Not right or wrong.

Boldness or shyness, happiness or sadness, like or dislike, love or hate, all just normal emotions although they happen to be at the polar opposite ends of each other. You can feel both conflicting things in the same moment though, can’t you? Some balance of two of those at any time would be nice but you can’t always get what you need or want. Just dichotomies, the world is full of them and we don’t always realise that they’re everywhere in all of our lives. It’s like wanting to be in a relationship but also still having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Now and again, maybe it would be cool to consider some of the things that are going on all around us. It doesn’t hurt to be aware of stuff going on in the world that we don’t acknowledge as much as we should.

The first Tuesday in November is rapidly approaching and US citizens will go to the polls to choose who they want to be the man in charge for the next four years. Voting to elect officials is a freedom afforded to many countries around the world and the process means that we all get to have a tiny say in how our countries are run. Many of us realise just how important this is, yet not everyone that’s eligible to vote will bother turning out. It’s not just an issue that affects America, there are plenty of other countries where nationals are apathetic about having their voice heard. Counter that with people in too many others to mention that will walk for hours to place their ballot in a box because they appreciate the significance of what they’re doing. To one person, being able to vote is incredibly important; to someone else it’s a burden, something treated with indifference. Governments will spend millions of (insert currency here) to save the life of a child and then drop bombs on schools without a second thought. It’s a fucked up world sometimes.

Dichotomies aren’t just a political thing, they’re in all walks of life. When you meet someone new, you can either want to know everything about them or next to nothing at all. It’s all part of that initial excitement, no answer is wrong, whatever works for you works for you. Perhaps one of you likes to do anything and everything on a whim and the other likes to make more considered decisions. Therein you have the difference of context in whatever your relationship is going to become.

You can be a joker with everyone around you but still be a deep thinker. There will be people in your life who can’t stand you and others who can’t live without you. Wouldn’t you rather ignite those polar opposite feelings than have people not care one way or the other? At least then you know who and what you’re dealing with.

That one tune you hear for the first time that you can’t stop listening to whilst not having an appreciation of how someone else might hate it because of reasons personal to them.

Somebody’s heart is broken and it becomes your favourite song.

A common saying is that school days are the best of your life, different for everyone though, right? Whilst some of us were fascinated by Pythagorean theorem, calculus and combinatorial mathematics, others would stare at the clock continuously wishing it to tick faster.

There were only ever really two kinds of people in our village when we were growing up, the ones who everyone knew would work minimum wage jobs and never leave, and those who couldn’t wait to get out. Neither choice is right or wrong. Bad or good choices are choices, it doesn’t matter why you make them, they belong to you. Some people who chose to stay are delighted with their lives and that’s a great thing, others wish they’d gone when they had the chance. Some left and found that their expectations of the grass being greener was misplaced, whilst others made it. Two of us chose to leave at the same time.

In completely different fields, in cities miles apart we both eventually made it, but sometimes eventually comes too late and isn’t enough. Life has a way of ripping you apart one minute and then making you happy the next. Dichotomy rears its head once more and in the most difficult of circumstances.

Lockdown rules mean that only 20 people can attend a funeral right now, it’s almost a lottery and maybe the only one you wouldn’t mind not winning. That said, you always want to pay your respects, especially when it’s your best friend. Another friend and I have a joke that Friday has been renamed to Friyay, but there’s nothing yay about this day. Having to social distance means not being able to give a mother who helped raise a boy she didn’t expect to a hug when she’s hurting beyond belief at the loss of her only daughter. Elbow bumping with a father and brothers who are all understandably utterly distraught is no way to show how much you’re feeling for them. Being introduced to a friend’s girlfriend for the first time is cool, she’s someone who’s also close to this beautiful family. The fact that she’s pregnant and will give birth to a son or daughter is heart wrenching, yet wonderful on a day like this. It turns out that it’s possible to cry sad and happy tears at the same time.

The circle of life.

Funny the way it is.

@TheSamMcLeod

There will never be another like you.

Childhood friendships are one of the hardest relationships to keep on top of as you grow older. You might move away, he or she might move away, you can drift apart for any number of reasons, just life getting in the way. Whilst change will always happen, a lot of stuff stays the same if you’re invested in each other. Moving away from someone geographically doesn’t change the fact that for a long time you grew up together, you just need to make the effort to stay in touch, and if it’s someone important to you, that should be minimal, right? If you fall out, you fall back in as soon as you can. Sorry can be a difficult word to say, but if you’re in the wrong, suck it up and get it done. Anyone who has someone in their life that they don’t see for days, months or even years but the bond stays as strong as ever is a lucky person. It’s good to keep those types of human beings around you, surrounding yourself with the right people can never be a bad idea, they’ll tell you what you need to hear when you need to hear it.

We all pick up new friendships along the way, but no matter how many new friends you make, your first best friend will always be close to your heart. There are a ton of things about a friend that you’ve known for most of your life that you just can’t replace, some memories will keep you both entwined forever. Never take those for granted, one day they’ll be all you have.

I didn’t know that we were out of time.

From the first moment we were paired together for a task during our very first day at school at four years old, it was clear that we would be a thing. It wasn’t a unique friendship that other people haven’t similarly experienced, just a relationship that was uncomplicated, neither person ever had to second guess the other. No need to when that care, love and trust for someone evolves over years and years. She was cool, someone you could be stupid with one second and then deadly serious the next, a minute spent with her was better than time spent with a ton of girls. There was zero romantic involvement, the friendship was more important and there was absolutely no chance that distance or time would change things. Sure, she had no concept of the time difference between Scotland and Sydney, but if a call comes in the middle of the night, it gets answered. One rule was made, if something was needed by the other, it happened. Promises from some friends, or from anyone are like bars at 5 in the morning, completely empty but not with her. Girls came and went on my side, boys came and went on her side but there was always that one person that could be reached out to if needed, no judgements were made, just honesty, love and support offered. Catching up was the best, she never looked at me differently decades later than she did on that first day. A smile, a cheeky smirk when she was giving me shit, it was no effort to enjoy her company.

An unexpected couple of days in hospital for an operation means a lot of drugs, a lot of unconsciousness but zero access to the outside world, email and phone included, physical movement was a near impossibility. Once some sort of lucidity returns, finding a couple of dozen missed calls, countless text messages and a bunch of emails is more than concerning. Every form of communication is returned as soon as possible but nothing comes back. Until it does, but from someone else close to her and it’s the worst possible news.

We never had that call that was clearly needed and the fault sits with one person. The effort, as little as it could and should have been wasn’t made and that’s something that will haunt forever. It’s impossible to fathom sometimes despite how well you know someone, what they’re willing to do to themselves to not want to be around any more.

You can be completely crushed and sad or take your own time to try and deal with heartbreak in your own way. There’s nothing wrong with taking longer to come to terms with your emotions than most other people might, there are no rules with grief. It might be healthy to try and deal immediately but there is nothing wrong with taking time to try and figure out what the fuck just happened.

Today, tomorrow, the next day, the day after that until the end of time will be just another one that goes by without her and they’ll each be full of guilt. It sucks when you let yourself down but that pain is magnified when you let someone you love down. Try to never break a promise.

There’s no sleeping you off my mind, I miss you all the time.

@TheSamMcLeod

One heart that was broke in two.

‘Love us like friendship set on fire.’

Perhaps one of the hardest relationship questions you’ll bounce around in your head is whether or not falling in love with your best friend is a good idea. Sure, there could be potential in it, but you just know that it could be an absolute shitshow too. What to do? If your feelings aren’t reciprocated, it’s going to ruin your friendship, isn’t it?

Maybe a lot of relationships begin as friendships and grow into something more meaningful that’ll impact you in a big way. Do you take that chance? You can never know initially but that shouldn’t stop you from imagining a future with someone who loves you. There’s nothing wrong with waking up next to your best friend.

All you want from that significant someone is for them to be there for you, the one shoulder you know you can lean on when you need to, to be your everything. Someone you can laugh with, somebody emotionally comfortable enough with you that they’re okay if you ever cry. Too much to ask?

Common sense tells you to never fall for your best friend, they’ll break you. It’s easy to think that it might not be that way for you but how can someone be so naive to think that they’re any different to anyone else? You have an intrinsic awareness though that once you change the way you look at a friend, you go all in or you stifle your feelings. It’s funny how things work sometimes, you can fall for someone without realising it and so when you finally do, it’s too late. You can’t just switch those feelings off.

Maybe some of us know immediately who it is we’ll end up with and that’s cool. If you don’t know, you have to take a leap of faith. Chances are though, one of you is going to fuck up and spoil every shared moment that’s gone before.

Maybe you shouldn’t have gone there that night.

You don’t need to like someone from the first second you see them, but a friendship can start and progress from there. In the beginning of whatever this was, there was a lot of laughter and smiles. Until there wasn’t.

Cheating, infidelity, call it what you want but it’s a game changer. Is it worse to emotionally cheat on somebody? Calling, emailing, texting someone you shouldn’t be, that counts too, doesn’t it? You don’t accidentally bump into someone in a hotel and decide that you’re going to spend the night, a lot of work has gone into that arrangement. There are millions of people in the world who make good decisions every day, someone chose not to. Let’s face it, you can’t choose to be monogamous whenever you feel like it. None of us can ever ask for 101% from someone but 99% isn’t enough. Is there anything worse than betrayal, than being deceived by someone who you thought was everything? When you lie to someone, aren’t you also lying to yourself?

Maybe some positivity can come from bad things though, you end up appreciating the more humble part of yourself. You might not need it but a gentle reminder sometimes of how to treat people can never be a bad thing. You can take whatever you want from any experience, getting rid of toxicity is good, and whilst there’s bound to be a bit of heartbreak, don’t we all know we’re better off alone than staying with someone who is quite happy to knowingly hurt you?

Sometimes the hardest part of loving someone is that moment when the penny drops that the best thing you can do for them, far less yourself, is to let them go. It’s a shame when someone fucks up but better to know as early as possible what their character is really like. It’s okay to choose poorly on occasion, hopefully it makes you a bit cleverer the next time you’re in the position of picking someone that you want to get close to.

Spin it to your family, friends or on social media in any way that you want, only one of us ruined something built up for years for a relationship that lasted for hours. Turns out that best friends can become strangers a lot quicker than strangers can become friends.

Maybe you should have told a little less lies, maybe you shouldn’t have gone and ruined my life for one night.

@TheSamMcLeod