This kind of day has no night.

Adversity sucks, it’ll break you or make you, but you can choose the way in which it manifests itself, even if you don’t realise it in that initial moment. So many of us are touched by adversity every single day, we fall down, some of us never get back up, whereas others go through tough times and discover things about ourselves that we never knew, and so we come out of the other side stronger. Just a mindset, right? It’s not always that easy though.

Maybe strength doesn’t come from the things that you think you can do to get past something, it happens from overcoming the things you think that you can’t do. Perhaps in times of adversity and change, we don’t realise that a figurative kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world to ever happen to us. Wouldn’t you take one if it meant that something amazing might happen to you after you get yourself together when your world has fallen apart? Stars are there all day, every day, but they can’t shine without darkness.

You can want to do everything yourself but it’s okay to lean on friends for advice, even if it’s just cliches and platitudes that you hear. Be brave, try and be calm, take a step back and look at everything closely, stay strong, push on with everything. All lovely sentiments but not necessarily inspiring. So you look elsewhere, let’s face it, you can find inspiration in a shit ton of different ways. Music, books, television, the medium doesn’t matter as long as it helps you move on.

Not moving mountains, but digging the ground that you’re on.

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when your life changes for the worse. Just maybe though, humility emerges at the exact point when your knees fall to the floor and we tell ourselves that some things need to change, starting with our attitude. It can be contagious, so you should want to make sure that your’s is worth catching.

Hospitals are never a good place to be in, unless someone is giving birth or getting better. When you spend 22 hours a day on your own, it’s easy for your mind to wander about what comes next and what your future holds, it’s difficult to get motivated. It’s okay to look at other people in your life though, and use them and their experiences to motivate you to try and help you.

The friend who’s just been at Yosemite and has posted the most beautiful pictures. Yosemite promptly gets added to the good list. A friend in Sydney who’s just had a baby, so the availability for babysitting duties has just been activated. The girl in Boston who keeps posting pictures of her adventures on the weekend, super jealous. The best friend who’s just had his first child after years of trying. He kept going, literally, and seeing his happiness in his baby girl puts things in a different context. The friend who has finally convinced the girl he’s liked for ages to go out with him. Is he punching? Fuck yes, but he didn’t give up. The other friend who decided to jack in his job and buy a motorcycle and ride across the States. How cool is that?

Sometimes, things come along unexpectedly that motivate you and are a lot less personal. 22 hours is a lot of time to fill, and although sleep happens fitfully, awake time still needs to be filled. Netflix, Amazon Prime, iPlayer, YouTube, all feature heavily.

A random show pops up on YouTube from Food Network as a recommendation, Guy’s Grocery Games, Kitchen Heroes. Just another food show, shouldn’t be anything overly exciting. Wrong. The owner of a restaurant in Richmond, Virginia who donates 100% of his profits to help alleviate hunger in his hometown. Humbling as fuck. The guy who used his restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to feed hundreds of people every day affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Astonishing kindness. The lady who opened a restaurant to everyone who can’t afford to pay for a meal but lets them contribute by helping out. The other lady who started a culinary internship for disadvantaged teens. How can it hurt to offer a helping hand?

Another recommendation follows straight after, The Brotherhood of Football. A story about a kid from Temecula, California, a promising young QB for Linfield Christian football who gets a bad injury and needs to get part of one of his legs amputated. There are tears but now, everything takes on a new perspective, life could be worse, people everywhere are going through much worse things than me.

You binge watch TV shows if you have some time on your hands, don’t you? Some can surprise you, you might not immediately a fan of what you think the content is, but until you watch it, you’ll never really know. Take Friday Night Lights, probably the second best television series of all time. We all know what the best is, don’t even @ me.

Things is, Friday Night Lights will make you feel all of the feelings. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about American football, it isn’t just about the game; it’s about relationships that will drag the caring out of you.

Take Coach Eric and wife Tami, it’s almost a perfect ideal of love and friendship. Ups and downs, making sacrifices so they can both carry out their personal dreams, whilst treating each other as an equal. Perfect relationship goal right there.

Obviously there has to be a bad guy in the show but what if deep down inside he’s a really good guy, even though he doesn’t always let it become apparent? None of us always make the right decisions, but he wants to, so that has to be important, doesn’t it? It’s okay too when you’re emotionally unavailable, which can be part of the allure to someone. Layers and vulnerability, anyone else beginning to recognise themselves? Seeing someone become a better person, never a bad thing. It can motivate.

How about those days gone by when a flirtation turned into a crush which turned into a relationship? We’ve all been there. Want to go to bat for the underdog? You’re in luck. 76 episodes will basically rip your heart out, yet you still come back for more. Maybe it’s time to ask that person out?

Sure, football is a major part of the series, but at it’s heart it’s about people having a fighting chance at making their dreams come true. Not a bad thing to be thinking about when you’re hurting, when you’re struggling. You find your motivation where you can. It’s not for everyone, but the levels of inspiration might just make you think you can do anything if you set your heart and mind to it. Never a bad thing to put yourself out there but also not to be scared any more to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Like strands in a ball of yarn, life can get tangled. Just maybe though, something good this way comes.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Laugh when you cry.

Does everything happen for a reason? We’ve all heard that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people, but isn’t it complete nonsense? Everyone of us does good things in our lives, sometimes for ourselves, sometimes for others but now and again we fuck up. It turns out we can all be a dick. We hurt the people we care about, we hurt the people we don’t care about, and sometimes it’s not even on our radar. It’s just fallibility, the tendency to make mistakes or be wrong about something, a situation, it could be anything. Hopefully we all get the big things right though and if there are wrong decisions made, they’re for tiny matters that don’t affect anyone too much, us included.

Good things happening in your life are the best. A new relationship, meeting new and old friends, an exciting job opportunity, the chance to travel, it could be anything, couldn’t it? Ticking off bucket list things, your team winning the World Series, current champs, thank you very much. Seriously though, don’t we all try and work every day to make things better for every single person in our lives? Now and again though, maybe karma becomes a thing. You fucked up at some point in your past so the next little while for you isn’t going to be enjoyable.

Perhaps sometimes things have to go wrong in order for everything else to start to go right. When you appreciate that though, who knows what your future holds? You can’t just take a peek, you have to open your eyes all of the way if you want to find out what it is you’re made of and what lies ahead. Deniability can sometimes be your best friend and it’s a perspective that few of us ever get, it can be surprisingly energising.

Perceiving your hardest times might just be your inner self telling you that they’re a path to something better. Sure, we all want to take gigantic steps but aren’t baby steps okay in the beginning? It’s okay to break the rules when sometimes you hit a run of bad luck, who knows what comes next?

Give me some sort of sign.

Have I done bad things? I have but, in third grade, I didn’t cheat on my history exam. In fourth grade, I didn’t steal my uncle Max’s toupee and glue it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I didn’t I knock my sister Edie down the stairs and blame it on the dog. I don’t even have a sister called Edie. When my mum sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch, I didn’t go nuts and I pig out before they kicked me out, I’m not fat. The worst thing I’ve never done is when I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaa, and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all of the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I’ve never felt so bad in my entire life. None of that ever happened but nice work if you got the reference.

Have I cheated on someone? Yes, more than just flirting or kissing, an absolutely dick move. Have I been involved with someone who I knew was in a relationship? Sadly, yes, I fucked up. Have I lied to someone? Yep. Have I lied to cover up for someone else? More times than I care to count. Did I tell a girl that I loved her when I didn’t really mean it? Regretfully so, not cool. There have been a shit ton of good things that I’ve done too but a wise woman once told me that self praise was no reward. Clever lady.

Life can make you question everything at times, am I doing something wrong, am I getting anything right? Self doubt, a shitter of a thing. Maybe it’s karma raising it’s head again, who ever really knows? You can probably run on the fumes of trying to tell yourself that you’re okay for as long as you want, but eventually things will hit you hard.

The thing is that sometimes the process of changing and growing up includes going through feeling like you’ve fallen far from where you used to be. To be candid, when you hit rock bottom, you can only climb up, right? It can be difficult to talk though especially if you want to sing.

When you have to stay in a hospital bed for 23 hours a day, you get to thinking about a multitude of things. Have I fucked up? Big time. Have I done some good? Damn straight to both. When you have to ponder what’s gone before, perhaps you let yourself get ready for what comes next. It’s when you go through hard times you realise that you can have moments when you’re proud of yourself, that you’re comfortable with at least some of the choices that you’ve made. It’s easy to be pessimistic when you’re struggling, but don’t you need to have hope that things will twist in your favour?

Things have been switched up and moved forward. Today could change everything but there is an acceptance that life comes with both wins and losses. Let’s hope for a W.

All that I want is to wake up fine.

@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 somewhere before and I push as hard as I can. She smiles, does some more tests and leaves telling me to stay strong.

I realise where I heard them and what the song is. It’s my iPhone so 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