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

We were boxing the stars.

Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that brings your feelings to the surface. A spark of emotion can trigger a laugh, a smile, a tear. Different things do that to each of us, a random meeting with someone that you didn’t expect to see, perhaps a message out of the blue.

All you want with someone is to feel good, right? When you’re with them, it doesn’t matter that the world is messed up, because they could be your world now. That one person that makes your bad days good, and your good days even better.

It’s sad to have love and not be able to share it with anyone, but isn’t that the point, you don’t want to share it with just anyone? You need to take a chance sometimes, do you keep your hand by your side forever or put it on someone’s heart? Take a leap of faith and hope that they treat you right? Sure, go for your life, no one needs or wants to be played though, so you’re careful. There’s no sense in being with someone when all they want to do is manipulate you. Someone who wants to beguile and seduce you is infinitely better, right? If you’re looking for, or trying to find someone new, there will be hiccups, there will be bumps in the road. The good parts can become great, but now and again it’s hard not to think of those times when things went wrong before with someone different. You still try though if you really want to, no point in moping around forever, but it takes balls to put yourself out there.

How do you read the signs to figure out that someone likes you? Maybe everyone around you tells you that the person is into you, always nice to have a helping hand if you’re not self-aware. When they’re always the one to start the conversation, when they listen to you all the time, when they continually offer you compliments, doesn’t the penny begin to drop? Perhaps they’re a friend so you’re naturally in touch regularly. You can look back on things later and realise that the conversations always centred on the same topics. No one that you like are good enough for you, in their opinion. The subject gets changed when you mention someone that you might potentially be into, they’re always talking in future tense about what comes next for the both of you. When you’re in their company, you catch their eye and they’re staring at you, whilst smiling a lot. They find excuses for you to be alone together and they remember details about you that others don’t.

It’s possible to look at people differently as your friendship or relationship grows. Feelings can change and then there might come a day when you can’t hold back. You might finally click that a friend is looking for an answer to a question that you’re not sure if you’re prepared to ask. Tough to do, what if the whole situation between you both changes, will you kick yourself forever or be happy to have taken the plunge? You can like someone without always having to tell them and yes, the rejection might be painful, but isn’t it worth putting yourself out there? Shouldn’t they find it flattering even if they don’t like you back in that way? Thinking about it too much can be a difficult place and sometimes you don’t know if you can ask any of your other friends for advice. You can be absolutely surrounded by people but feel lonelier than ever.

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?

She didn’t let him know about her secret for a long time, thinking that she was content to stay in the friend zone forever. One night she told him drunkenly during a lengthy catch up, that he was just wasting time with any of the other girl friends in his life, and then promptly hung up. Clearly, some things are too obvious to some to stay a secret for too long. He has to move forward but isn’t entirely sure that he’s really thinking, the dynamic has changed now. A conversation happens again soon after, and it’s clear that she doesn’t remember anything that she said to him. What to do, does he say something or not? She’s a cool girl, they’ve been friends for years and maybe there could be something, it could be the start of something amazing.

No point asking the question unless there might be that possibility to take it to the next level. Courage is plucked up, the words are spoken and he gets that one reply that can break you. No. Talk about using a shotgun to kill a mosquito.

Time passes and she’s in touch again. Make your mind up if you like someone, this doesn’t need to be a masked ball where we all go as someone else. Be yourself.

It’s now clear that she likes him a lot but when someone says no, it’s difficult to go back, isn’t the friendship a more important thing to save? She could have been a girl that he could have fallen in love with, but she’s pressuring him to do something now that he wanted to do before, and something doesn’t sit right. Can he fix the problem between them? Can she accept things and realise what they had and hopefully still have, is more important than potentially fucking it all up?

He knows that it’s not going to work out now, and it’s for the better if they give it up. Only one of them is willing to admit it, but even though she messed it up, she should know that he’ll always be there for her in the end. It’s difficult but don’t we all need to do what feels right, even if someone wants us to do something else?

What you could possibly expect under this condition? If you’ve ever been alone, you’ll know.

There was a chance, but maybe we were boxing the stars.

@TheSamMcLeod

I search for the resolution.

Frank Ra, author of the new year’s resolution book “A course in happiness” says that “Resolutions are more sustainable when shared, both in terms of with whom you share the benefits of your resolution, and with whom you share the path of maintaining your resolution. Peer support makes a difference in success rate with new year’s resolutions”.

News to me, I’ve never made resolutions in my life at this time of year. Until today. This year, I’ve made two resolutions that I’ll make sure that I keep. I want to be one of those 8% of people who achieve their new year goals.

Today, I placed £10 into an online betting account and made 10 £1 bets. My aim is to take the winnings from today, large or small and to make another bet or bets tomorrow with whatever winnings are in the account. I’ll then look to make a bet or bets during every day of 2014 so that on December 31st, I’ll then be able to donate what I hope is a sizeable amount to charity.

The other resolution I’ve made is a far more personal one. A friend recently introduced me to the website, 1secondeveryday.com. The basic premise of the project is, “What if you could remember something from every day of your life?”.  It doesn’t seem like one second is enough to remember much, but you’d be surprised what one second of visual and audio information can bring back to your memory. You record something in your life every day and then the app lets you stitch these together to make a video of your week, your month, your year or your life.

I’d do well to be able to remember to do this every day for the rest of my life but I really want to make this happen in 2014. Personally, it’ll be one of the biggest years of my life so I’d like to sit back at the end of the year and look back on the highlights.

Hopefully it’ll be six minutes and five seconds of highlights, fingers crossed.