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.

In my head, in my heart, in my soul.

A lot of us have a daily routine, dropping the kids off at school, picking them up, telling your other half that you love them, preparing dinner. Everything in your life can be normal, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’ll have some things that’ll come along too which will take you out of your comfort zone and that’s a cool thing. We’ll all have some days, nights and moments that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives when those chances present themselves, but you can make your own moments too, right? Travel, random acts of impulse, some family and friend things, we can all choose the things that we want to do. It’s great to say yes to things, but it’s entirely your prerogative to say no to others. It’s your life, you choose how you want to live it. When you’re old, don’t you want to look back on your life and recall all the memories that you cherished? That you still cherish.

The thought of getting old gets to all of us at some point. We all know that we’re going to die, it’s hardly breaking news. Perhaps Jhonen Vasquez articulates it better than most, “Nothing quite brings out the zest for life in a person like the thought of their impending death.” If you’ve made sure you’re exactly the person that you hoped you would be, then maybe you’d care a little bit less if you died tomorrow. If you’re going to die young, is it better to make that as late as possible? How do you want your world to end? Better with a bang, rather than a whimper surely.

A day will come when time and life shake hands and say goodbye to each other.

When you get told that when that day is likely to come, one of the last things that you need to be facing is an ordeal worse than the one you’ve just learned about, far less eight ordeals. Bang over whimper though, remember? Take a moment to think and then decide on the journey you want to take with the days you have left. It’s going to be a tough flight home, hard to tell people what’s happening, but it needs to be done. Sometimes it’s the silliest things that make you think. A remake of Point Break is watched on the plane and it’s surprisingly decent. If you’ve seen the film, you might have clicked that the Ozaki 8 is entirely fictitious, although the ideas behind it are real. Something clicks, a decision is made, eight choices/ordeals are chosen.

Ordeal 1 – Emerging Force (Dangerous Rapids)
Ordeal 2 – Birth of Sky (Mountain BASE Jump)
Ordeal 3 – Awakening Earth (Sky-to-Earth BASE Jump)
Ordeal 4 – Life of Water (Surf a 60+ Foot Wave)
Ordeal 5 – Life of Wind (Wingsuit Flight)
Ordeal 6 – Life of Ice (Snowboard an Unridden Line)
Ordeal 7 – Master of Six Lives (Climb a Cliff Face With No Safety Gear)
Ordeal 8 – Act of Ultimate Trust (Put Your Life in The Earth’s Hands)

Numero uno, kayak the Inga Rapids on the River Congo, the deadliest and largest rapids on the planet. Less than half the people who attempt it make it out alive, the odds are not good to make it onto the second one. Assuming all goes okay, mountains will quite literally be on the horizon. Base jump from the highest point off of one of the tallest mountains on the planet, seems a bit easier. Who doesn’t want to scale Mount Kilimanjaro? The bonus is that it’ll be quicker heading down than going up. Number three could be the end. Skydive from an airplane into the Cave of Swallows, the world’s deepest natural cave shaft in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The Empire State building could easily fit inside it, no pressure. Maybe a whimper would be a better idea. Four and five sound more than achievable. Nazaré on Portugal’s Silver Coast for some surfing and then onto Switzerland, one of the world’s best wingsuit destinations. Snowboard an unridden trail? Heading for a spot few people have ridden, where to go? Fjörðum in Iceland, Skeena Mountains in British Columbia, Gangkhar Peunsum in Bhutan, the world’s highest unclimbed peak. Good to have choices, I guess. All being well, six down, two to go. Do a Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 and head for Utah’s jagged Dead Horse Point? The Eiger, El Capitan in Yosemite or Mount Asgard in Nunavut. Ultimate trust, something we’d all like to have about everyone and everything in our lives, so if number eight makes it onto the horizon, then why not go big? The highest recorded cliff jump in history is a touch under 60 metres, just under 200 feet. Standing atop a cliff, stretching your arms out, staring down, and jumping off from hundreds of feet into the water below has to be epic, I guess there’s a reason it’s called tombstoning. Greece, Hawaii, Vermont, all good options. Might as well go out in style though, Angel Falls in Venezuela ticks the boxes. Home to the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, more than 16 times the height of the current world record height. Fuck it, why not?

Failure or success, everything remains exactly the way that it was, I’m me and you’re still you. Whatever we were to each other, nothing has changed. No one needs to be out of mind because they’re out of sight. A moment will happen one day and all will be as it was before.

It’s okay to accept that the earth folded in on itself.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

Give yourself a moment.

We all have a lot of stuff going on in our lives. Some good things, maybe some great things, some bad things, maybe some awful things. We all have a ton of problems, different things that we need to think about, to make decisions on every day. Some of them are known only to you; some might involve other people. Some things are big, some are little, but they’re definitely different for all of us. All of our problems are unique though, because we are unique. We all lead lives filled with issues, some can be changed or fixed easily, some can have you scratching your head about what the fuck to do about them. Just life I guess, sucks to be an adult at times.

Life can throw you a curveball when other people’s problems impact your life. You’d do anything for your family or friends though, wouldn’t you? Time to look after them before focussing on yourself, but whilst it’s not always the easiest thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. Help others, but if you can’t, the last thing you want to do is hurt them, so you try your hardest. Advice, a shoulder to cry on, letting them know that you’re at the end of the phone for them, let them know that they’re not alone. The little things sometimes turn into the biggest things. Isn’t it a beautiful concept that others come first and you come second? Perhaps it’s a form of love that makes you think, that makes you believe that the happiness of another person is essential to your own happiness. Loving a friend so selflessly means that you share in their happiness whether you are part of it or not.That can never be bad, make someone happy and be happy too, win win. Sure it’s easy to take from people, but sometimes all you can do is give until it hurts. You give what you can whether it’s a little or a lot. Maybe it’s who we are from the start? Like everyone that’s gone before all of us, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s easy to be a good friend to others but sometimes it’s more difficult to be more of a friend to yourself.

Caring and thinking of others is awesome but if your present moment is filled with good things, and you’re switched on, you see them. Maybe you need to give yourself your own advice and take yourself away from life for a while, and get totally immersed in the right now rather than everything else that’s going on around you. You need to stop and take a breath sometimes, give yourself a moment and let your body be. Count one, two, three.

An email drops into my inbox that I don’t expect. I don’t know the person, I have no idea when I see their email address and picture as to why I’m even on their radar. I read the message, I understand it and it’s an opportunity to change my life. Not in a Nigerian prince offering billions of dollars for my bank account details kind of way, but something that will need to turn the focus on myself, rather than the friends and family that I’ve been making sure are okay for the past number of years. It feels like that all I have and that all I need is right here in this moment. My index finger hovers over the reply icon. What if life is about not knowing as much as you think you know, about having to change everything, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next? Scary, but maybe every great move forward in your life begins with a leap of faith, with putting one foot in front of the other, taking a step into the unknown. I can be here now but will it be better to be somewhere else later? Consonants and vowels are formed, words take shape. The index finger hovers again but finally clicks the send button.

It’s taking a chance, but shouldn’t you try and promise yourself that you’ll enjoy every minute of the day that is given to you? No point in fucking worrying yourself with what happened yesterday, or what’s going to happen tomorrow, none of us know. What if you get that one call, that one email, that one text, that might change the possibility of everything for you? Maybe we all need to learn that this moment is enough, as long as we have the belief to make it so. It’s all an adventure, so why not try and look after yourself from time to time?

We all endure tough times and the dawning of a new year can feel almost cathartic. Looking after people rather than yourself is an emotionally draining experience. The here and now is all we have, but if we get it right, isn’t it all we’ll need? Nothing is more important than this day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so the focus needs to be on today. That said, there’s less than 72 hours until a meeting that could change my life forever. Those people I’ve been fighting for are okay now, but they might need to be without me for a little while, because this is about me for a second.

Excited?

It’s okay to be chasing stars and to find a place and lose it.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

The things no one can see.

Day 1.

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. If you have children, then maybe the 25th of December is all that it’s cracked up to be. Is there anything quite as heartwarming as the smile and the look of wonder on a child’s face, as they open their presents? Tradition is important at this time of the year. Presents, sure they’re materialistic, but who really cares? Everyone has their own things they do every year. Bucks fizz for breakfast, bacon rolls for lunch, maybe an afternoon nap. Isn’t part of the fun of the day, running downstairs on Christmas morning and discovering the pile of presents waiting for you under the tree, especially as a child? Is it really Christmas until the tree goes up? It’s all worth it though when you switch those lights on and see those smiles again. Don’t be doing that shit before December, it’s just not right.

A lot of us don’t have work to worry about for a couple of weeks, healthy eating goes out of the window, and it becomes acceptable to start drinking at 10am on a Tuesday morning. It’s also acceptable to be sitting around in your pyjamas all day and watching Christmas movies. You’ve checked out when your favourite Christmas film is on, Elf, maybe Home Alone. Usually when you have time off from work, there’s that pressure to actually do stuff. It’s different at this time of the year, you can sit back, have a few mince pies, a glass of something and feel no regrets. Spending time with family is maybe something that you don’t do much during the year, but the festive season is a chance to put that right. Sure, some of those family members might be annoying, but Christmas gives you that chance to spend some time with them.

It’s not always easy though if you’re not around the ones that you love. Christmas can be a lonely place and time. For all of it’s tradition of being together with family, it can make those feelings of loneliness feel difficult, regardless of who you have around. Tougher if you’re on your own though, right?

You can think too much about things just now. The year is nearly over and it’s been an emotional one. You’ve lost someone close to you, a relationship has ended, perhaps you’re not where you want to be or who you want to be with. The thought of a new year can be cathartic, hopefully everything changes for you if this year has been one that you’d rather forget. Time to make resolutions?

You can be who you were or who you’ll become.

How shit is it when you’re never more alone than when you’re in a relationship? Someone who has no inclination of your feelings and oblivious to your fears. There’s a casual compassion of friends sometimes, but on one level you understand it, everyone is busy at this time of year, even if they’re not religious. Better to be riding solo?

You don’t have anyone around to spend this magical day on, so what do you do? Travel is always a good plan, take yourself away and experience something and somewhere new. Dinner won’t be easy, but you could rock up somewhere and do something different, who says that pizza at Christmas is a bad idea? Shop for gifts for yourself, always nice to have something to open, even if you already know what it is. You can do all of these things and still be lonely though.

Maybe all you need to do is rejoice and reflect. Maybe things haven’t gone your way. Maybe you’re still grieving for everyone that you’ve lost in the last twelve months. It’s okay not to be immerged in the spirit of this time of year as long as you’re okay. It’s okay to remember one thing.

If it all goes wrong, just hold on.

@TheSamMcLeod

#YouMeMusicLifeResolutions

There’s no way I can pay you back.

When someone close to you passes away, everyone around you tells you that loss gets easier with time. Their hearts are in the right place, but they’re not telling the truth. Loss happens to all of us constantly, and the sadness would cripple us if it wasn’t for the support of friends and loved ones, so you can understand that they are hurting for you and that their words might not be quite right in that second. As time goes on, the thoughts of the person you’ve lost, becomes more infrequent and the periods of times that you miss them grow longer.

Something will happen to you occasionally though, maybe you hear a song or you see a photograph, and you remember to miss them again, but it’s still with a heartbreaking pain. You feel guilty because it’s been too long since you remembered missing them or thinking about them. It’s just life, you shouldn’t feel too bad, although you do. More words that you can appreciate but they feel hollow, don’t they? You’re sad and that’s okay.

Maybe from your sadness, a feeling of thankfulness takes place? Their passing can be a reminder to you that your moments are limited and that we should all grasp the chances we have to live as adventurously as we can, to be happy, to forgive, to love.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, but the plan is to show you that I understand.

The anniversary of losing someone is hard, but you need to try and stay strong for the family around you. It’s okay though to have some private time to yourself to cry, to grieve, to remember, even to smile.

Today is one of those days. You have me crying and smiling at the same time when I think of you. I miss you, we miss you. I love you, we love you. It might seem like it doesn’t happen every day, but it does. Thank you for being who you were.

You are appreciated.

Ticking of clocks.

Doesn’t having a type seem a bit restricting? You can say that you only like blondes, but then you can meet a brunette or a redhead who turn out to be fabulous. Do you ignore someone just because of some silly rule that you’ve created for yourself? Sometimes, someone comes into your life straight out of left field. Okay, it’s a baseball reference, but all it means is that something has happened to you that’s a little bit different, something untypical, something unusual. Hopefully it’s not a bad thing. You don’t need to try and find someone that you’re compatible with, maybe they find you, but you still need to work up the courage to talk to them. There are obvious pros and cons of dating, but you keep going until you find the person who might be the one. Could this finally be it?

It’s perfectly okay to decide to try someone new. Any new relationship always begins with a first for the both of you. Someone has to ask the first question and someone has to be ready with the first answer. There will be plenty of more firsts to come, if the answer to the question was yes. A first date, a first drink, a first meal together, a first kiss. Anything new is exciting. First never follows, right?

Sometimes though, one of you falls harder than the other.

What happens if one of you is rebounding? Perhaps the person that you meet, still hasn’t moved on from their previous relationship. They might want nothing to do with their ex, but feelings don’t just go away. Maybe that makes them want to embrace something new, as hard as they can. It’s understandable though. Do you wait around for the previous love, even though there’s a chance you’ll get hurt again?

Once they’ve moved on though, that first love can become interested again, sparking hope that everything can work again for them once more. Maybe the new person in your life now has this constant debate of whether or not to move on properly. It’s not easy for them but you need to think of yourself, so now you’re not sure what to do. First you lose trust, then you get worried. Another first. You can naturally become distant and that almost makes them more needy. Someone can tell you that they want you, but if their head isn’t in the right place, doesn’t that make you hesitant? Understandably, you don’t get too close, too fast. You feel hurt, so you move on. All well and good but too soon? It’s easy to get caught up in a back and forth game of who has your heart.

Getting close to someone can make us vulnerable, liking someone can somehow scare us off. When you truly open yourself up to someone and give them your trust, it can be an uneasy feeling. Someone new can do nothing to jeopardise things, but we can still be irrationally worried that something bad is going to happen because of things that have happened to us before. When you lose trust in someone or something, it’s not difficult to feel anxious and to expect the worst. It’s not fair but you feel how you feel.

It’s natural that you have the feeling that you’ll get hurt again and that you’ll become trapped about worrying what to do. The emotional miles add up. No one ever tells you where the edge of the pool is. You just wade out there and at some point, you find yourself in deep water. Do you keep on swimming or do you turn back? It’s easy to ask yourself, how am I the lucky one?

That feeling when you become close with someone. Maybe it’s something and nothing initially. A thing that just happened in the moment. It grows slower for one of you, but it still grows.

When you meet someone who has recently left someone, they might have chosen to move on, but isn’t there still going to be a love between the two of them? Maybe they chased you though? A lot of us have pursued and a lot of us have been pursued. We’ve all been rejected, and most of us have rejected at least one person in our lives. We all lose now and again, sometimes we win, nobody’s completely infallible. We know it’s unfair but it is what it is. Life.

Maybe you can be happy with someone new, but you can’t shake the feeling that maybe you should have stayed where you were. Maybe moving on was wrong, and you’re frightened that you’ll lose that love forever. Choose. You’re either in or you’re out. There are no more games to be played.

Focus on yourself. You never want to be so busy living that you forget to make a life for yourself. There’s no point in going looking for a pineapple if you already have a peach.

It was her. She was the one who showed interest first, she wanted this relationship first. She became confusing, someone that you couldn’t talk to about how you were feeling. She became cold and avoidant. It was confusing, given how she’d previously been so inviting. She said she wanted something, and then suddenly she wanted something different. Someone different.

I look at her and have no idea what she’s thinking. I used to think that I liked not having the answers to everything important. Now I know that I need them. I need to know. I do not deserve to wait around forever when you were there first.

@TheSamMcLeod

Light up your wildest dreams.

When is the best time to start or try something new? Today, tomorrow? Maybe it depends on what it is, perhaps nothing should have a timescale. A new job, a new relationship, moving house, are all massive changes in your life. You can be excited and scared at the same time, just human nature, right? Fear plays a big part in all of our lives, it doesn’t matter who you are. Perhaps if you can understand that fear on some level, things become slightly easier. It doesn’t really matter if you’re scared of getting into a new relationship, or taking a new job, or moving, you have to confront your fears at some point.

A lot of the time, when we make a plan to change our lives, it’s easy to focus on all the practical stuff. Isn’t it true though, that changing your life starts with changing the way that you see things in your life? You don’t choose to alter things otherwise. You’ve identified that something isn’t quite right, so you look for something different that will make you happier. You’re brave, because change isn’t easy.

Change is scary, no doubt about it. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it does though? Maybe the only way to find out if you’re going to be truly happy, is to risk exposing yourself to everything. Everyone gets things wrong. Not many of us realise the importance of a decision until we make a mistake. If you make the wrong choice a dozen times in a row, does making the thirteenth choice right, negate everything that’s gone before? You can make errors, you can take a risk and look like the silliest person in the world, but you have to keep on going. Doing something different might give you cause for concern, but if it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. Whatever you decide to do though, you do everything to make sure that it makes you happy. Common sense.

Sure, doubts can happen, but don’t you still take that step? Mistakes are often seen as a failure, but are they really? You learn from everything. Regret what you’ve done, rather that what you haven’t? How many chances do we get in a lifetime, and if we let them go, will we regret them for the rest of our lives? Those moments, when we lose them, can’t be found again. They’re just gone. What if you decide against changing things for the better? You’ll never know about those lost chances, those lost opportunities, those lost possibilities. It’s okay to be scared though. So many of us live a life that doesn’t make us happy, but we don’t ever take the initiative to change our situation. Isn’t one of the best things about being alive, having a passion for adventure and experiencing new things?

Be something greater, go make a legacy?

For example, what would you give for one more night with someone that you’ve lost? One more conversation, one chance to make up for the times when you took them for granted because you thought that they would be around forever? Wouldn’t you grab every minute of it and never give any of those minutes back until there was nothing left of them? Why not do the same for yourself?

Not all decisions need to be permanent, but isn’t that the same with indecision? Don’t you need to make a choice either way? Maybe your future comes from your past. Maybe there is another life that you could have had, but you’re having this one, so you make it the best you can. What if something happens to you and you can make it a new one? Maybe you don’t settle down in one place or stick with the same job. Everyone is different though. Hopefully, most of us will live a long time and have the opportunity to change our lives and move into an experience, but it will only happen if we want it to.

Maybe everything you want is out there for you to grab it, but if you don’t reach for it, you’ll never know. The only person you need to convince is yourself. If things are perfect in your life, then you’re super lucky. If they’re not though, it’s time to convince yourself, that something needs to change.

Things are going to change.

Being in limbo hasn’t been much fun. A day came when it was time to start searching for different answers. Opportunities happen rarely on their own, sometimes you need to go out and find them. A new place to live, a new job, even someone new in your life. One step at a time though, right? Decide where you want to live. Find out what it is that you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for going to work every day. Let’s face it, the expert in what you do, was once a novice but you can be that person. High hopes. Discover if you’re ready for someone new. Two out of three seems to be okay with a certain American.

There can be many things in life that catch your eye, but not many catch your heart. You know which ones to go after.

A moment has just changed the game. Not just for me, but for a lot of people around me that I love dearly. I hoped this day would come, I didn’t know how but I always had a feeling.

Rewrite your history, light up your wildest dreams.

@TheSamMcLeod