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

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.

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..