouldn’t take a chance?

When we go out for dinner or drinks though, she gets numbers from boys just to satisfy her own ego. She talks down to my female friends, to the point where they don’t want to be around me when I’m with her. What am I doing? She’s batting a thousand and I’m the 1962 New York Mets, an absolute shitshow. I think she’s better than me in every way so I accept it every time, but that’s toxic and I know it but I need to accept it. Don’t I?

We argue a lot. There are a shit ton of emotions, anger, a lack of trust, blame, feeling unheard and undervalued, hostility, jealousy, what’s the point in even hanging around? No good relationship is built on magical thinking. You can know that someone is no good for you, yet the games and mixed signals are okay sometimes. It’s acceptable to be vulnerable, right? It’s an abusive relationship, mentally rather than physically. I don’t know what you’re doing to me, better that we end our days and split our ways. Time to tell her, she’s the first girl I’ve ever broken up with on my terms. A meet is arranged. When I turn the corner and I see her standing there, my heart skips a beat, but tension corkscrews in my stomach. The words are said, it’s not healthy for me, and truth be told, how can it be healthy for her? Now gravity is a little less heavy though.

There was that element of chance but now I’ve learned lessons that I’ll never forget. Fucking mistakes. Just maybe you need to try and forgive yourself for the mistakes that you’ve made. You’re not crazy to be curious, we’re all going to disappoint someone at some point, but you don’t want to be disappointed. It’s not fair but you have to think of your own wellbeing sometimes.

Right now, I’d sooner lick an electric fence than let another girl in, but hopefully that’ll change in time. Trust is sacred and hopefully I won’t let this get in the way of the lady that comes next.

Relationship status? South of okay, north of giving a shit about her any more.

I know we’ll never be friends again but I hope that you know that I’d never do any of those things to you that you did to me. Hopefully it never happens to you, but maybe we’re all attracted to people that have the ability to hurt us. Sometimes it’s hard not to think what or who we think we love can affect us the most, but the truth catches up with us eventually.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

These hands are meant to hold.

Different things motivate all of us. Achievement, advancement, personal or professional growth, maybe recognition or responsibility? It can be something simpler than any of those things. Eating healthier, getting fit, listening to your favourite music, playing or watching your favourite sports. Once you find something that makes you want to do it religiously, it becomes second nature, you’re motivating yourself every day, although you perhaps don’t grasp that fact in every single moment.

We’re all different people, so all of our motivations are different. When you witness the success of others, it’s easy to not even contemplate the setbacks and struggles that they’ve had to overcome to get to where they are now. Sure, the road to get to a place that you need to be is often paved with failure and a shit ton of pain. There’s going to be hard lessons that you’ll need to learn along the way, you’ll need to have difficult conversations with yourself now and again. Humility and understanding is key, don’t we all need to harness those moments of adversity to help us move forward?

It doesn’t matter who any of us are, we’ve all experienced hard times in our lives. We all have different tools that we need to not only think about what’s happened to us before, but also to try and help us shape what’s going to become part of our future. Aren’t we all resilient on some level? A bad place can become a good place if you’re motivated to get there. Take music. Listen to any song with an open mind and you might realise that some of the words apply to something that you have going on.

It’s not always that easy though, is it? Some days are more difficult than others, it’s tough to see how any of what you have to deal with right now is going to get any better, to make you better.

Another day and you’ve had your fill of sinking.

It’s late on a weekend afternoon and I’ve been in the new place for a few days. The broadband engineer is finally here, first world problems are about to be solved. He ladders down over a high wall into the garden next door where the pole is to connect the street to the telephone and internet lines. I leave him to it, what the fuck do I know about installing wifi? Anything to do with the brain, I’ve mostly got you covered. Anything practical? Forget it, I’m the equivalent of a three legged cat trying to bury a shit on an ice rink.

He shouts over for my assistance, probably not standard protocol, isn’t that what they’re paid for, but part of you always wants to help. Grease on the top of the wall from his boots is there but I don’t see it, I slip, and I tumble over 20 feet to the ground landing straight on my back. I black out briefly, but when my eyes reopen, it’s easily the worst pain I’ve ever experienced that envelops me. He helps me back into my apartment and an ambulance is called. He leaves, apologising profusely.

The ambulance arrives, air and gas is given and a paramedic attempts to take a blood sample. Bless, they’re obviously new at this, and blood goes everywhere, it’s like a crime scene in my apartment, but finally we get sorted and I’m on my way to the local hospital.

I can’t feel my legs and the pain is excruciating. Every bump on the road hurts but I know that I’m headed to where I need to be. Being the weekend, it’s busy, hours pass with me being told to lie on my back and not move. Morphine is overrated, the pain doesn’t lessen. The staff are fantastic though, always checking in until I can go for x-rays and then a CT scan. That’s one thing that was never on the bucket list.

A doctor finally comes round with the results and it’s not good, there are severe spinal vertebrae fractures. Surgery is ruled out because it might make things worse. I’m scared to ask the question that I need an answer to. A day when you’ve lost yourself completely could be a night when your life ends. Painkillers for the rest of my days and intense physiotherapy will mean that I’ll be able to walk again. Hopefully.

No lies, there are a lot of tears and a lot of self pity. I get moved to a ward with three other guys and their prognosis and stories are equally as bad as mine, if not worse.

The night passes and I can’t sleep. Sure, the pain is part of it but I need to figure out how to beat this. I need to be motivated. I listen to music, hit the shuffle button and let the songs take me where they need to.

It’s approaching 5am, no sleep has been had and a junior doctor pops her head around the curtain to check on me. Questions are asked, blood pressure is taken and the first thing she does is to ask me to take her hands and push them away from her. I tell her that I doubt I have the strength but then she says six words. ‘These hands are meant to hold.’ Those 24 letters resonate, I’ve heard those words before somewhere and I push as hard as I can. She smiles, does some more tests and leaves telling me to stay strong.

I realise what the song is and I click on it. There’s my motivation right there. Six words from someone I’ve never met before will get me through this. Will it be tough? Sure as shit, but what’s the alternative, you have to keep moving and be positive when life kicks you in the stones. Time to man up, we can’t keep regretting things that didn’t go the way that we wanted, they’re not going to change the past. Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking? Zero point.

Friends ask if I’m alright. Stupid fucking question, but it’s okay to tell a tiny white lie and say yes, isn’t it? Sometimes you need to do things on your own, just keep on going no matter how hard things are. The answers won’t come straight away but if I’m motivated, they will in time.

The old guy in the next bed says to me, cliche as it sounds, ‘Your life is how you make it now, it’s up to you.’ He’s right. No matter how hard it seems just to keep on going, don’t you have to believe in yourself? We won’t all have the same problems but we need to find out what motivates us. Life can deal you a shit hand but don’t you want to beat the dealer?

It might seem like the world is against you, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, but you have to keep going. I’ve got this, I will walk again, I will run again. Whatever you have going on, you’ve got it too.

Even when your hope is gone, move along.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Change. The Chinese word for it, is comprised of two symbols, one for danger and the other for opportunity.

Pretty much sums it up, right?

New beginnings, new changes can be scary, it’s hard to know what to expect sometimes. Just maybe though, you gain confidence and courage by taking a moment to stop and look at those changes in a good, rather than a bad way. Sure, things could go wrong but what if they go right? You make a choice, deny what could be on your horizon, embrace it or resist it.

Some decisions are smaller than others, less difficult to fuck up. Choose a new store to buy your food from? What could really go wrong, you can always go back to your old place. Change your hairdresser? Admittedly, it’s more of an issue for the ladies out there rather than us boys, have you ever hear of a lady deciding to cut her own hair? Boys are idiots sometimes.

What if it’s something bigger? You want to change the person in the mirror you see every morning or the status of your interpersonal relationships. Do we all see our friends as much as we should? You know your relationship has gone stale, you know it needs to end but do you have the balls to say the words that you need to say? You get a new job offer, are you comfortable enough to take that leap of faith and try somewhere new, to work with new people? Deciding that you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship and pop the question? Moving house, calling somewhere new home? It’s a commonly held belief that changing your job, getting married or moving house are the three most stressful things that you’ll ever do in your life. Doing one is tough, but what if you decide to do two or three all at the same time? Time to make a choice.

Time for you to go out into the world.

The city and country where you’re born doesn’t always feel like home, does it? Being lonely is so hard at times, but being lonely in the place that you’ve known for most of your adult life? No bueno. Maybe it’s time for a change, who wants to be tired of being held back without being able to fight back harder? Male pride is totally a thing but sometimes it’s okay to reveal your vulnerability and your need to connect with something new. A change is maybe exactly what’s needed. Sometimes for good things to happen, we have to make changes and move on from old habits or experiences. Old doors closing and new ones opening. Doesn’t a new door mean a new beginning?

It’s super early on a Monday morning and my iPhone rings. The number is private but I know who it is. An hour long conversation is had about something that could change everything, not just for me but for the people closest to me. It’s a positive call from both sides, follow up calls are to be scheduled to hammer out the finer details about leaving my life as I know it. This means leaving the people here that I love behind, my family, my friends, everyone that I care about. Sure, I know people in different countries and I’ll be able to settle quickly but my mind is still running at a hundred miles an hour. Just change. In any facet of your life, if something comes along that will alter everything for you, there’s a decision to make. Yes or no, what to do?

New beginnings are a chance for a fresh start and for trying new things that you never thought impossible, that you never thought you could accomplish. Time to give yourself a pep talk, to get ready, to prepare yourself for something that means that your life will never be the same again. Closing old chapters of your life, forgetting about the past, but getting ready to write new chapters, to experience new things.

Are there sad feelings of leaving things behind? Damn fucking skippy. Is there the excitement of new adventures? Damn straight.

Can somewhere else in the world really be your home rather than the place of your birth, the city and country where you’ve spent most of your days? Maybe you’ve been there before, but you had to leave. It hurts when you read about it on the news because memories come flooding back. It’s featured on countless television shows and your heart gets heavy for a minute, or an hour, or a day. There’s no rules when you know that you want somewhere else to be your home, rather than where you stay right now. Yes, it’s a roof over your head but does it feel like you belong? For some of us, absolutely yes, 100%. That’s a great thing, but for others, it’s time to go. It’s an often used cliche, but your time on this planet is short so why not do what makes you happy, or at least what you think will make you happy? If you’re happy with everything in your life, then I’m super jealous. If you’re not, isn’t it time to make a change? Danger and opportunity.

Sometimes when you go somewhere new, to a new job, you can have big shoes to fill. Luckily, I’ve got big fucking feet.

Sometimes the only person that you need to focus on is yourself.

It’s okay to start a new adventure alone.

I know who I want to take me home.

@TheSamMcLeod

Three makes it a crowd.

When a girl breaks your heart, your friends are quick to tell you things along the lines of, “she wasn’t right for you anyway, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, the girl meant for you will come along, we saw the photos of you two together and she didn’t look like a ‘Sam’ girl.’ Fuck knows what that last part even means, but the rest are all cliches that we’ve probably heard at one point or another, but you know that they come from a good place, even if you don’t want to hear them in that moment. It takes time though to find that trust again, to let someone in, to want to even let someone in, to try and learn who to place your trust in.

Maybe it’s like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but maybe you can’t fix it with the person that smashed it. There’ll still be cracks, won’t there?

It’s tough to try and move on though, everyone is unique, it takes time. How long it takes differs for all of us, depending on our circumstances. Perhaps the more that you begin to care about someone new, the more sure you are that they’re going to get tired of you and disappear and leave you alone. Just your own insecurities about what went before, right? It’s 100% not fair on the new person that comes along but it can be tough to alter your mindset. What if one day everything changes though and someone new enters your life?

We all know immediately when we meet someone whether or not we’re punching above our weight. It’s a shallow concept, but it crosses our mind, dare to tell me I’m wrong. If more than one person likes the girl that you think you might like, shit, that you know you like, one of you is the underdog. Sometimes you know what’s in your future and what’s not. What’s likely and what’s unlikely.

Conversations happen, she smiles with her eyes when we speak, is there a chance for me, despite everyone else that’s fighting for her affection? It’s looking good, but is someone out of their league here? For sure. Things progress, the conversation is on point. We kiss, the night is spent together, it’s completely innocent, nothing wrong with cuddles and kisses when you’ve been starved of them both for so long.

I don’t know too much about her, other than she’s beautiful, she’s funny and she makes me smile. She’s not my usual type, yet incredibly, it looks like I’m not the underdog any more. Insecurity creeps in again though.

I bet, I bet we don’t make it.

The morning comes and she has to go home. She doesn’t stay in the same city, far less the same country, but an open invite is extended to visit her at any time. An email drops into my inbox on a Friday morning a couple of weeks later, ‘Come visit on Saturday if you can, a friend is having a party, it would be amazing to see you. Let me know when your flight lands if you decide to come, I’ll pick you up, it’ll be fun, assuming that you want to see me?’ The email insinuates a slight tease, she knows that I do. Tomorrow is short notice, but fuck it, why not?

A flight is booked, a couple of hours on a plane to take a chance on someone is no time at all. Better to arrive on the Friday though, get my bearings, although I lived and worked where she lives years ago, sometimes it’s just nice to have a little bit of time to yourself. The Saturday venue is familiar so I know where I’m going, but I use the Friday night to catch up in the same place with an old friend, drink some bourbon and reminisce. We both know the bar well, drinks are ordered and as is usually the case with my friends and I, a table is chosen in the back where you can see everything, always backs to the wall. No one wants to be taken out by a sniper!

The stories flow, memories are spoken about and laughter happens a lot. We’ve been friends forever, we grew up together so it’s a seamless catch up. I get up to go to the bathroom, come back and he points out a cute girl at the bar who he likes the look of. Guess who? I tell him who she is and he’s immediately apologetic. No biggie, she’s a stunner and he knows that she’s why I’m even here. Just as I stand back up to walk over to say hello, a guy walks in, hugs her and gives her the longest kiss that I’ve ever seen. Plot twist.

Neither of them can see us, thank fuck for small mercies. My friend and I look at each other and we both shrug, but inside I’m hurting a tiny bit. If something looks too good to be true, chances are that it probably is. I don’t go to the bar for a while, no way am I getting involved in whatever they have going on. Looks like my Saturday night will be free to do whatever I want to do, there’s no fucking chance I’m going to any party.

More bourbon is consumed, I get the piss taken out of me for trying to punch above my weight. I smile because he’s right, what was I thinking? Eventually they finally leave together with their arms wrapped around each other.

It’s my round. At the bar, I speak to the girl serving me and ask who the couple were who just left as I thought I recognised them. Seems they’ve been engaged for years and are set to get married in the autumn. It turns out I was a bigger underdog than I thought. It’s such a shame, a shame, we had to find out this way.

Fuck it, my flight is changed, my Saturday night will be spent with people I know who aren’t messing me around. Might as well get turbo though in the meantime with one of my oldest friends. Unbelievably, less than an hour later, my iPhone pings and it’s a text asking if I’m coming tomorrow?

Thing is, I know something you don’t.

I start to type a text a couple of dozen times and each one gets deleted. Finally I settle on, ‘I’m in the city already, I was in the same bar as you tonight. Good luck with everything for your wedding, we all deserve to be happy. All of us.’ The reply comes, ‘It was a mistake, I’m sorry.’ The thing is, it feels like the mistake is mine, for trusting you. Six words is all I get?

It’s one thing to make a mistake accidentally; it’s something completely different to make it on purpose. We all know what happens when you let yourself get close to someone, when you start to believe they like you, but you know that there’s a chance that you’ll be disappointed. Just choices, right?

We drain the bottle, handshakes and hugs follow and I head for bed, sleep and reflection is needed before heading back a day before I should be. The message I’m left with as my head hits the pillow is to be careful with who I let in, because I could have been the one that has messed everything up in the end for them, despite what she did. It’s not a nice feeling but how was I to know?

I’m down, down, but definitely not out.

@TheSamMcLeod

You’ve got it at your fingertips.

You’d do anything for the people in your life that you care about, wouldn’t you? No cry for help or question goes unanswered if a call comes, when you’re needed, you’re there. An email, a text, maybe a visit needs to happen. Shit, sometimes, your presence isn’t necessarily wanted or expected, but when you know something is wrong, you get there, you help in any way you can. Sometimes a cuddle is needed, sometimes harsh words need to be said, albeit in a caring way, sometimes just being around when that someone finally realised that when they need someone to pour their heart out to will help, even if they don’t realise it in that initial moment. We all have two ears and one mouth, sometimes it’s much better to listen than speak, especially if it’s someone who tugs at your heartstrings because they’re struggling and they need you, or they need someone.

We all need someone now and again, especially when you can’t tell that you’re bigger than the sea that you’re sinking in.

A visit becomes a little tougher when they’re over 8000km away, although an offer is made, yet politely gets declined. Calls happen though, texts are exchanged, thank goodness for FaceTime. That said, it’s never easy to watch a friend struggle, to see them cry, to be able to witness their fragility. It doesn’t take too long to catch on to the things that she’s trying to say without her being able to articulate the words. What advice can you give from so far away without everything that leaves your mouth sounding like a cliche? ‘It’ll all get better in time, there are plenty more fish in the sea, you were better than him anyway.’ How easy it is for those words to sound hollow? Finally something I say makes sense, ‘How about heading away for a few days somewhere, have a change of scenery and try and collect your thoughts?’ A couple of days pass and I don’t hear from her, but you give the people in your life what they need, even if that’s a little bit of space. You can try and help all you want to but sometimes, they need to get to a place on their own when they begin to think that they’ll be okay.

A call comes and she’s at the airport. Not her airport, my airport, can I go and get her? I can’t, but she knows where I live and she knows that my neighbour has a spare set of keys so she heads there. Work is finally done, I get back to my place and she’s already there, is already in pyjamas and has managed to demolish a large part of a bottle of bourbon. Usually this would be a great night together, music on, maybe a film and just hanging out. Given everything that’s happened though, letting her finish the bottle would be a bad idea. We sit, we talk, she cries, we hug and awful television is watched.

She falls asleep so I take the chance to make up the spare room, who doesn’t like fresh bedding, although by this point, I doubt she’d even notice. I pick her up, lay her gently into bed and pull the covers over her. I head for the kitchen, grab a couple of bottles of water from the fridge and stick one on each side of her on the bedside tables. The lights get turned out in her room and I watch the rest of the shitty TV show and make sure that there will be no bourbon left by morning.

It’s been a long day emotionally so it’s time for bed. I climb in and as soon as my head hits the pillow, sleep isn’t far behind me. I’ve no idea how long it is, but I feel something, turn over and there she is next to me with her hands on me, trying to kiss me. A few years ago, absolutely. Right now? Zero chance. We have a difficult conversation, mostly because she’s still drunk but I lead her back to the spare room and put her to bed. Again.

Her actions are understandable, maybe we’ve all been there. Perhaps nothing numbs the sting of a breakup quite like a rebound fling or relationship. Toxic for some people, but maybe beneficial for others. Maybe sometimes it could grow into something amazing, but this isn’t one of those times. Don’t you both need to be on the same page about whatever the fuck this is? No point in dragging someone else into your emotional horror show while letting them believe that there’s a chance that your new relationship could be something real. Sure, it’s easy to assume that once they’ve finally healed from their breakup, that they’ll look to you as the knight in shining armour who swept into their life at just the right time to make it all better, but how is that a basis for something new?

It’s more than okay to hurt, but maybe if you’re in pain, you should try and heal, rather than move onto someone else straight away. A rebound will never the best idea you’ve ever had, everything should happen with dignity and especially when you’re sober. Take time to heal before committing to someone new, right?

No one wants to be the first person to be picked out of a lineup of a potential new partner.

It’s not going to be fun if I start to get feelings for her in a different way, there’s no way that it’ll happen though, to make her hope that things will be anything different, anything more than just a friendship. Once upon a time, maybe, but she chose someone else and that’s okay, but no one should want to be a rebound, I certainly don’t. Hopefully the morning comes, she remembers and apologises, or forgets completely. It’s okay to be alone and wait for the right girl but what’s the point in ever allowing your own loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone that you know that you don’t belong with?

It’s not difficult to get over the possibility of a relationship that I wasn’t even in, but it doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t hurt for her.

The morning comes, I’m awake first and breakfast is made, complete with a shit ton of coffee. She wakes, comes through, looks at me, hugs, says sorry and that’s enough. Saying sorry is always enough. She’ll be okay in time, cliche again, but she’ll always have a friend who has her back.

She stays for a few more days and we do things that friends do. It’s okay to put your arm around someone when they’re hurting, long walks are cathartic. She’s still hurting but K, I know that you’ll be okay.

I know you think your fire is burning out but I still see you shining through, you’ve got it in you.

@TheSamMcLeod

Hold your head up high.

Never meet your heroes, they’ll always disappoint you. We all hear that a lot, right? They’ll be an egomaniac, they’ll have no time for you, they’re too big time to speak to the likes of you. Sure, sometimes that’s true, but now and again, you meet someone who is exactly like you thought that they would be. Humble, kind, willing to give you as much of their time as they can. They realise that you’re a fan, that you respect them and for that, they immediately respect you back. It’s not a common occurence, it’s rare, you learn to appreciate those moments and people as you get older.

The heroes in our lives don’t wear capes. They don’t have x-ray vision, they don’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. They are ordinary, yet extraordinary people whose commitment, compassion and service to you and others serve as an exemplary idea of humanity at it’s absolute best. They’re people who you look up to, who you admire and when you’re in their presence, you’re like a little kid. You’re never too old to be starstruck. Never underestimate the impact that kindness has on another human being. He captained the club to a European Cup, nine successive league titles, seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups as a player, four titles and four cups as the main man in charge. He’s Billy McNeill, he’s Cesar, the first British man to lift the European Cup.

Unfortunately, our heroes are not indestructible and today we lost him to thousands, probably millions of people around the world who cherished him.

Today is a struggle for me and all of those other people, it’s tough to imagine the much larger heartbreak that the family are feeling right now. It’s not a stretch to say that all of our hearts go out to you all.

We met once, he signed and personalised his autobiography for me and asked me about my family, about my daughter, about my love for Celtic. He couldn’t have been kinder and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been crying ever since the news broke, much as I’m sure that other people have. He was Mr Celtic and he’ll be missed. The word legend is often overused but not in his case. A giant of a man, yet compassionate to the core. In time, we’ll reflect on everything he did for this magnificient club, this institution but for now, it’s okay to hurt and remember one of the greatest players to ever grace the game. Tributes have been flooding in from across the globe and that is testament to the man who took time to sign my book, put his hand on my shoulder and smile at me, wishing me all the best and asking to pass on his love to my daughter. Easily the most humbling moment of my life. Most of us will have memories of the great man. It hurts that we won’t get to make any more, but cherish the ones you have.

You’ll never walk alone Cesar.

Raise your glass in slow motion.

Everyone is guilty. Guilty of giving too much, of taking too much. Of not saying the words that we should have said, of articulating more words than was needed in any given situation. Not all of us keep in touch with family and friends, fuck, all of the people in our lives as much as we should. Sure, some of those people in your life will begin to fade away, it’s just life. Maybe you move away, they move away, you gradually lose touch, it’s not necessarily a conscious decision but it hurts on some sort of base level at least. On the flipside, there are people that you choose to keep around, regardless of where they are in the world, but now and again there comes a time when you have to make a choice about who those people are. Is this person making my life better or even just enriching it? It can be as simple as just liking the cut of their jib, they’re your friend. Sometimes though you have to know when to let go. Now and again time closes the door on any relationship that you have, not necessarily because you failed but just because something inside you finally has the balls to tell you that this particular someone or something no longer fits in your life.

What now? Lock your door, keep yourself to yourself for a while, and then start looking for new doors that you want or are ready to open? Is it a sign that you’re changing and you know that it’s going to be okay? Fingers crossed.

Letting go is incredibly tough though. It matters if we worry about the future without the ones that we no longer want to have in our lives, or if we keep thinking that we’ve made a mistake if we choose to let them go. You trust your heart and your mind though, right? Is it painful at times? Damn straight it is, it can be super hurtful when you know that you have to move on without certain people. No matter how hard we try to keep things as they are, sooner or later we’ll confronted with a decision to make, whether we like it or not. Our attempts to hold on to all of the negative people and things that were familiar to us, inhibit our chances to try experience happiness and joy in that particular moment and indeed in those future moments. Maybe it’s more than one moment and perhaps our lives are always supposed to be about change. No matter how hard we try to keep things as they are, sooner or later we’ll be confronted with a decision to make whether we like it or not.

It can be a good thing sometimes because now we can open up ourselves to to new experiences, new people, new possibilities. It sucks though when that time comes. It’s so clear, I should’ve seen it.

It blows my mind and I don’t understand it.

A change in life presents itself, different things are suddenly are on the horizon and decisions need to be made. Difficult ones, the worst kind. When you’re continually in touch with people and it’s a one way road, it’s time to say goodbye, isn’t it? Focus on yourself for once. Scratch that, focus on the most important person in my life, not me, a young girl who will benefit from this life altering decision. This is for you. Em, it will always be you.

Con te partirò is a beautiful song. It literally means ‘With you I will leave.’ This time though, it’s a solo journey, although there are people that will be left behind that I care about. That said, it’s important to forget what and who hurt me but I’ll never forget what it taught me. Some people need to be left behind because things and people weren’t who I thought they were. It might be the same from their perspective and that’s okay, we all believe what we want to. Maybe sometimes people come into your life just to teach you how to let go. We won’t be in touch again. In person, over Facebook or Twitter, Instagram, whichever social platform you wish to choose. No one wants to be shitty, but if you don’t want to keep in touch, then that’s okay, but don’t expect the same the other way around when a new life is starting. 10,394 miles or 16,727 in kilometers depending where you are in the world, it’s not my loss. Perhaps the worst thing is that this choice won’t even be on their respective radar but that’s okay. Easier to say goodbye than have someone bid you farewell, I guess.

Letting go isn’t a one time thing, it’s something you have to do over and over again. That’s a sad thing. Time to take a second look.

See your eyes, they’re wide open.

@TheSamMcLeod