Exhale.

How we view ourselves is different from how others view us, isn’t it? We all live in a world where everyone likes what they like. Different food, different hobbies, different people, just how it should be.

Take good looking people for example. Does it matter how physically attractive someone is, if they don’t appreciate your personality? Everyone might think differently, because what you might find to be attractive is different from what someone else will find to be attractive. Also, your personality can make you more or less likeable, can’t it? Your personality, your outlook on life, your sense of humour are a massive part of what attracts someone to you. Isn’t compatibility based on how you and your partner think about each other are as a human being?

There are so many girls that are out of my league, no question. When you tell yourself that someone is out of your league, you begin believing it, don’t you? You ask someone out for dinner or drinks and they say no. It sucks. When someone turns us down, it’s always because of self doubt. We think that we’re not good enough in any facet of our life to hold onto this person’s attention. Maybe we’re not attractive enough.

Even when the situation is one that we don’t think we can control, don’t we all put people into a category? Too pretty. Too handsome. Not pretty enough. Not handsome enough. It’s incredibly judgemental but haven’t all of us seen two people together as a couple and wondered, “How the hell did they end up together?” If we think that way, aren’t we all contributing to a problem in life that we really don’t need? Who decides who is out of your league? Just you, right? As well as everyone else perhaps?

Doesn’t it all boil down to the fact that a lot of us think that physical beauty is the most important thing when we look for someone new? Are we all that predictable? Hopefully not. Aren’t we hurting our own self-perception though when we think that way? It’s hard to be vulnerable with anyone, especially if you think that someone will reject you. If you give into that fear, aren’t you actually missing out on some really great experiences. You’ll never know.

Before you even decide who is in your league or not, don’t you evaluate yourself? The mirror is an unforgiving mistress. Am I a six out of ten? Maybe a seven? A four? Who fucking knows if you don’t? What if someone else thinks that you’re a nine? Will I even give them the chance to tell me? We’re our own worst critic, and with that, comes self doubt. When we’re insecure, our self-esteem goes through the floor. When we think like that, how shit would it be if the person you liked, decided to like you back and then you thought that you weren’t a match because you thought that they were better than you? Don’t you trust yourself to have an interest in someone with similar qualities to yourself? It’s tough though.

Don’t we need to stop forming daft opinions based on how beautiful someone’s eyes are, how much the shape of their lips make us smile, how much their eyes sparkle when we look at them? No, would probably be the right answer, but all of those things are still important though, aren’t they?

The thing is, not everyone is like you or me. We all have a different idea about who we want as our significant other. Perhaps the point is that someone’s looks shouldn’t hold any more value than what their personality does. Their mind is more important than how they look or how their body is surely?

Shouldn’t we all stop buying into ideas about who we should see and about who should be interested in wanting to be with us? Remind yourself of this as regularly as you can. Also, remind yourself that no one is out of your league either.

At first, I thought people who were incredibly attractive were out of my league. You’d think once I realised that not everything is about looks, my thoughts wouldn’t be as shallow. It’s not that transparent though. I believed that if someone was smarter than me, or funnier than me, that they too were out of my league. Needless to say, I was wrong.

Aren’t the thoughts of our relationship goals being upset, by knowing that the other person is hotter, and being far more attractive than we are? Intimacy is traded for vulnerability. Feelings can go and fuck themselves at times.

Ironically, personality is such a big factor, so knocking back a person because of how they look could make you lose out on a person who could be great for you, if you just got to know them. On the flip side they might be totally wrong for you. How do you know until you try though?

No risk, no reward, right? If you like someone, you might as well try. Rejection? A definite possibility. Thing is though, you also might find that someone that you never thought would find you attractive actually likes you a lot. You need to ask though, or you need to answer the question if it ever comes. Have some courage.

She asked me to go for dinner. I haven’t said yes or no yet, I’m conflicted. She’s far too pretty and I’m average at best. She’s cute, she’s hilarious and she’s so self aware, how the hell am I ever going to match up to her? She’s out of my league.

We’re not out of touch but are we out of time?

@TheSamMcLeod

Say something.

Aren’t the regrets in your life the things you haven’t done, rather than the things you have? Those lost opportunities, those lost possibilities, the feelings that you might never get back. Those moments, when you lose them, can they be found again? They’re gone forever. Aren’t they? Hopefully not. Will we ever know though?

The chances are that if you ask people what they’ve always wanted to do, the most likely response is that they haven’t done it. Me included. Sad in a way, almost heartbreaking for all of us.

We pray for opportunities or chances, we seek out opportunities and we yearn for the slightest chance of something that we want. The good news is that we’ll meet opportunities in every day that we spend on this planet. The bad news is that we miss a lot of them, only to come to a later realisation that we fucked it or them up. Isn’t an opportunity like a bus or a train on the move? Once it’s doors have closed, it’s gone. Another one will come along but will it carry better opportunities? A sliding doors moment, right? Too often, we might miss out on a chance of something because we were too busy or we were too distracted. Maybe we were just shit scared of asking a question and being rejected. Who can say, perhaps we just missed those chances tapping us on our respective shoulders. Excuses will always be there for you, opportunities might not be.

Can you ever undo it, ever unlive it, or relive it all? Why not take the plunge? Say something. Maybe you could have had what you wanted. You’d be silly to not ask the question, wouldn’t you? Don’t miss all of those opportunities along the way to do what you wanted to do because you didn’t have the confidence to tell yourself. Say something?

Some people say that it’s not what happens in your life that matters, it’s what you think happened. Just bullshit or is it true? It can be quite possible that the most important thing to happen in your life will be something that didn’t actually take place. Make sense or not? Maybe you missed the opportunity to make it happen. You wanted it to but you didn’t follow through.

Maybe all, maybe just some of us go through life disappointed in ourselves. Do we all keep a memory of that one moment when we missed out on someone or something?

It was too easy to start rushing towards all of the excitement at a million miles an hour. I should have taken the chance but I didn’t.

It was a road that we didn’t take, towards a door that we never opened. Correction, a road that I didn’t take, towards a door that I never opened. We chatted. We flirted. We joked and we touched each other in a way that people who like each other do. Bumping shoulders, gentles nudges in the ribs, playful rubs of each other’s backs. We shared stories of our travels, tales of your life in Zurich and mine in Sydney and Scotland. New York featured a lot. My favourite city in the world. What are the chances of bumping into you when the place has over 8.5m people living there?

It hits me that I’ve lost you, although I never really had you. Will you now rank among the things I’ll always regret? I’m not sure. Okay, definitely an opportunity lost but should it matter that much? Maybe it does. I found myself feeling for one of the first times in my life that I’d maybe missed out on something. On someone.

Not going to lie, there’s a constant differential dynamic between the excitement and thought of someone new and the security with one person. Not that I have her but taking the chance is scary, perhaps the reason that I didn’t ask the question that I should have.

I always win in my imagination but this time I lost. You might have said no to dinner, to drinks, to something more. I might never know now. I’ll probably never know now.

Don’t be afraid of missing those opportunities in your life, give them a go. Behind every bad decision or misjudgment is an opportunity that somebody wishes they had missed.

Tonight it’s easy to feel like the one who is on the sidelines, the one who has missed out.

If I missed my moment, I missed my moment. Fuck.

Say something.

@TheSamMcLeod

Somebody to you.

The first glance at someone you like. Hopefully, that leads to the first date. Fingers crossed that the first kiss with that someone follows. Who knows after that? A relationship to end all relationships? Marriage? Babies? It’s pretty cool to be someone’s first kiss or love but isn’t it better to be their last everything though?

That new feeling about someone. Isn’t it the best? Chances are that you didn’t go looking for them, they perhaps just turned up uninvited?

We can only speak about our own experiences though, right?

Connecting with her was a coincidence, something straight out of left field. Becoming her friend was a choice. Falling in love with her? No choice in the matter really, the heart wants, what the heart wants. I thought she was perfect and so I fell for her. Soon after, I realised that she wasn’t perfect. What happened? I loved her even more. Not loving her was never an option, it just had to happen.

How did we go from this innocent interaction to where we are now? This conversation that has grown and grown. Me waiting for you to grow tired of me, even though you instigated all of this. We share jokes and some terrible conversation at times but it resonates. It can only be love and some unbelievable chemistry that I’ve yet to make sense of and might never make sense of.

It’s almost going to be like a journey. It starts at never and hopefully ends at forever. How could it start? There was no comprehension that it could even be a thing. It’s quite a wonderful thing though. The way that she smiles at me, the way that I know that she’s fallen asleep when those little three dots on the alerts aren’t flashing any more. She’s sound asleep, hopefully dreaming of me, and that’s all I need to know for now. Maybe it’s all that I’ll ever need to know.

I may not be with her at all times, but she knows that she’s never far away from my heart. Impossible. I think about her, I dream about her. Who knows how the whole life thing works? Maybe I have searched for her for all of my life and it just took me a little while to find her. When loving the fact that someone else’s happiness is more important than your own, does that make you feel like this is the one thing that you need? It’s how I feel right now.

You have no conception of how hard it is to stop myself thinking about you. We should play a game. Flip a coin. I always pick tails. Tails, you are mine. Heads, I belong to you. Win win?

The thing is, that the best feeling right now, is when you look at me. I might already have been staring at you forever from afar though. You did what you do though, you called me on it and now we are where we are. Pretty fucking cool, in my mind. Let’s face it, you don’t know it for sure yet but I’m much more myself when I’m with you. Out of all the men in this world, you chose me. I’m nothing compared to anyone else that you could have picked and I’m baffled. Also, I’m blown away.

Now what happens is that I can’t see myself without you. You’re nothing short of my everything and I have no idea how this even happened. Each day I love you more. I picture your face when we’re not together. I imagine your voice when we’re not speaking. It’s at that stage, isn’t it? No matter what you say, no matter what you do, I’m always right there behind you. Just when I think that it is impossible to love you any more, you prove me wrong. A text. A message. A picture. You pouring out your heart and being honest. Especially when you’re turbo boozy. Ugh. Near perfection.

I’m going to be always in love with you, surely? Can I swear it? I hope so.

I’ve also always thought that the one thing that would be amazing is being the centre of someone else’s universe. When you come along and tell me that you think that I’m the centre of your universe, isn’t it nigh on impossible for my heart not to almost burst?

Comfortable isn’t the right word, but what if this love comes from finding someone you feel utterly content with? You’re that someone who makes me comfortable with myself. It’s better than finding myself.

It’s a complete risk to fall for you, to love you, to need you, to want you. If it doesn’t work out, what happens then? Hang on though, what if it does?

There is one thing that you need to know. I don’t love you just because of who you are. When I’m with you, I’m better. Not just to you, but to everyone in my life. I know that you might think that is crazy. Maybe that’s because it is and I am. About this situation, about you.

Maybe that’s what this is? Sunshine. Craziness. Hurricanes. Having someone who helps you through different experiences, encourages you to try new things but will always have your back and make you feel safe?

All I wish for is to be your favourite boy. When you think of me, you smile. Your favourite smile. All I know is that your the prettiest thing that I’ve ever seen. I just want to be somebody for you.

I know now that I’ll always want that.

Quiet nights in. Wine. Me hearing about your day. I cook, you speak. I massage your feet, you relax. Just that.

So here it is, one more time. I find you incredibly beautiful. The best part about getting to know you more is knowing that each day will bring new surprises that are all about you. The flipside is that you’ll find out new things about me too.

Our friendship has been born because in that moment you said hello. My heart has been exploding ever since. I’ve cherished all our moments. The best thing is that there will be more moments. Since I’ve met you, I began to understand why all of my past relationships came to an end. You. It was always you.

I just want to be somebody to someone. Now I know who that someone is.

@TheSamMcLeod

Not so typical…

Chance. Fate. Luck. Serendipity. Do any of these things even exist? The butterfly effect is essentially the theory that a single, random occurence, no matter how tiny, can change the course of the universe forever. It can change the course of your universe forever. There has to be something to it, right? Sometimes the smallest of things will change the direction in which your life moves. An answer to a question posed to you. The merest hint of you indicating that you like someone. A weird circumstance or situation that you find yourself in. That one moment that connects with you like an explosion out of nowhere. Lives have changed because of all of these things, haven’t they?

Do we create our own fate every day that we’re alive, or is it about something else that is completely out of our control?

Maybe nothing happens by chance and there is no such thing as luck. What if there is a meaning behind everything? Maybe we’re not switched on enough to see it at the time but surely we’ll come to a realisation about it at some point. That boy you like who suddenly likes you. The girl you like who suddenly likes you.

Before you get to that stage where you’re both aware of what it is that you want from each other, it can be difficult to connect the dots. Do I really like them? What if they reject me? Better to ask and be rejected than not ask in the first place, you’d imagine. So you have to trust that the dots won’t let you down and that they’ll connect and give you everything you want. You have to trust in all of it, don’t you? Chance, fate, luck, serendipity. I guess, I hope that what is meant to be will always find a way to you. Life would be shit otherwise.

It can be difficult if you’ve been lonely or you’ve been hurt. If you could only have met that one person for you a long time ago, then you’d have been able to dodge all of the things that you needed to get to the one person that you’ll belong to for the rest of your life. Isn’t that journey a good thing though? Maybe you just need to find that person for you at the right time. What if you needed that time? Maybe you found him or her by accident. What if though, and consider this, there is no such thing as an accident, it’s just fate not spelt in the way that you recognise. They can be the same thing? What if it’s not a typical love in the way that you get together? Love will always be enough, won’t it?

Sometimes life has a cruel sense of humour, giving you the thing you always wanted at the worst time possible. Hopefully though, if you recognise it as the right thing for you, you’re able to start connecting those dots again. Surely to fuck, there isn’t anywhere that you’re not meant to be in any given moment? Think for a second to think about how many people don’t get the one they want, but end up with the one they’re supposed to be with? Maybe it’s the universe fighting for all of those people to find each other and to be together? It’s not a massive stretch to believe that some things and some feelings are too strange and strong to be coincidences.

It’s too easy to sit and wonder why things turn out the way they do. Just accept it, don’t second guess it and give it a go with all of your heart? If everyone else around you, sees two people that are meant to be together, isn’t that fucking fantastic? You might think that there is a line in the sand that you shouldn’t cross, but isn’t it called that because that line is easy to erase? Wouldn’t you regret everything for the rest if your life if you didn’t tell them?

Once you do, you’ll notice that when your mind is drawn to someone new, their name suddenly pops up everywhere you go? If you care deeply about someone, there is your start. It’s a coincidence in all likelihood. Coincidences mean though that you’re doing something right.

Japanese people call it hitsuzen. It’s a naturally preordained event. A state in which all other outcomes are impossible. Sounds a lot like fate. Just saying.

A complete stranger can change your entire world, your entire being for the better. Seems pretty awesome.

Sometimes you might think that everything could have been different for you, and you’d be right. What if you didn’t answer that call one day from an unknown number? What if you didn’t go to that bar or that party? Maybe though there are some other times you think that you were bound to end up exactly where are now though.

You might meet that one person that day or that night and you look into their eyes and you know, that those eyes show you that your past, present and future are all the same thing.

There is no disputing the fact that some people enter your life, at the exact point when you need them. Coincidence or fate? The one thing you’ll know is that they’ll bring a smile to your face and most probably make your heart burst.

It’s never easy and some people never get to it. It’s a crazy, winding path. Maybe now you’ve made that connection, you’re a different person with a different history, and certainly a different future.

You have to embrace it but sometimes you’ll realise that some things, no matter how unlikely, are just supposed to happen. Be the best you can be for that one person who is going to walk into your life and will need you to love the bones of them.

Don’t get it wrong, it can be tricky. You might wake up one day and realise that this love will determine the rest of your life. Scary as hell. How about a change of perspective?

When you find a soulmate, you have to be together. Hopefully your past life experiences have guided you to make the right choices.

That is life, isn’t it? Chance. Fate. Luck. Serendipity. A long series of you never being able to pause to breathe, to understand what fate has handed to you. All you can do is hope for the best, because ultimately, it all comes back to those four things.

He or she has the best kind of smile, or maybe the worst kind, the kind that gets you into trouble. Perfect.

Maybe it was fate that you finally connected. Those dots again.

You might ask yourself in a slightly confused manner why they chose you or you chose them? What if fate drove you towards each other? If for the rest of your life, it’s the both of you against the world, isn’t that the best thing ever?

@TheSamMcLeod

You can shine so bright.

We’re all born the same, aren’t we? Full of happiness? Full of innocence? Full of sweetness? Not all full of cuteness, because in all honesty, despite what people might tell you, not all babies are cute.

Thom was essentially a happy, young child. His parents split not long after he was born, so he didn’t know anything else than just having to rely on his mother. No different to a lot of children around the world, some of us just grow up with only one parent around.

As a child, all he wanted was love from both of his parents. His father wasn’t around but he still loved him and he wanted that love reciprocated. At least that’s what he was told, his father wasn’t around. Your father didn’t care. Your father never visited. Your father never called. So, Thom just accepted it. As a young child, if your mother tells you something, it must be true.

It was just the two of them against the rest of the world, she told him.

At least until she moved on and met someone else and soon after, that someone else became the father figure that every person in the world wants and needs at some point in their life.

It didn’t matter that he wasn’t his biological father. Could that man be everything that he needed him to be? A man to look up to and to be in awe of? Someone to aspire to? Even for one so young, Thom quickly realised that it was better to stop looking for love that simply wasn’t there, it just didn’t exist.

He had to do whatever he was told, especially when his mother was at work. Tidy your room or get a clip around the head. Don’t talk back or else you’ll get beaten with the business end of the vacuum cleaner repeatedly.

All he wanted was to be able to connect. To have that intrinsic sense of trust and safety with someone who had suddenly become one of his parents. It wasn’t possible though and he couldn’t do anything about it. How could he? Thom was only seven years old. It was pretty difficult for him to take solace in an environment where everything he did wasn’t right. Come home with a great school report? Scolded for being too clever for his own good. Do well at sports? Belittled for making the other children feel inadequate. He didn’t understand, he was too young. Confusion reigned supreme. He didn’t dare question the person who had the most power in the relationship though. Was his mother oblivious? Thom sure fucking hoped so but he could never tell her what was going on. He was too scared. He thought being locked out of the house was acceptable even although he knew that someone was at home.

He didn’t even know what abuse was. Whatever it was though, he did know that it wasn’t obvious. A punch to the face? Of course not, a black eye at school could get noticed. Punches to the ribs and whacks on the top of the legs with a baseball bat are much less visible.

Thom found that it was easy to hate him, to never speak to him or look him in the eye. All he wanted was to not be in his presence.

He slowly started to see that reflection of himself as almost a will to live, as something tangible to help push beyond things. There was nothing coming from his mother and whilst that broke his heart, he could see a way out. He knew that it might take years but he knew that he had the self belief to make it happen and for everything to go back to the way that it was before.

Taking on a child that belongs to someone else must be difficult. There are people out there who are fantastic at it though. Thom knows this to be true. Some guys out there turn their family life into an endless road trip with fantastic intentions, they’re headed in the right direction as a new bunch of people. They should be applauded.

There is research out there showing that men who have abusive fathers show disrespect towards their female partners. Shitty as fuck, right? Undoubtedly, there is an amount of abusive men that do hate women. What is it? A sense of superiority? Just general contempt? Whatever it is, it’s fucking horrible. Maybe his stepfather was a nice guy? Spoiler, he wasn’t. Maybe he didn’t show his hatred towards women until he was in a serious relationship? Can anyone explain that behaviour without an expensive therapist? Good luck if you can, kudos to you.

Any child that is raised in a family is entitled to live a life with love. With fulfilment. Not a life of self doubt and fear. Why would you give a child growing up a period of hurt and difficulty? Why would you tell them that they wish that they’d never born? That they’ll go through their life without the prospect of being with someone else, someone important to them? Someone to love? The message must be one of control and manipulation? Is that man trying to create a dependency? Why bother if he’s just going to fucking beat him at every opportunity that he gets?

A day comes though. He was stronger. No remorse. Certainly there will be no fucking apology. He’s at peace, accepting that his parents won’t and can’t help him out of the mess that they created. It’s time to go it alone and it felt great!

His mother had given him life, and he was thankful for all of it. Turns out though, that everything that she told him about his father was a lie. He came every weekend, only to be turned away. It was her secret, a secret that she kept from Thom. It would have been easy to have a deep hatred for what she was but she was his mother. He loved her. The bones of her.

Maybe without a real man to help her and to love her, she didn’t know how to behave? It affected Thom but he’s at peace with it now. No point in holding grudges, right?

A day will come though when none of us needs to take the lies anymore, Thom especially. The most important people in your life might reject you for telling lies. Maybe you told lies to protect people. They might reject you for telling the truth about what happened to you? Maybe? If someone tells you something, you might believe it. It doesn’t make it true. None of us are alone.

You need to remember that you can be your own spotlight.

@TheSamMcLeod

Simpatico.

Simpatico. A person who is likeable and easy to get on with. Someone who is characterised by shared attributes or interests; they’re compatible.

A relationship ends. It’s the worst. It can be difficult to escape the pain, the hurt, the emotional turmoil. You have to learn to cope with it though. Easier said than done? It’s over but perhaps your heart and your brain aren’t quite ready to accept it. That’s natural.

Maybe the only way to overcome a split is by realising the fact that the relationship is done and dusted. Don’t glance back, try not to think of it, that should make it easier to move on. Right? Wrong?

During tough times and after the end of everything that you held dear, your family and friends are going to be the biggest crutches that you’ll ever need. Whilst that’s cool, what do you do? Go out and try and be the life and soul of the party? Maybe you prefer to be alone? Neither option is wrong. The one most important thing though is to give yourself some time. Absolutely, the anguish will tear you apart but what has happened, has happened.

So what now? Moving on? To be able to move on though, you need to learn to forgive him or her. Is it important too though to forgive yourself? If you were the one doing the breaking, it’s on you. Isn’t it better to remember things though as they were and move on? It has to be the same rule though if he or she did the breaking.

If either of you have made mistakes, isn’t there is always another chance for either of you? You can have a fresh start, a clean go at things.

Love can make things great and hurt all at the same time. You wouldn’t want to live without it though, would you?

Does anyone understand women? Maybe they’re just meant to be adored and treasured and never understood? Perhaps the same applies the other way?

If someone in your life loves you the way that you want to be loved, then never let them go. It ‘s easy to think though that love can be something that just happens when two people who are batshit crazy and full of lust for each other become misguided. Not true, right? It has to be something deeper.

If you’re in love, do you ever really know whether your love comes from the person you’re with, or the idea of being with them? Hopefully, it’s the former. An instant spark, a slow, lingering flame that becomes brighter? It can be easy for your brain to be confused with a new love but your emotions will never lie to you.

Intrinsically, doesn’t everyone want to really want to love somebody forever? Sometimes though, maybe you just don’t know if it’s possible to do so until the end of time. You have to keep going. Don’t you? What is the point otherwise?

Love and lust are are so confusing. Take a new boy or girl home, tell them you like them, tell them how beautiful, pretty or handsome they are. The next thing you do if you’re lucky? Turn out the fucking lights!

A new love isn’t like lights, especially traffic lights. Go for it, get ready to go or just stop? Who the hell knows but hopefully, you’ll work it out. You can probably never control who you fall in love with, it just happens, perhaps when you least expect it.

It can be confusing. It’s happened but do you always know that in your heart of hearts that it has begun? Maybe one day, you’ve been talking about someone and all of a sudden you catch yourself with a huge smile on your face? A friend might call you out on it and you blush. That has to be love. Doesn’t it?

It’s bizarre to think about how big of an impact you can have on someone or that they can have on you. Either of you don’t even have to speak. A cheeky glance. A knowing smile. Perhaps a wink. It can make the day seem brighter. Doesn’t that then become part of the reasons for the love? Will either of you ever understand or wonder just how much of you or them belongs to the other? You would fucking hope so!

Is it not the best feeling in the world if he or she smiles at you because then you know? For a fleeting second, isn’t that heart bursting stuff for you, knowing that you crossed their mind?

You need to man or woman up if you’re moving on, why be shy? Do you never wonder which hurts more, saying something and wishing you hadn’t, or saying nothing, and wishing that you had? Tough choice. Be bold though.

It is super hard to pretend to like someone you don’t, but even harder to pretend to not like someone when you really do. What is the worst that could happen? They say no. Fine, you move on. There will undoubtedly come a stage where you need to spill your feelings though. One person in the relationship always has to first, that’s just the natural order of things. The worrying thing is that it’s not telling him or her how you feel that scares you. What will their response be? Just try it. It’ll be okay. Put your heart out there.

One day, you’ll look at that person and you see something different than you did the day or night before. It’s almost a switch. It’s been turned on. Now you know. The person who was just a friend is now so much more and maybe the only person that you can ever imagine yourself with.

Keep your eyes open.

@TheSamMcLeod

Life is an interesting journey.

I’m not a fan of birthdays.

I should quantify that, I’m not a fan of my own birthday. Every year, I get asked what I want as a gift and I never want anything, I don’t want any fuss, I don’t want people fussing over me or spending money on me when they could be spending money on themselves or others. It’s not something that I feel comfortable with although if someone wants to get me Scalextric or Subbuteo tomorrow, I may well change my opinion.

Birthdays are like Hogmanay for me. I look at the year just gone and judge how it’s been. Have I been a good person? Have I made the people closest to me happy? Have I had more successes than mistakes? I make resolutions on the 22nd of March rather than on the 31st of December.

Is it an age thing? As I get older, I worry less and less about how the day will go and what gifts I receive. Tomorrow I’ll be a year older, although I don’t think that it is one of those birthdays where I’m suddenly in a new age bracket for any survey that I might take.

Friday 22nd of March 2013 seems like a lifetime ago. So many life decisions have changed in the 364 days since then. I’ve moved house. I’ve changed job. I’ve committed myself to someone, that barring any unforeseen disaster that I’ll marry.

Voltaire said, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well”.

It’s a quote I like and one that I fully intend to adhere to. Today, someone that I respect greatly sent me another quote that relates to this.

“Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high”

It’s not the full quote but it’s from Bill Shankly and it relates to his time in charge of Liverpool.

If I can do that, especially as I grow older, then I’ll die a happy man.

Live your life.