Sunlight starts

Have you ever been to a place that seems to implant in your heart a homesickness and that also stirs up a ton of confusion when you leave it? Hiraeth is a Welsh word for an earnest desire or longing, nostalgia or a sense of regret. They’re emotions that we’ve all felt at some point in our lives, right?

Sure, you can always go to wherever your original home is, and perhaps a lot of the people that you left behind will still be there, living in entirely the same way that they were before you went away. It might be comforting for them but is that what you want for yourself? Whoever ‘they’ are, say that home is where the heart is. Does home need to be the city, town or village that you were born in though? Can you feel a longing for somewhere else that you’ve lived in previously or even just visited before, just because you get it and that that place seems to get you? Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily compute with you immediately how attached you were to somewhere until you’re not there any more. Perhaps you have to leave in order to really miss a place.

We’re all only going to get one crack at living our life the way we want to, so what’s the point in sitting around not feeling as good as you possibly can? Don’t we all need to grasp any opportunity to go and experience new things as much as possible? Who knows, you might find somewhere that works better for you, that feels more like home. The mind can wander to wherever it wants to, can’t it? The moon looks the same wherever you go, so if you’re not happy, perhaps it’s time for a change. Sometimes you feel something, a pang you’ve never felt before. You need a sanctuary for you, somewhere that just feels right. It’s not difficult to want something for yourself that you don’t have or haven’t been able to find yet. What if you’ve already found it though?

The temptations turn my head and crack it open.

It’s easy to get torn between change and familiarity but maybe Hunter S. Thompson had it right when he said, ‘Wake up and ponder the future.’

The plane lands just after six in the morning, immigration is successfully negotiated, bags are collected and a good friend is there to pick me up. We haven’t seen each other in years but who doesn’t like a hug? Never underestimate how much a friendly smile and welcoming words can be a comfort when you’re unsure about what comes next.

The drive to her apartment where I’ll be staying for the next few weeks is more about catching up rather than looking at the scenery. No sleep happened on any of the planes and it’s exciting to be in a new city, a new country, so a shower follows and I get a tour of the suburb that I might call home forever. It’s beyond beautiful.

There are three pristine sandy beaches within a five minute walk of the apartment. Two are always busy but one is almost usually uninhabited, despite the fact that it has a shack that sells beer. It’s super cool, I could care less about the owner’s lack of commercial sense, uno mas, por favor.

Lunch happens next door to another beach less than half an hour away. The walk is beautiful, the scenery is jaw dropping. This new life looks like it’ll be amazing. I don’t yet know that the commute to work is unbelievably pretty. I end up quickly getting my own place with a balcony and view of the Pacific Ocean. Bliss.

It’s incredibly cathartic that after you’ve suffered some heartbreak that life begins to get good again. Each day is a new experience, meeting people for the first time, discovering my new local bar less than fifty paces from my front door.

Life throws a massive curveball six months in and I need to leave. Doing the responsible thing was right, but I wasn’t homesick for anything that I encountered when I got back. The memories of the past were just that. It wasn’t home any more. Stability, somewhere to belong is all that’s needed but it’s not here. I’m in my first home but I’m homesick.

Now even more than when I first saw it, I need to be back there and stay forever. It’s not just a place on the map, but somewhere full of a shit ton of stories about people and places that made things better when it was needed. I’m missing that sky, I’ve been missing home.

During this difficult time, it’s acceptable that you’ll watch a lot of TV. I click on one and boom, there is my old apartment building featured and it brings me to tears, what is that about? It’s weird that some of the stuff you can miss about somewhere can be the simplest of things. This city holds me close and although I don’t really know why, it’s mine.

Before going there, I didn’t know where home really was. Now, me?

A wide-eyed boy slowly going through the motions. A change is coming that has been long in the making.

Take, take me back home.

@TheSamMcLeod

Cracks won’t fix and the scars won’t fade away.

Is there really just one person out there for each of us, some kind of soulmate that we’ll spend all of our lives with? Is it an overused term, the idea of finding one perfect person has to be pie in the sky, doesn’t it? What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? Someone you could love forever and who would forever love you back? Sure, maybe when you know, you know and whatever you have going on with someone might be a major thing but it doesn’t mean that you can’t mess it up or that it’ll work out in the way that you both want. Fingers crossed you get it right but until you try, how will you know? A gut feeling or a voice in your head? Perhaps there isn’t any need to doubt yourself when the real thing comes along, although it takes a ton of bravery, guesswork and a massive leap of faith.

Maybe we all need to disavow ourselves of the notion that there is someone perfect out there for each of us. Let’s face it, if you start from perfect, you have nowhere to go but down. On the flip side though, perhaps we’re given multiple chances to meet more than one soulmate. Not acting on something is okay, a chance will come again, won’t it?

Every single one of us wants different things from someone who might become our significant other. Someone who challenges you, who can make you laugh, who can teach you new things, who can tell you when to shut the fuck up when you need to be quiet, the list is almost endless. It doesn’t hurt if they’re easy on the eye too.

Is the 12th letter of the alphabet the most important one? You can love someone with every fibre of your being without being in love with them, family and friends obviously fall into this category. Can one of those people be a soulmate, does it depend on how you feel about them when they’re not around?

How do you manage when you have trouble sleeping, restless dreaming?

Falling for someone is a big deal but how many times have you thrown the L bomb out there thinking that you were in love with someone and how many times did you actually mean it? Is nine too many?

The first time was after meeting someone in a bar. She was on holiday with half a dozen friends but I only had eyes for her. We struck up a conversation and they all come back to the house. Whilst everyone else chats and drinks in the living room, we sit in the kitchen finding out more about each other. We hug, we kiss, they leave and promises are made to see one another again. Regular visits in both directions of over a 299 mile round trip happen, I even meet her parents, she could be the one. Being a teenage boy though, I fuck it up for someone else. To this day, when I pass her street on the south side of Glasgow, I still glance up and smile.

She was and still is a 10/10. Pretty much all of the boys in the entire club one Saturday night spot her and try their luck. She politely rebuffs all of them, there are times when you need a wingman or wingwoman. Ego takes over and I try my luck via said wingwoman knowing that everyone else wants her. Dick move in the long run, incredibly immature and it means that I make the biggest mistake of my life so far by discarding someone who was infinitely more suited to me. It lasts a matter of months and whilst we said we loved each other, we probably didn’t. She’s a cool girl and whilst we’re still in touch, it’ll never be a thing again.

Once bitten, twice shy? She’s bonkers beautiful, the girl who would become the second most important person in my life. Once she removed herself from the relationship she was in, we became a thing. I’m not in love with her but I’ll always love her. She’s with a great guy now, nothing but love for them but she’ll always be the one that got away.

It’s difficult to explain how you attract people sometimes. She was married to a famous sportsman but for some reason showed interest. Essentially, it’s an affair and it’s another shit move but it takes two to tango and all that. I fell deep and told her but she wasn’t interested in anything serious. Days, weeks and months pass and she changes her mind but it’s too late. She’s married again now and we’ve met since for coffee but that ship has sailed.

She was ten years younger so I was flattered. What an absolute car crash of a relationship, beginning to spot a pattern? She said the words first so I instinctively said them back.

Sometimes you connect with someone on a bunch of levels. We met through work and it progressed into something more. Everything was going swimmingly for ages, the words were exchanged, albeit drunkenly but then she drops the bomb that she needs to relocate for work. I accepted it grudgingly so she moved alone. She’s awesome, her now boyfriend is a lucky man but recently she opened up and said she’d have stayed if I’d asked her. Fuck.

It was a thing that was on and off more times than a television. Nice girl? Sure. Flawed? Definitely, but aren’t we all? It was a casual thing for ages and it should’ve stayed that way, but when one person wants more out of a relationship than you really want to give, you have a choice to make. Fingers crossed you get it right if you acquiesce but shouldn’t you trust your gut?

The last girl again said those words first so I replied in kind, despite not meaning it. Proof right there that you don’t get wiser with age. She was wrong in every single way, bordering on sociopathic, happy to argue with all of my friends because she thought she was superior.

Sometimes you know immediately who the most important people in your life are. It’s easy to overthink the mistakes you’ve made with people but you’re not always in the wrong.

When you’re single, it can be tough to find someone you can connect with and that you’re excited to be around. As you get older, isn’t the thought of finding new love completely frightening?

Thing is, maybe your soulmate doesn’t have to be a romantic thing. It’s sad to contemplate not being somebody to someone, but I know there is one girl on this planet that I’ll love unconditionally until the day I take my final breath.

You’re in my head, always.

@TheSamMcLeod

Catch Gavin on tour from July 4th, https://shop.gavinjamesmusic.com

Not this time.

There’s a reason when you’re on an airplane that flight attendants tell you to put your own mask on first in case of an emergency. Look after yourself first and foremost, because then it makes it a lot easier for you to look after others. Sounds simple, right? Isn’t it important that you put your own needs and wants before those of anyone else? Looking after yourself and constantly discovering what and who makes you happy is probably a pretty good starting point. Some people might tell you that it’s selfish but it’s anything but. Introspection is a great thing, look at yourself and see if you’re heading in the direction you want to be going and doing all of the things that you want to be doing, whether that’s work or in your personal life. Dr Aziz Gazipura, one of the world’s leading clinical psychologists gets it. ‘Always putting others first creates deep resentment, destroys your happiness and is unsustainable. Putting yourself first allows you to meet your needs in the most skillful way. This in turn, increases your happiness, joy and capacity to love, so you can give freely and create healthy relationships.’ Healthy would be the takeaway word from that quote.

It’s too easy sometimes to think of others first, whether it’s big or small things. Someone bumps into you and you’re the one who says sorry, what’s that about? You hold a door open for someone and not even a nod of acknowledgement comes your way. You let someone cut in front of the queue at a supermarket because they have less items and they cruise on past you like you’re not even there. So shines many good deeds in what can be an unkind world, even if other people don’t appreciate the tiniest of gestures that you’re happy and willing to make. It’s easier said than done but there is zero point in wasting your energy on the things that you can’t control. A point comes when enough is enough, especially when the sacrifice is bigger. Fuck apologies, the only person you need validation from looks back at you in the mirror every day.

How long do you wait until you’ve decided that you’re tired of the way your life is going because someone is holding you back emotionally? It’s been too long for this not to be me.

I’m not perfect, I’ve got pride.

One day you wake up and just know that one person can and will change everything for the better, even if they didn’t mean to. It was a sobering moment when that penny finally dropped but there’s no room for toxic people in any of our lives. Cut them loose, won’t you feel all the better for it? Yep, it takes balls, but isn’t it a far more attractive option to hurt for a little while than to carry on hurting forever? No need for you to become a static cliche, someone who sticks about feeling unhappy just because you’re worried about what might be on the other side? Sometimes the grass is greener. Maybe it’ll be a life you’ve never experienced before, but perhaps it is. You chose to give it up to try and give someone another chance, more fool you, but you backed yourself in that moment, so why wouldn’t you do the same now?

Not everything is black and white though, but there’s plenty of colour out there going around to make things better for each of us, maybe we’ve just not all grasped that yet. Sometimes it’s hard to take but now and again, you need someone to give you a shake, to tell you words that you really need to hear. Nothing wrong with a bit of tough love on occasion. I guess there comes a day when every man draws his own line in the sand. Spending time on your own and listening to yourself is probably something that none of us do as much as we should. Sure, we’re all worried about different things but even if our progress is slow, progress is still being made.

Do you remember that feeling you had when you started something new? How it felt, how it brought a chunk of sunshine into a dark day? It’s not always going to be smooth, but you stick with it because you know the alternative made you deeply unhappy.

I had to come home to realise that it wasn’t home any more. Some people haven’t changed a bit, it’s like I was never away. With good friends, you just fall back into things seamlessly. Other people are jealous of your success, about the life you were enjoying until it gets to a point where they resent you. Those are the types of people in your life that you don’t want to make space for. Any of us can change our lives for the better but don’t hate on someone who’s taken the decision to enrich themselves just because you’re too chicken shit to do the same. I was starting to feel empathy for you but why should I?

Pity and sympathy are two different things. You can sympathise with someone and let them know that you understand any distress, grief or sorrow that they might be going through. All in all, a positive emotion. Pity is definitely more of a negative thing and you might get to the stage where you actually feel sorry for someone.

It’s not been that hard with the benefit of hindsight to decide to leave that toxic person behind. The day has come when plans need to be made to really go back home and try and rediscover that time when everything was nearly as perfect as it could possibly be. Sometimes it takes going away to bring you back.

Usually I go and take the blame but not this time. It’s our world to discover, either alone or with someone and this will be so much better alone.

I would say I’m sorry if I really meant it.

@TheSamMcLeod

JoJo’s new album, ‘Good To Know’ drops on May 1st.

Tired of beatings and battles.

All it takes sometimes is a single moment and your whole life can be turned upside down. It’s just one of those things, some of your days are good, some of your days are damn near excellent, whilst some days are a proverbial kick in the stones. One day can change your life, one day can make your life, one day can ruin your life. Whatever shit comes your way, you react in the best way that you can though, don’t you? Always in all ways. You find a person or place in this world that you know is worth fighting for and you get your game face on. Some days are a struggle, but isn’t the beauty of fighting that you can come out of the other side of something difficult in a better place?

In The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, Albert Camus scribbled that ‘There is scarcely any passion without struggle.’ You need to focus on having a positive outlook of fighting through your struggles when life tosses you a curveball, don’t you? You have beliefs, friendships, values, fuck, a shit ton of different things that you care about, aren’t all of those things worth keeping in your head when something comes along and knocks you on your ass?

Undoubtedly it’s difficult, but sometimes you need to put on your big boy pants and suck things up. Sure, it’s not always easy and it’s okay just to let things be wrong for a minute. You’ll come back stronger and find that one thing that’s worth fighting for.

It’s more than alright to feel like you’re the one person in the world that’s the most alone, but that said, you need to at least let someone know that when you’re struggling with something, don’t you? The hardest things to speak about are the ones we can’t understand ourselves but we need to try. Opening up when you’re vulnerable is tough, but somebody cares that somebody knows.

Where there are roads in our lives, there are bound to be speed bumps too, but isn’t there a time for acceptance as well as a time for kicking the fuck out of something? Maybe life isn’t always about having a good day but about finding good moments. Perhaps every day becomes less difficult if you can learn to fight back against whatever you have going on. You love the people you love, you cry, you laugh, you fail, you succeed, you fall, but the most important thing is to get back up. When something’s difficult, you’ll do so much more to ensure you don’t lose the things you care about. We fight.

The harder the fight, the more glorious fuck you will come at the end of your battle, right? How much joy is there when you can flip a middle finger at something? Is it right that only the things that are really worth fighting for gives everything in your life it’s value?

Those quiet, little personal moments when you get bad news are vital. You suss out a plan, which details you choose to share with everyone that you care for, how you get over it, everything is a contest, head and and heart clashing as they often do.

Two days before Christmas and the news isn’t good, it’s as bad as it could be. Who wants to spend any time in hospital, far less a day where you should be surrounded by your family and friends? More than likely, it’s as bad for the staff as it is for a lot of the patients, healthcare professionals are wonderful, especially at this time of year. They’re pretty humbling people, kudos to all of them.

Words and intentions are good from the people that care about you, but when you’re down, you’re down. Kindness is a lovely thing, but isn’t it true that if you have to pull yourself back from the negative thoughts you’re having about everything you have going on that it’s easier said than done? We fight.

We made it to today, we’ll make it to tomorrow and hopefully the next day after that. We fight.

This is the biggest thing that I’ll ever have to face but there’s no other option, I fight. My little girl, family, friends, everything that I still have to achieve, I’ve got this. We’ve all got this, we just need to tell our minds to believe it.

Maybe if you have nothing to fight against, you have nothing to fight for. So, we fight our way in and we fight our way out.

Just pick yourself up, it’s time to go.

@TheSamMcLeod

Fist fight with the mirror.

It would be pretty amazing if we all could have a superpower, what would you go for if you could pick one? Invisibility sounds good, but definitely has the potential to get you into a shit ton of trouble if it malfunctions, I know you know what I mean. Superhuman strength would be awesome, think of all the things you’d be able to do. Move your house somewhere else without actually moving house, you’d have zero chance of losing a fight. Flying? No more need for plane tickets, who wouldn’t want to spend every weekend somewhere different? Super speed? Hello Olympic gold medal and a new world record, stand down Usain, I’ve got this. Telepathy could be a plan, but wouldn’t the moral dilemma that comes with knowing everyone’s private thoughts worry you? Unless it’s that one person that you think you might be into. Better to know than not without having to put yourself out there, right?

Couldn’t it be possible that your own personal powers are some things that you have to deal with every day? Compassion, humility, kindness, strong decision making about what or who it is you want? Perhaps the ability to never get things wrong can be a superpower.

Have you ever done something that you know you really shouldn’t have? Maybe there’s a tiny bit of rebellion within all of us, to make a choice about something that’s a terrible decision in hindsight. The age old idea that if we have a bit of forbidden fruit, our lives will be all the better for it is misguided, isn’t it?

There aren’t a lot of people in this world who are either brave or silly enough to not change, fair play to them. Sometimes you need to though, if someone isn’t making you happy any more, then why are you wasting your precious time? It’s easy to move onto someone else but maybe your point of view gets to the stage where you decide that you never have to say goodbye to someone if you never say hello in the first place.

I guess it’s kind of messed up.

There’s a girl, she’s new, chosen over someone who gets left behind, good or bad decision? In time, she becomes closer to me than most people have, yet still there was distance, an interesting dichotomy. That said, could she be a glimpse of a new life? She might be the one that I could grow old with together doing all of the things that you love to do with someone. Quickly, wrinkles appear though and we’ll definitely not be buying each other birthday cards next year. Time to make another decision, iron out the wrinkle or watch as it gets bigger and bigger. No one is a fan of ironing but for once, it’s going to be more cathartic than watching.

Daylight fades and vulnerability kicks in. With a head full of bad ideas in a bar beneath Fenway Park’s bleachers with a view of centerfield, more beer is not a good idea if you’re eleventeen drinks deep. It’s a real number, don’t even @ me. Still, a decision has to be made, and it’s the right one for a change. The night is closing in and there is no grey, things are very black and white. I gave up the best girl to settle for someone else and now I have to face the consequences, all I can do now is brace for impact. Sure, ponder the emotional turmoil, it’s okay to be alone in the world and now it’s inevitable, can’t be stopped, can’t be slowed down.

A quickening of breath happens just before the words are said. She’s a walking awkward silence, turns out no one has ever had the stones to break up with her. We all numb ourselves at times to make room for the hurt and pain that you experience with someone but don’t you want to try and remember only the good things about them and not the absolute shitshow that they’ve caused for you? A good decision over a bad one.

It would be easy to ruin a life by taking revenge, but I’m not that guy, she’s managed that all on her own.

Someone I respect more than 99.99999% of people in this world once told me that something good stays good forever. He was wrong. It would be grim to think that nobody’s story has a happy ending but this story isn’t over yet. I need to leave, to move on, out of sight, out of mind, no way am I going to miss her or this place. I can’t wait to get away, some memories are good to try and lose. Forgiveness is a personal thing, it doesn’t depend on you being in touch with the person who caused you hurt. When you’re afraid and angry because of what someone’s done to you, it’s more than okay for those emotions to feed off of each other.

Maybe if I can make it past her, I can stay in my own shadow forever, it’s no fun living in anyone else’s. Time to see if it’s possible to find harmony out of heartbreak, nothing hurts like thinking I’m not good enough.

I wish I never met you, but it’s a little too late.

@TheSamMcLeod

Catch Oh Wonder on tour next year.

Tour

This is madness.

There are some situations in life that you know you’ll have to make a decision on, to weigh up and decide if they’re the right or wrong thing to do. Your world can be at a crossroads, but you still have a choice. The two are mutually exclusive though, aren’t they? Neither direction can necessarily feel like a good one, and whilst there might not be a perfect choice, there’s always a right one. It’s okay to second guess yourself, for your mind to alternate between nonsense and sense, between that grey area of right and wrong. Sometimes, maybe it’s better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.

You still need to live your life by some rules though. Be compassionate, be humble, be kind, those should be the easy ones and aren’t restricted to gender. You ladies have some sort of code when it comes to dealing with boys, don’t you? Most boys do too when it comes to ladies, rules are no bad thing. Sure, they can range from genius to ridiculous, but they are what they are.

Lunch or drinks with a friend’s girl is absolutely fine, cinema trips or dinner are off limits though. If a friend splits with his lady, nothing more than a shrug and a lot of beer gets offered or is even expected. No hugs will take place. Moustaches are banned, except during the eleventh month of the year and only if you’re raising money for Movember. If a friend is on a blind date, you’re obliged to work reconnaissance and report back with a nod or a shake of the head. If you’ve spent the whole day trying to dodge the result of your favourite team so that you can watch it back later, no discussion will be had about the game when out with friends. If one of you lucks out and gets a girl’s number, forget about the three days to call her rule. It’s always at least five, a week if possible. You might want to call her straight away and that’s understandable, but you’re taking one for the team here. If word gets out to her friends that you called her the next morning, soon enough all ladies will expect a call the next day. If you’re out and about as a group, it’s implicitly understood that whoever is looking for someone new, always hits on the second, third or fourth best looking girl in a group if they’re really looking to get the girl who catches their eye the most. Sexist? Possibly. Shitty move? Absolutely, but there are times when you can use jealousy to your advantage that comes complete with a high success rate. Unfortunately, the sisters of friends are off limits.

Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t the easiest thing but you intrinsically know what’s the correct choice. As with a lot of decisions, you can easily fuck up. Choosing someone new that you know isn’t a good idea because they’re already with someone else has to be up there with the most stupid things to do. It might work though, right? Do the rules still apply if you don’t know the other party who’s unwittingly involved? A copout? It might not be the most popular thing to do, but if it’s right, then popular doesn’t matter. Are the rules even that important if someone closer to things than you are willing to break their own?

Some chapters end and new ones begin, a day comes when it’s time to work out your story is going to be. Every new relationship starts with a fire inside of you.

Strike a match, it’s pure insanity, so pour the gasoline.

We’re both out of our minds.

In hindsight, it’s a fucking terrible idea, and whilst I know that I don’t fully understand her, I like her. She has a curious loneliness, as well as an absolute puzzle of a personal life. Somebody who needs an arm around their shoulders or a kind word can easily fall for someone because they’re now experiencing something that isn’t happening at home.

Calls are frequent, messages are constant. Geographically, we’re miles apart, but emotionally she’s almost sitting in my lap. A day comes when the miles have lessened considerably, although she doesn’t know that yet. Should an impromptu visit happen or not? It’s normal to ask yourself several questions but they’re not going to steer you in the right direction if they’re variations on ones that you’ve already asked.

A night out follows with East Coast friends. As usual when out with the boys, no relationship advice is asked for or given, but the beer side of the unwritten agreement still holds true. We’re in Proletariat on St Marks, drinking beer from Upland with papaya, mango and guava, two bottles should cover the five a day needed. Turns out that in the space of an evening, I’m good for about a fortnight. Cue a bad decision, the heart rules the head and another flight is booked. Everyone shrugs and carries on drinking, no one is touching this emotional dumpster fire.

The flight leaves at 11:11, I should have known. There are a lot of theories as to why that particular time is special, but perhaps the most common is that when you see these numbers, you should make a wish, and then that wish will come true. Even a short amount of time has a way of changing things though and the warning signals finally started going off, all in the space of under two hours on a plane. I don’t want this wish to come true. It wasn’t a dream but it felt like a bad one. If someone is willing to betray the person that they’re with, why can’t they do the same to you?

She doesn’t know I’m in her country, far less her town, but I see her with her (in)significant other and I know I’ve made the right choice.

A journey south is made and Bar Raval it is for tapas and drinks alone, before the hotel and moving my flight forward. Zero sleep happens, at a touch after 7am, watching the sunrise with a beer, the morning sky was as misty as my eyes. I’d hoped I was wrong but I knew that I wasn’t, head rules the heart for once. It was a silly thing to do, a stupid trip to make. Three hours later, I’m New York bound.

The experience hasn’t been a complete waste of time, a new rule had been added. Being single will save you a shit ton of stress rather than sticking about in the wrong relationship.

We couldn’t live a lie.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

You can pick up Thrillchaser’s debut album, ‘A Lot Like Love’ now on Apple Music, and you can find them at http://www.thrillchsr.com, facebook.com/thrillchaser, instagram.com/thrillchasr and at twitter.com/thrillchasr. Go and say hey.

Dive in blind.

Have you ever been in a relationship that you thought would last forever but didn’t? It sucks, but it happens, isn’t it what you do next that’s important? Sure, we all know that every day moving forward on your own won’t always be be full of rainbows and sunshine, and that sometimes, we’re going to go through some rough patches. What choice do you really have, don’t you need to tell yourself that you’ve got this even when you think you don’t? Maybe it takes a tiny piece of our hearts breaking to shake us awake and help us see that we’re worth so much more than what we’re settling for. You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, fuck, even months over-analysing things; trying to put the pieces together as if your relationship was a jigsaw, attempting to justify what could’ve and would’ve happened if only things were different. What’s the point?
Time passes, the pain slowly fades. Only you know when is the right time to move on, but another day spent thinking about who went before is another day not wondering about who comes next. Even when you know that you want to move forward though, it’s okay to have at least one foot on the brakes, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of vulnerability. Sometimes, it feels as if there are hundreds of reasons not to move on. Perhaps we hope that by trying to hold on, we somehow think we have a way of getting back to how things once were. You’ll get past certain people in time so give yourself the chance to do so.

Most relationships don’t end well, so when you finally meet someone new, you’re probably going to arrive with some baggage, the next person is going to have to endure some things that someone else has caused. Keeping baggage from the past is pointless though, right? Just because something has gone sideways, it doesn’t mean that you need to think that everyone coming will make things the same as they were before. Maybe when someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

Well, that’s the school of thought I’m from.

If you feel like you’ve been burdened with blame for someone or something that’s happened in the past, then it’s probably time to be moving on. Spending time on your own can be the best and something that you need sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that you want to be lonely. New people will enter your life every day, even if you don’t expect them to. Unexpected surprises don’t need to be a bad thing.

The girl from Vancouver met through work. She seems super nice but after a few drinks and zero kisses, she starts discussing baby names. Keen much? It’s nice to be liked but some people need to rein it in.

A long while later, a girl comes along one day. Kissing doesn’t feature again but there might be something. There are mutual interests, could this be a thing? One way pictures and videos start to come though that are overly explicit and that’s not cool with someone that you’re not even in a relationship with. If you’re sending those to me, damn skippy you’re sending them to other boys. Whatever it was, it doesn’t end well. She’s the girl who acts like she wants revenge on Dorothy for killing her sister by dropping a house on her. Bullet dodged and batting zero with Canadian girls. That’s okay, nobody bats a thousand.

A random meeting in a hotel bar with an American girl over a mutual love of a football match that we’re both watching. Too much beer, too much flirting and too much regret when she reveals that she’s more than a decade younger. The half your age plus seven rule is bullshit!

The nurse who sits and chats with me every night, who lives nearby and has cared for me for weeks. Stockholm syndrome almost. Funny, pretty, out of my league for sure. The question is contemplated but I see her outside smoking one day, deal-breaker right there. Sigh.

The Italian neighbour who lives directly above me and who knows where she needs to go when she needs something done in her apartment. Chivalry again, and whilst I’m old enough to own a toolbox, no one should shit on their own doorstep.

The one girl from Twitter who invites me for dinner. We interact frequently, she’s super cool but I’m not in a place to give her what she needs. She moves on, finds someone and is happy. Win win, nothing but love for them both.

We met reaching for the last for the last copy of the same book. Chivalry isn’t dead so obviously I gave it up. It sparked a conversation about our favourite authors, about similar books that we liked. Numbers were swapped and drinks are arranged. What an absolute disaster! If you need to wear glasses, wear them. Deciding not to, made her think she’d be more attractive. I couldn’t tell whether she was looking at me or trying to see if a bus was coming. The kicker was when she asked why I wouldn’t use ‘lol’ when we’d been exchanging messages. My response of ‘ I’m not a thirteen year old girl.’ went down as well as you’d expect. Thankfully.

The one girl that I had numerous business type coffees, dinners and lunches with that I thought might have liked me, but I was too scared to ask out. She’s married now and it fucking stings when I see them together, how different life could be. Her friend keeps telling me that she would have said yes if only I’d had the balls. I know you come from a place of kindness, but please, please stop telling me.

Thing is from all of this, it’s alright if someone breaks you in a hundred different ways, it just leads you to where you are. What if you need or want to get back to where you were? It could all change with one kiss. When you really care for someone, just maybe their mistakes never change your feelings. No matter how much we want things to stay as they were, maybe we need a change. Sometimes change is for the better, sometimes it’s not.

Is it okay to go back? If we both rewind to a time where I had you at hello?

Ready or not?

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

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

The lessons.

Sir James Matthew Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, had it spot on, ‘Once you’re grown up, you can’t come back.’ How long does it take for that to happen though and what occurs in our life in order to make it so? Some of us are wise beyond our years, whilst others never want to be older, and like most things, it’s different for each of us. Just the naïveté of youth, right?

Perhaps it’s when you have things in your life that you look back on and wish you could change. It could be nothing quite so important, sometimes it’s simpler stuff, having the courage to ask that one person that you’ve liked for a while to have dinner or drinks with you. Setting up standing orders for your outgoings, opening a savings account, moving out to live on your own for the first time, shit, it could be almost anything. One day realisation kicks in though and you know that despite all of the important decisions you’ve made before, a choice is going to come along that’s going to define everything that comes next for you.

It sucks, but maybe part of growing up is just taking what you learned from all of the bad things that went before, moving on and trying not to take them to heart. The good things you definitely want to keep on doing and experiencing, don’t we all believe that intrinsically we’re a good person? For a lot of our days, we’re young and irresponsible, but maybe that’s what growing up is, you eventually learn from your mistakes.

It’s more than okay to have mixed feelings about growing up, apparently it happens to everyone. Still, you should never stop having fun, to make yourself smile, it’s okay to fuck up now and again. Did you make mistakes when you were young? Absolutely, but haven’t you made just as many when you’re all grown up?

Growing up is never easy, you keep a hold onto things that were important but that you don’t really need any more. Your mind can wonder what’s to come, obviously there are going to be moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you know that there are some memories that you’ll never get back. Certain people in your life are never going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that there’s nothing you can do except watch them, unless you remove yourself from that situation. It happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realise that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. So you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on, even if you don’t really want to.

The hurt is palpable when you have to leave someone behind but you can’t always get what you want or keep what you had. There’s that choice again but you know you have to make it but how can you both go on when they were everything?

How will you exist, how will I exist?

A day comes and we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what could be. Different days, new days, those days that are yet to come. It’s okay to forgive each other for growing up and recognising that we both need a change. Again, everyone’s different but how many of the people that you’ve been involved with romantically are you actually still friends with? It’d be like adding your captor on FaceBook once you were released after being kidnapped, fucking stupid idea.

It’s a change that involves thousands of miles, quite literally. We weren’t miles apart before but days later we were, not everything has a happy ending. Benjamin Franklin has been quoted as saying that ‘Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.’ What if only two people know the secret? If you do believe that you’re a good person, is learning when it’s better to lie to the people in your life, rather than to hurt everyone else with the truth not a good thing?

Growing up, peer pressure, and what people in your life want you to be and what you think you should do can be life enriching, but also a massive pain at times. It’s important to surround yourself around amazing people that actually love you for you. We all have flaws but if you fuck up, isn’t forgiveness one of the best attributes you can have? How many times has someone bumped into you in the street and you’ve apologised? I’ve lost count of the amount of doors that I’ve held for people who haven’t had the good grace to acknowledge even the tiniest act of kindness. As an aside, top tip gents, if you have to pull the door, the lady goes first, if you have to push it, you go first. You’re very welcome.

Time away, discovering new things, a new start sounds like a great plan. A new apartment, new experiences beyond the wildest of dreams, new friends, a new job, life couldn’t be better. There’s always a but though. Thing is, despite reaching what can be one of the highest points of in life, what happens when it’s hard not to feel alone, to know that you’ve lost everything? The only tattoo I have reads is, ‘Only one who has lost all has the freedom and the ability to gain everything.’ Time to take my own advice and leave all of the good stuff behind. A choice is made about trying to grow further, to face those demons, and the loved ones in life who have been failed by me as well as those who’ve failed me. Three plane flights are booked.

One of those plans was a good idea.

Maybe we all need to start accepting ourselves for who we are, and whoever is not going to accept us, weren’t really meant to be in our lives in any way whatsoever. The most important thing that I learned is forgiveness is something that when you’re able to finally wrap your head around, you free yourself to move on. All grown up now and I shouldn’t have come back, it’s time to leave again.

It’s a constant back and forth for a while with both enduring different experiences. Sure, it might be the same story, but it’s being read through opposite lenses. Whose ugly side is the ugliest? It doesn’t matter, both of us know.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Dance in the light of a lesson learned.

Bad things happen to us, good things happen to us, just the way it is. The same is true about people who come into your life, some you keep around and some you’re quick to let go of. Trust your judgement, hopefully you have things going your way more often than not, and you keep around the good folk who deserve to be in your life as a friend.

Now and again, someone comes along though who turns into something more. Somebody new is on your radar, you’ve noticed it and you start giving them some attention. Trust rears it’s head again, you dip your toe in the water if you’re sure that there might be something between you both, and if you’re lucky, that trust is mutual and perhaps something beautiful is just beginning.

Does it matter how long that something lasts? One night between two consenting adults can be mindblowing. It might just be random circumstance that brings you together but if you’re both single and want the same thing for that one night, then why not? Sure, there’s going to be more nights and days together with someone if you really like each other. You took the chance, they did too, now you’re sharing something together. What happens though if you misjudged yourself, what happens now?

Maybe when someone makes you a promise, they cross their fingers, hoping that they won’t let you down and think that makes everything okay. Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. Perhaps the greatest distance between two people in any relationship is a misunderstanding about what the future holds. Not much else for it, the time has come to say goodbye.

Out into the unknown.

Aren’t most relationships onesided? Sometimes you’re the fish and sometimes you’re the fisherman, but when something ends it can still sting. It doesn’t matter who did and said what, the hurt will be real for a while but you get by, you move on. That said, is it okay to care for an ex, obviously not romantically, but as a person? They gave you happiness at some point in your past, so why should you hate them? We’re all different, so it’s fine if they don’t wish you the same. Maybe you don’t care what they think about you because you don’t think about them at all any more, you’ve moved on and a day comes when you’re happy again.

As soon as an ex sees you smiling though, isn’t that the moment they decide that they want you back? It can be a fucker of an emotional hot potato if they decide to get in touch again, what do you do?

One day a message arrives saying ‘I miss you’ from the girl who could have been an almost forever, a maybe forever, but she was definitely something. Was is the operative word. It’s okay to take a few days to think about what to respond with, if at all, but it’s nice to be polite. I know what those eight characters mean though, it’s just that the next person she replaced me with didn’t work out. When looking back at your history with someone and you know that they don’t do anything for you any more, you’re probably doing something right for yourself. If someone did something bad enough to make you have them not be in your life, you back your trust the second time not to be stupid enough to let them in again. Fool me once and all that. Getting with an ex would be like taking your driving test when you already have your licence. Pointless, stupid, a waste of time and effort.

Messages continue to follow and it’s clear that she wants something more than I’m ever going to give. It’s probably a dick move to reply at all but the replies are completely vanilla, hopefully the hint gets taken. Just because someone hurt you once, it doesn’t mean that hurting them back unnecessarily will do you good or make you feel better. The best idea is to probably try and forget the person who forgot about you, even if they tell you ‘I love you because I need you.’ What a shit and selfish phrase. I need you because I love you sounds infinitely better, doesn’t it?

You’re my ex. Ask me as many questions as you want but I no longer owe you any answers. Don’t worry if I’m with anyone else now or not, all you need to know is that it won’t ever be you. Everyone deserves to move on and find someone that makes them happy, good luck with everything to you, to all of us. We’re not enemies, not friends, now we’re just strangers with some memories.

It’s time for moving on, there’s some things you can’t forget.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife