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

When the sun starts coming out.

When a relationship ends, it’s difficult for both people, regardless of who makes the decison that things can’t continue any more. You might have been thinking the same thing but you just didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger first. Emotions can be mixed, but maybe the negative ones come first. Hurt, regret, sadness, tears, all of us have experienced those feelings. The nights come and they’re brutal, the suffering begins. Sleep is difficult, there’s a heightened silence, it’s easy to feel that you just want to disappear for a while.

Once you find yourself beginning to get over things or thinking that you’re getting over things, perhaps that’s when there’s a chink of light in the dark. Excitement, hope, relief, surely there will be someone that comes next for you, assuming that’s what you want.

It’s difficult to know when you’re ready though. All you can do is to go about your day, live your life, be as good a person as you can be and then maybe something happens. It can be a minefield, right? Take politeness, has it become so rare that people mistake it for flirting? So, you’re a nice person, you smile a lot and try to be cool and friendly to the people that you meet. Tough though, because it can be seen as flirting when it’s not meant in that way. Just because you’re being nice and making conversation with someone doesn’t mean that you want to take them to bed. Good conversation between two people of the opposite sex doesn’t have to be anything more than that.

Flirting is one of those things, just like everything else in the world, that some people are just better at. Is it something that’s probably just as much about learning to like yourself again, as much as it is about liking someone else? Trying to see yourself through someone’s eyes and realising that whilst your confidence has taken a knock, you might just be okay? Do you wait and see what happens, or try and chat up everyone that you meet that you think you might like? It’s a lottery, the chances of winning are extremely slim but millions still play, in it to win it, right? Hitting on every girl in sight is like buying a shit ton of tickets, one of them might pay off at some point.

How do you even flirt? Look someone straight in their eyes, smile, use their name a lot, pay them compliments? If it’s been a while, it’s tough to know which approach to take. It’s okay to be nervous, hopefully your courage kicks in, but it’s hard not to think of your last relationship if it hurt you though.

If I did, I’d be a broken man, full of broken dreams, with a broken heart.

My lease is up on my apartment, so I have to move. The issue is that the new place won’t be ready for a few months, and crashing with friends for a couple of days is okay, but you don’t want to ever inconvenience anyone. I know that I’m only taking up the new place to rent it out before moving back overseas for work, so a hotel it is. I check in, it’s cool, but it’s lonely. You need to force yourself to get out there and meet people, it’s too easy to sit in your room. A few weeks in, I try to renew my booking but it’s full for the next week due to a big conference in the city. Availability is limited and all that’s left is a hostel. I’ve not stayed in one before but fuck it, every day is an adventure. To my surprise, it’s actually pretty cool, I have my own room, there’s a full kitchen, internet access, what more do you need? The best part? Different people are coming and going every day, who knows who I might meet? Nothing romantic enters my head but meeting new people from across the globe, people on their travels, what’s not to like? Knowing the area well, it’s nice to be able to recommend things to do and see to others. Politeness.

New friendships are made, conversations in the kitchen with random strangers of varying nationalities happens regularly, drinks are shared, music is played, some have dodgier tastes than others, but that’s okay. How can broadening your horizons be a bad thing?

There’s a Canadian girl I meet, travelling on her own around the country, but she’s here to take care of some family things. We strike up a conversation one night and she shows me a map of all the places that she wants to visit once she’s done what she needs to do. Advice is given and I don’t think any more of it, as nice as she is. Politeness. She ends up staying for longer than expected and the conversations become more regular, meals are cooked for all of our new mutual friends, wine is shared and friendships evolve.

It’s a Saturday night about ten days in, and a small group of us are cooking and drinking, music is on, each of us gets to pick the next song to play. A friend tells me to hurry up before there’s no more night left. My mind is blank, but he tells me that she clearly likes me and to that I need to do something about it before she leaves. Fuck. I know that we’re all looking for that tiny spark that we’ve been dancing around with to set off an explosion in our lives, but I didn’t even know that we were dancing, I thought that she was just being polite too.

It’s my turn to choose a song and you sing along if it’s a song you know, don’t you? She looks at me and asks me the question that my friend saw coming but I didn’t. I have to say no because I promised someone that I wouldn’t move on until things were finalised between us. I’m missing out but a promise is a promise. It’s not the first time, it might not be the last, but I can see how I’ve disappointed her, although it was never my intention. The song plays, and I sing along, almost under my breath.

It’s going to be alright, you’re going to be golden, you’re going to be falling in love before you know it. Am I telling her or am I telling myself?

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife