Don’t let yourself sink.

‘Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.’ James Conant, a former president of Harvard said those words, clever guy. Maybe the consonants and vowels that left his mouth are about stepping out into the unknown and finding out what we’re all made of, perhaps trying to find that positive attitude towards change and your willingness to take risks in order to move forward with everything that you have going on in your life. Some days are easier than others though, aren’t they?

Just how it is, different things have a way now and again of hurting your heart or throwing you a curveball. When whatever you have going on throws you a left hook, you always want to hit back harder if you can. Easier said than done sometimes, but the thing is, if you look hard enough inside, you can always find something redeeming in even the worst of situations. It would be nice if we were immune to hurt, emotionally and physically but none of us are superheroes.

That said, the easiest thing in the world to do when you’re struggling with things is to sit and feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully a day comes though when you’re done sulking, you realise that you need to suck it up and fight back. Stick on the big boy pants and start with the one person that you can directly affect, maybe you’ll surprise yourself. Haven’t you got to keep moving on, try and get past all of the bad shit and look for something that will keep you moving forward? There’s nothing easier than doing all of the things that we always do, but when you get that feeling of doing that something different, shouldn’t you try and begin a new chapter? Sure, it matters what your life story has been up until that moment when you get that you’re not happy, or when you realise that you need something more. Undoubtedly, special things have happened to you so far, you’ve perhaps met the best person in your life that you’ll ever meet, you know that you have someone that you’ll love forever unconditionally. How about embracing the fact that you can write the rest of your story though, even if it’s just a tiny part?

We’ll all check out one day but before you do, don’t you want to check in first? Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, even if it’s risky, even if it might accelerate the checking out process? None of us wants to let the world rob us of something that we’ve always dreamt about doing. Sometimes you realise where it is that you need to be in that one moment when you suddenly get it and you need something to get you through whatever you’re experiencing right now. Maybe it’s time to completely let go of what you know, what you’ve been comfortable with, even just for a little while.

You haven’t come this far to fall off the earth.

When January 1st comes around, we all hope and believe that the new year will be our year. Some of us will make resolutions, hopefully most of us stick to them, but there’s that curveball again, something happens that you didn’t see coming. The end of a friendship, a relationship. The start of a new friendship, a new relationship. Illness, having to move house, switching jobs, fuck, it could be almost anything, couldn’t it? Good and bad things, they happen to all of us.

2019 is not going to plan so far.

Flying thousands of miles across the world to try and resurrect something that never really stood a chance. Having people that are important pass on. Being subjected to unexpected hospital stays, leaving said hospital, and then having to go back because your male pride makes you ignore medical advice because you had a ticket for the game. Spot the idiot. It turns out that this idiot though accidentally did something good amongst all of the bad, this unexpected stay might actually do some good and take care of something that was unexpected. That said, anyone who’s ever been in hospital knows how lonely a place it can be, what is there to do? If you said to your younger self that you’d spend more than 20 hours of your day in bed, you’d be pretty excited. Who is she, do we take showers together, where do we order food from, does anywhere deliver beer? Do I even float the idea of her wearing a Celtic top?

Just silliness, but a long time spent on your own gets you to thinking. If you’re facing challenges, isn’t it natural for your thoughts to turn to all of the things that you always wanted to do? Like every other choice or decision in your life, you need to pick one first, the rest can follow later. Sometimes you have no clue where the ideas about all of the things that you want to do in your life came from.

The night grows dark, but I’m wide awake. I post a tweet looking for advice about something that I’ve always wanted to do and a good friend replies with a belter of a recommendation.

I have zero clue why, but riding a freight train across the US has always been a thing. Is it illegal? Yes. Is there a chance of being arrested? Absolutely. Could I die? You know it. NYC to LA is the preferred option, always good to end a trip with meeting a close friend. There was a study conducted once and a thousand people were asked if they could know in advance whether or not they would want to know the day of their death. 96% of people said no. Is it wrong to want to be one of the other 4%? Chances are, it might be on one of those days. The journey could last a day, it could last a month.

On the outside looking in though, doesn’t it seem that people who are the happiest do whatever it takes to get to whatever they feel one of their highest points is to overcome all of their obstacles? Perhaps it begins with doing something that you never thought you’d do.

What will it take? Courage, determination, hope, perseverance and strength. Damn skippy, but that’s the same for anyone of us who’s fighting with something. It’s tough but don’t giving up on something that’s challenging.

Wherever it is that you want to get to, make fucking sure that you appreciate the view.

Just keep your head above.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

If.

How cool would it be if you could go back in time and have at your fingertips, all of the knowledge that you have now? If you could, you’d probably give your younger self a ton of advice. Which career path to follow, who you should pursue romantically, where in the world you want to see, decide on all of the things that you have in your day to day life that will make you happy. Sure, there will be some bad days and nights along the way, but you try as hard as you can to have the right people around you who enrich your life and automatically make your day better.

There will be a misstep now and again but just maybe our mistakes are the experiences that we need to learn. Things are constantly changing, you’re always evolving, whether it’s emotionally, physically or in any other number of ways. Your life won’t always be perfect, but don’t you want to look back on it and know that’s how you wanted it to be? You have to make the decisions though at some point, some easy, some more difficult, but time isn’t going to be on your side forever. Perhaps one day, you have an epiphany and you know what it is that’s out there for you from now on. Something can happen to you that makes you stop for a second and really think about your own mortality. Today was such a day. The human heart beats sixty to eighty times a minute. You don’t feel it, or notice it, but you certainly don’t want it to stop beating.

Has anyone ever made a bucket list?

I’ve done plenty of things in my life so far that I wanted to do, some big, some small. Get a tattoo, accept a dare. go on a blind date. Ask out the girl of my dreams, she said no, probably sensible on her part. Run across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise and sunset. Attend a film premiere. Look out from the crown of the Statue of Liberty, look out over New York from the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock observatory deck. See a band live in said city. Visit the Library of Congress, spend some time in Washington DC, visit the White House. To have done it when Obama led that great nation, was even better. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, it’s chilly up there, wrap up warm. Get lost in Venice with a girlfriend. Live in a different country, stand on the glassdeck of the Willis Tower in Chicago and check out the city. See the Northern Lights, take in a game at the Camp Nou. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Visit Arlington Cemetery. Cross the Equator. Ride the Cyclone at Coney Island and the Ferris Wheel in Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square. RIP. Not ashamed to say that I jumped in front of a kid just so that I could have the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. Sorry little man. Complete a Man v Food challenge. Try oysters. Buy someone a first edition of their favourite book. Visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam. If you’re about to ask a certain question, then the answer is no. Learn a foreign language that wasn’t forced on you from school. My Mandarin is fairly coming along! Stand on the pitch at Celtic Park. Complete a round of golf in under 100 strokes. Treat my girlfriend to front row seats to New York Fashion Week. Kiss a female celebrity. Look for the Loch Ness Monster. Ten minutes and that one was ticked off. Send a woman a drink across the bar. She didn’t send one back. Eat the hottest chilli pepper in the world. Dance on the piano from Big. See the Berlin Wall.

It’s nice when you can do things that you’ve always wanted to. Now’s the time to make a new list though.

If it’s meant to be, it’ll be?

There is no cure for curiosity, right? It’s difficult to take that first step and sometimes you don’t want to do all of your things alone. Maybe you need to take the plunge and ask the question, if there’s someone special that you want to share these things with? It’s a lot like penguins before they enter the ocean. Loads of them will go right to the edge, but none will leap into the water until one goes first, and then everyone follows. If one hesitates, they all hesitate. Take the chance, right?

Sometimes, you have no idea what it is you want, you just know you want. Sometimes, you know exactly what it is that you want to do though, to experience, to see. It can be difficult to think of things, on some days you’re not exactly getting punched in the face by the good idea fairy. If you make a list, does it matter if it has one thing or a hundred things on it? A small list is made. Baby steps, a list can always be added to.

Sit on the H of the Hollywood sign drinking bourbon. Write a book. Visit every NFL stadium, visit every MLB stadium. Combine them both and raise money for charity. I’m going to need some serious time off for that one. Visit Alcatraz and then run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Go to the airport and take the next flight to somewhere random. One of these is in progress and one will happen next weekend.

Wherever your story takes you, however difficult it is at the time, isn’t there is always some sort of hope that you’ll be okay? Better to be an optimist at heart?

The only things I like less than mysteries are surprises, so this will be a cathartic thing. You can put your entire personal life in a box and slam the lid shut but what’s the point? It’s a cliche but are we here for a good time or a long time?

Do we do all that we set out to do? Will we manage to tick everything off?

Maybe we do, maybe we don’t, maybe we will, maybe we won’t.

You have to ask yourself many questions when you’re making a list. What if you need to ask one more question?

@TheSamMcLeod

Everybody dies but not everybody lives.

Decisions, decisions. Buy ice cream or not? Pretty easy. Have a beer tonight or not? Again, not too difficult to choose. How about moving across the world to be with someone? How about deciding to marry someone? How about deciding to have children with someone? Some decisions are more important than others, aren’t they?

Isn’t the rule that whatever seems to be a massive and potentially life-changing decision, the less it seems like a decision at all? Perhaps the worst part of it is that other people can make life-changing decisions for you. Just life, I guess.

Is it easier if you ask yourself the question? If you’re going to though, you need to trust that you’ll be able do something with the answers, don’t you?

Maybe someone broke up with you, maybe you were the one who ended it. Still tough either way. Is it true that sometimes we need to be absolutely heartbroken by something, before we finally understand how bad it was for us? How about how good things might become?

Sometimes, something horrible in your life can occur in a split second that changes your life forever. You didn’t see it coming, how were you possibly to know?

The thing is that no matter how much planning you do, one tiny mis-step, one moment of a lack of concentration can end it all in an instant. Life, right?

You can plod through your life with nothing changing from one day, one week, one month, to the next. It doesn’t really matter how much you ask for something to shake you up, don’t you need to take control of it yourself?

Your world has changed. No one else might know anything about it but all of a sudden, your next heartbeat will be different to the last one. Deep breaths.

So what do you do now? You want things to be real, don’t you? Not for them just to be an idea that you have. How about a plan? How about deciding to do everything that you’ve ever wanted to do? A bucket list?

Bucket lists are supposed to be about doing things you’ve always dreamt about, not about making the wrong things in your life right.

Everyone surely has a path to follow that’s important to each of us. It’ll be different for every single one of us, of course, but isn’t it important to find that one reason to live and to appreciate the life that you have? It could be anything. What would be on your list?

Imagine going through the whole of your lifetime without laughter. How about laughing every day? Simple wishes.

It’s cheesy but don’t you need to seize the day before the sun sets every night? You’ll need to take a deep breath and almost take a blind leap of faith. Scary as shit. Let go of what is worthless, invest your time in the things that you want to do and the people that you care about. Everything important to you is precious, isn’t it? Holding them close because they won’t be here forever. The people as well as the moments.

Again, so what do you do? Dream a new dream, set another goal? Tomorrow, smile at a stranger and mean it. Fuck it, do it today.

If your dreams don’t scare you, are they big enough?

If things aren’t making sense or adding up in your life, isn’t it time to start subtracting? Is it true, is it helpful, is it inspiring, is it kind, is it necessary? If you answered yes to all five questions, then you know what to do. Everything that you’ve ever wanted. It might not always be easy but fuck, won’t it always be worth it? Make a list. I’ve just done it. Shouldn’t you be excited to try and give yourself everything that you’ve ever wanted in your life? Wise people will tell you that no one ever gets everything that they want, and whilst that’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it worth trying for all of those things?

Doing the things you love is like a good marriage. Once you get into it, it’s difficult to get out of and why the hell would you want to?

You let your success make your noise, don’t you? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, worth a try at least. Maybe the little things you do in your life will become big things when you look back on them.

How about travel? Doesn’t it force you to trust strangers and to lose sight of everything that you thought you knew? You are constantly out of your comfort zone. You’re not au fait with everything in your life any more. All of your journeys will have secret destinations, won’t they?

Whether it’s travel related or not, you’ll have no idea where to leave from and and no clue about where you’ll end up going. Pretty cool.

Make a list of the things that you want to do and start ticking them off. No, you’re not lucky, you’re blessed.

@TheSamMcLeod

Each day is a gift.

Lets imagine different scenarios for the question posed by the video title.

What would you do differently with the decisions that you’ve made?

What would you do differently, if?

If today was the last day of your life? If today was the last day of a relationship that has run it’s course? If today was the last night in a house that you’ve lived in forever? If today was the last day in a job that you can’t wait to be rid of? What if today was the end of the life of someone you loved deeply?

Choices are difficult.

You need to pick or choose though.

In the words of Ewan McGregor, Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.

If you had 24 hours until your life changed forever, what would you do?

Tonight, I ask myself that question and I couldn’t be happier.

Need something that I can confess.

On September 20th of 2013, I wrote a bucket list of 100 things that I wanted to do before I died. I’m 43 things down, the more arithmetically clever of you, may have noticed that this means that there are 57 to go.

This is number 89.

89. Tell the absolute truth for 24 hours, Liar Liar style.

I haven’t done that yet but it’ll be ticked off by the end of the weekend. It’s probably cheating to include sleep as part of the 24 hours so I’ll calculate it by me being awake for that whole period.

Some people may not understand or get the thoughts behind this but I think about my bucket list on an almost daily basis and I really want to tick those 100 things off. I must get checked for OCD!

Number 89 came into my head today after bumping into an old female friend. After the usual chit-chat was done, the conversation between us turned to relationships and old times. Many of our mutual friends have ended up together, symptomatic of coming from a small town, I guess.

After a major catch up, she then asked me if I wanted to go back to her house to spend the night. If anyone reads this, and they are male, they will likely be screaming at me about my thinking but I said no. I don’t like her in that way and it would be unfair to lead her on. I was bizarrely truthful about this and I told her that. Am I a chump?

This made me think about number 89. It made me think too about confessing about some sorts of secrets or confessions, big or small. Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of secrets but here are a few:

1. CB. In Primary One, I did pinch your yellow miniature NYC taxi car. I’m incredibly sorry. It’s doubtful that you’ll read this but I still know where you live so I’ve already bought a replacement and will post you the new one in the morning.

2. FB. You were my first girlfriend in primary school. I did kiss Claire at the pantomime, even though I said that I didn’t, sorry.

3. CS. You were my best friend and I’ve shared so many experiences with you. We’ve not kept in touch as much as we should have and for that, I apologise.

4. VC. You were the biggest mistake of my life. Mostly my fault, not a lot to do with you.

5. CC. Timing is everything, I guess. It was never meant to be and I wish that I had told you that.

6. EW. I miss you more than anyone in the world.

7. AK. Despite me denying it at the time, your Mum did hit on me. In the words of Brandon Flowers, “It was only a kiss”.

8. JT. I should have asked you out for drinks at the very least.

9. CM. I’m smiling wryly at an opportunity missed.

10. LS. Will I ever get over you?

Secrets no longer, 44 down.

Each breath that you take has a thunderous sound.

The expression “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” first appeared in 1911. It was in a newspaper article quoting Arthur Brisbane, who was one of the best known American newspaper editors of the 20th century. It’s a saying that I’ve always liked but what I like more are pictures or art, that contain only words. Today someone showed me this.

image001-1

Needless to say, I love it and and agree with the words entirely.

It’s easy to take things for granted and that is something that I have been guilty of recently, something that I’m ashamed of. Just those words have made me think about how lucky we all are, life is truly magic.

It also made me stop and think about my bucket list. There are 100 things on there that I want to do in my lifetime and I intend to make sure that every single one of them happens. They’re in no particular order and I’ve never shared these before with anyone at all but here goes.

1. Get a tattoo.

2. Make a toast at a stranger’s wedding.

3. Accept a dare.

4. Go on a blind date.

5. See a dead body.

6. Ask out the girl of my dreams.

7. Attend a film premiere.

8. Visit Alcatraz.

9. Look out from the crown of the Statue of Liberty.

10. Run across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise.

11. Run across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.

12. Parachute jump from a plane.

13. Sit on the H of the Hollywood sign drinking Jack Daniels.

14. Lift the Champions League trophy.

15. Take in a game at the Nou Camp.

16. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

17. Write a book.

18. Go to the top of the Empire State Building.

19. Go to the Top of the Rock observatory deck.

20. Watch an NBA game at Madison Square Garden.

21. Watch an MLB game at Fenway Park.

22. See a band live in New York.

23. Visit the Library of Congress.

24. Visit Chicago.

25. Visit Boston.

26. Take a boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait.

27. Run across the Golden Gate Bridge.

28. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

29. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge.

30. Have a meal at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant.

31. Take a train journey throughout Europe.

32. Get lost in Venice with a girlfriend.

33. Live in a different country.

34. Visit Niagara Falls.

35. Stand on the glassdeck of the Willis Tower in Chicago.

36. Gamble in Las Vegas.

37. See the Northern Lights.

38. Spend the night in a beach villa in the Maldives.

39. Visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

40. Walk the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

41. Learn a foreign language.

42. Fire a gun.

43. Get drunk at Oktoberfest.

44. Drink Guinness in Dublin.

45. Sleep under the stars.

46. Watch the World Cup in the host country.

47. Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

48. Visit O Cristo Redentor in Rio De Janerio.

49. See a play on Broadway.

50. Donate blood.

51. Cross the Equator.

52. Wake up on Christmas morning in New York. Preferably in the style of Home Alone 2 at The Plaza Hotel!

53. Visit Arlington Cemetery.

54. Ride the Cyclone at Coney Island.

55. Ride the Rocky Mountaineer.

56. Take a cooking class from a professional chef.

57. Go to the Rio Carnival.

58. Go to the airport and take the next flight to somewhere random.

59. Complete a Man v Food challenge.

60. Ride the Ferris Wheel in Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square.

61. Pay for a stranger’s groceries.

62. Take a train journey from the west coast of the US to the east coast.

63. Drink mescal in Mexico.

64. Try oysters.

65. Buy someone a first edition of their favourite book.

66. Take one second of video every day for a year.

67. Have a drink in the hidden bar in Grand Central Station.

68. Stand on the pitch at Celtic Park.

69. Join the mile high club. Absolute coincidence that this is the number it is!

70. Buy a drink for everyone in a bar.

71. Fly somewhere first class.

72. Start a blog.

73. Complete a round of golf in under 100 strokes.

74. Spend a night in jail.

75. Crash a wedding reception.

76. Go on holiday to Las Vegas with the guys.

77. Treat my girlfriend to front row seats to New York Fashion Week.

78. See the Hoover Dam.

79. Kiss a female celebrity.

80. Spend Christmas Day on a beach in a hot country drinking cocktails.

81. Write my will.

82. Take a holiday abroad alone.

83. Invent a cocktail.

84. Visit Harvard.

85. Order a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen.

86. Look for the Loch Ness Monster.

87. Visit Tokyo.

88. Go to Carnival in Venice.

89. Tell the absolute truth for 24 hours, Liar Liar style.

90. Attempt the Centurion Challenge, 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes.

91. Slide the Jumeirah Sceirah waterslide in Dubai.

92. Take the Edge Walk at the CN Tower in Toronto.

93. Send a woman a drink across the bar.

94. Eat the hottest chilli pepper in the world.

95. Dance on the piano from Big.

96. Eat at the best restaurant in the world.

97. View the hidden subway station in Grand Central Station.

98. See the Berlin Wall.

99. See the hidden City Hall station.

100. Practice 365 days of gratitude, do something nice for someone every day.

I’m 36 down, 64 to go.

There are many things that are much more important to me than this list which require my focus and attention but I think this is a fun thing to do. Needless to say, everyone that I’ve spoken to who has such a list, has differing things on there and that is how it should be. It’s an individual thing but I’m thankful that many different people have shared the first 36 things to be ticked off.

I’m incredibly excited to see who will share the experiences still to come.

These streets will make you feel brand new.

Trying to find a work/life balance is hard, right?

Working in recruitment, I hear stories every day from jobseekers who are desperate to move on from their current role and employer because the hours demanded of them have just become too much. Work has taken over, there is no quality time outside of work, definitely not the best scenario for a balanced life.

I’m more than sympathetic because I know that we all need to work to keep the lights on, to pay the mortgage and to meet our financial commitments. That said, it is always good if we can get a holiday or a break to recharge those batteries to set us up for the rest of the year. Who doesn’t love a holiday?

Last week, I had hoped to be in New York for a week or so with the single most important person in my life, my daughter. Due to my work circumstances, I ended up breaking a promise to her and that hurts so bad. Our time away didn’t happen and it was down to me not being able to find that balance. Needless to say, you all know what that feeling is like when you disappoint someone, it is heartbreaking. Do I need to make it right? Absolutely.

The dates were difficult in the end due to work and it’s all the more disappointing now that I can manage a holiday, having got through the crazy spell of a busy time. Having had a hell of a year, I’ve now been able to book some time to go away.

Chicago is the first port of call, somewhere that I have never been. I hear that it is a beautiful city, I’m sure it’ll be amazing.

From there, New York beckons before some time in Boston. Having been to New York many times before, the anticipation is amazing. It’s a mindblowing city, constantly evolving and full of some of the most friendly and incredible people that I’ve ever had the fortune to meet.

The US Open tennis is on, I’ll catch an MLB game and I’ll tick some more things off of my bucket list.

I can’t explain the reason why but I’ve always wanted to climb the Statue of Liberty and see out through the crown. This has not something that has always been possible due to the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the natural disaster of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Someone close to me today booked us a chance to be able for me to experience this. Whilst she wanted to do it herself, she knew that it was something that I was eager to do and it was done for my benefit, how cool? Given that this normally needs to be booked months in advance, I’m staggered that someone would do this for me. How good to us are our best friends? One thoughtful gesture can really make your day.

I leave seven weeks today to have my main holiday for the year. I’m so excited that I probably couldn’t put it into words.

That said, it is more than tinged with sadness that Emily won’t be with me.

Another time soon hopefully, fingers crossed..