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

When you’re lionhearted.

As a new year approaches, isn’t it the best time to say goodbye to some people and some things, and hello to a lot of new stuff that could change your life in the year ahead? Perhaps the most exciting part is that you have zero clue about what any of those things might be.

Transformation isn’t an easy thing, it’s often full of chaos and can be the start of a lot of conflict with yourself. Change is scary, it’s okay to be a little bit frightened about the good and bad things that await you. Maybe the point is though, those things are a chance of a shot at inner growth; a rebirth almost, where you restart yourself, when you realise who you are once more. There’s fuck all wrong with learning to learn again. You remember what you’re all about and the game changes, one moment could decide it all.

Good things can prompt you into thinking about the year ahead, a choice about new decisions. Jobs, relationships, travel, new friends, additions to your family, the list is almost endless. Flip things though, and it’s the same for all of the bad. Losing a job, a relationship ending, losing a loved one, life has a way of putting up obstacles that stop you getting on with what you need or want. Does anything ever remain as it was?

When the bad shit happens, we all know that it hits hard, and so we need to decide on certain things, about how we continue, about how we move on. Realising that you can find that you know exactly what to do in all of those dark days has to be a crumb of comfort, doesn’t it?

It’s not always easy, sometimes we brace and then fall.

It’s normal to lose confidence but it’s not normal to stay down. Now and again, we all have to stumble or fall to reach the next phase of our lives. Do you ever dream or feel like that you’re standing on the edge of a metaphorical cliff looking down and thinking, ‘I need to do this, I need to jump, it’s the only thing that’ll help me move forward?.

It doesn’t matter a lot of the time what you’ve done in your life. The friendships you’ve made, the breaths you’ve taken, the words you’ve spoken, the people you’ve fallen in love with, you’ve got to start over. Undoubtedly, between the optimism and pessimism that we all juggle with, we reach for either chance or stability, to try and carve out a sense of belief that we’re all on the right road that we want to be on.

It’s not always something that’s said out loud but as midnight approaches, don’t we all think to ourselves, ‘Next year will be my year?’ Let’s hope so for every single one of us.

This year can do one. The loss of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, serious injury, life threatening illness, having to move house and change jobs. Fuck you 2019, 2020, I’ve got this.

Anguish, grief, hurt, loneliness, regret, no emotions that any of us should have to feel on and day, week, month or year but it’s just life. It can be a tough road but you know that some things will only scratch your surface whilst others will hit you at your very core. You get to decide which are which though because you’ve got this too. Suss out the emotions you need to have to start the year in a strong way, right?

Good news will come your way in the year ahead, and whilst it’s hard not to be able to share your joy with the people you miss the most who are no longer around, thinking of yourself should kick in again. Retain the love, respect and thought for others, but do you.

Sometimes you wake up one day, just like any other, and you decide that you don’t like it anymore. So, you make a change. You need to be selfish at times and do what’s right for you.

Sometimes we don’t fall at all.

@TheSamMcLeod

Looking for the right one.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a German philosopher wrote a book called The Vocation of Man in 1799 where he explores doubt, faith and knowledge. In it, he posits that, “You could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” It’s basically the butterfly effect. The thought that a butterfly can flutter it’s wings in China and cause a hurricane somewhere else on the planet. Chaos theory tells us that it’s the little things that really change the world, ergo your world. A random encounter with someone you’ve never met before, but who’ll impact your life further down the road. Reconnecting out of the blue with a long lost friend and rekindling your past relationship. It’s up to you to pursue those if you want to, just the agony and beauty of choice.

You make choices every day, sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but you do what you think is best for you. Isn’t it true that sometimes things are decided for you?

It’s okay to be scared of new things. It’s also okay to think that you’re stopping yourself from liking someone new if someone old hurt you. Leaving someone behind is difficult, there are some people that you know you have to let go of that you hope you won’t think of every day for the rest of your life. If you’re even contemplating the possibility of a new experience, don’t you want to try and find everything in someone that’s the best for you? Is it a naive hope to build something new when you’ve been fucked over? Sure, there’ll be certain people that you like, even though you think you can’t possibly get them. Maybe they’re taken or maybe they’re just not right for you.

Maybe you need to realise that perfection will not come.

A meeting in a hotel bar happens through a mutual friend. If you ever want to fully appreciate how attractive someone is, simply watch the people around them. Girls do what girls do, give their male partners that look warning them off from even glancing in her direction. Some eye her up enviously, whilst some are complimentary about her handbag, outfit or shoes. As a boy, never underestimate the power of knowing what Christian Louboutin shoes look like, trust me, it’ll serve you well.

There was a first glance between us, the sort of flirty gesture that lasts just long enough to blur the line between innocent and suggestive, my friend could be onto something. We’re both staying in the same hotel for the same length of time and a lot of it ends up being spent together, although nothing happens, despite the amount of dancing around the possibility of it. It was a tiny bit presumptuous on her part, but she told me on the first night that no kissing would be happening, she had a boyfriend. She’s got more balls than a table tennis tournament for even thinking that was on my mind, but as usual, ladies are always correct. We flirted constantly, but because of the boyfriend thing, there was zero point in pursuing it. Nothing wrong with having some harmless fun if you’re single though, especially if you’re getting the same in return. Boyfriend or not, she’s moving to New York for work so it’s an easy decision not to get too involved, no matter how much I might want to. A day comes, she leaves with a hug, no numbers are exchanged.

Just under a month later, an invite from a headhunter drops into my inbox about more than one job in New York. No reason to say no, they book flights and the trip is made.

The first night ritual has changed now that I’m doing this alone, no more rooftop beers in the shadow of the Empire State Building, it wouldn’t be right. I’m four drinks deep into Pappy Van Winkle at Whiskey Ward on the LES and headed for five. Next stop, The Rusty Knot on West 11th which probably has the best jukebox in the city.

As I walk in, I stop dead in my tracks. The average adult brain has trillions of synapses, mine are firing all at once, there she is. Over ten thousand bars in this city, what are the odds? It’s unexpected and I hate that, although at the same time, it’s pretty cool. The chance, the sheer impossibility that it could even happen. She has home field advantage though, batter up. It’s like submitting an application for the Darwin Awards for even wanting to talk to her, there are more than a dozen deep breaths. I should have realised that the song currently playing was a sign.

She seems shocked in a good way, although my explanation of why I was in the city wasn’t even a distant cousin of convincing, seems you’re never too old to be tongue-tied. She held my gaze but her eyes revealed nothing. Words and drinks follow. She apologises to me within the first ten minutes, turns out there was no boyfriend, she was just tired of boys hitting on her. Fair enough, she owes me no explanation. Now there is a boyfriend in Manhattan though, but if I move, she’ll end things with him to be with me. I know PI to over a thousand digits but I can’t work her out, how is that a tempting offer?

It doesn’t take long to decide, money is thrown down for drinks and I say no and goodbye in that order.

She hugged me tighter than anyone ever has, but it’s wrong to start something new based on a lie. Is it also wrong though to chase that feeling that twisted your mutual past into something so beautiful, even if it was brief? Sometimes you have to tell yourself that you can’t be blinded about what you want to believe, it takes balance. Thing is, if you never let anyone in, you’ll never get fucked over again. If you can treat someone that way, you can do it to anyone, I want no part of that possibility. I’m sad about it but I’ve been sad before.

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

@TheSamMcLeod

The future starts so slow.

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, ‘A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.’ Optimistic guy. Hurt doesn’t need to be physical harm from anyone though, isn’t emotional pain much worse?

It’s easy for a lot of us to believe that we’ve been betrayed by someone at some point. Something has been done to hurt us, someone’s been dishonest or broken a promise that they made you. Trust was disregarded, maybe selfishness on some level kicked in and they thought of themselves only. We’ve all done it, but it’s not until you’re on the other side of that dynamic that you realise how much something you thought of as insignificant, has the capacity to really hurt someone.

It’s easy to tell yourself that their actions have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them, but trying to take comfort in that can be a nonstarter. It sounds pessimistic but perhaps the more you expect, the more you get disappointed in life.

You cope though, just whatever it takes to get you moving forward. You can shut yourself off from people, unfollow or unfriend on social media, no one wants to see a certain someone having a good time without you. You can holler, you can wail.

Sometimes all you want is someone who puts a bounce in your step.

It’s a late night in Boston’s Back Bay, tequila with friends at Lolita is never a bad idea, at least until the morning after. It’s my round, drinks are ordered and I turn to head back to our table when she bumps into me. The drinks go everywhere and I have tequila all over me, except where I want it to be. She’s immediately apologetic and an offer to replace them is brushed off politely. A second glance happens though. She’s wearing a top with a neckline so deep it could teach philosophy. There was a disarming twinkle in her eyes, a touch of sweetness in her smile and the conversation starts. Everyone has different tastes but picture if you can, a playground for your eyes. Several drinks and a few hours later, what I’d seen and heard so far, I liked, but I’d been fooled before. Sometimes though, you have no idea where something is going but you learn to go anyway. Enjoy each second, don’t worry about the destination, live in the moment, right?

I’m in the city to graduate and we meet up every day. Sometimes you get a vibe about someone, now and again, they might even flat out tell you how and what they’re feeling. It seems like no time at all that we’ve known each other, but isn’t the initial excitement the best part? This one is clearly nothing but trouble but in a way, aren’t we all? There’s an opportunity to make Boston home due to job offers, could there be an added incentive to make a new city home?

Something didn’t sit right though, she was like a cat, affectionate when she wanted to be, and happy to disappear once she got what she wanted.

On a rare day to myself as I looked across the Charles River towards MIT, a brisk wind was warning of cold days to come. A sign.

Hours pass, and I’m my own best company, sitting in Joe’s getting torn into the rotating selection from Clown Shoes Brewing. I liked the view of Newbury Street, and despite the rain, it’s a fine day, let’s see if we can spoil it.

We bump into each other randomly, glances are exchanged unbeknownst to the man holding her left hand that magically has an engagement ring on out of nowhere. No words are spoken, one of us has a wry smile though, whilst one of us is wearing a look caught somewhere between heartbreak and hope. Always better to know than not.

It looks like the only friend I’ll be spending time with tonight is tequila.

Later, a call comes. ‘We’re two people who can’t be together right now for a number of reasons. We will be some day in the future, but it won’t be for a while.’ Having someone think that they’re able to control who and what will be in your future? I’d rather have a colonic with a garden hose. No words are spoken from my side, I just hang up.

I walked down one street, she chose another, but goodbye is goodbye, it doesn’t matter who you’re saying it to. For a while, my emotions were fair game and that’s what hurts, but isn’t disappointment part of your growth? Doesn’t everyone face rejection at one time or another?

Malchance, sfiga, sfortuna, all words for bad luck. Just the wrong time and the wrong place. It’s easy to overthink things but who wants to walk backwards? You know that you can’t stumble when you’re on your knees but you also know that you can’t move forward without leaving somebody else behind.

Laying down on the hotel bed in the dark, staring at a ceiling that I can’t really see, she’s a taste that I’ll never taste again, despite what she thinks. I’m more than okay with that because respect has to go both ways or it doesn’t count.

All you want is to be happy but sometimes it feels like that’s too much to hope for. Like everything else, sometimes you get there, sometimes you fall short. Sometimes you can be so gullible that it makes you sick, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only man to have been taken in by a pretty girl.

There’s a time for second best and there’s a time when the feeling’s gone. I guess the future starts slow.

@TheSamMcLeod

A dark world aches for a splash of the sun.

By their very nature, having problems is a problem. There has to be a solution to every one of those we have going on though, whether we realise it or not in that moment. Living life is a bit crazy sometimes, a bit shitty a lot of the time, fucking intolerable on occasion, even though you know intrinsically that you’re lucky to even be able to complain about it or them at all. Once you click , don’t you do what’s best to make things better for you, even if you can’t make them right? The sooner that you handle a problem, the better things work out is a common perception, but sometimes you just can’t face things.

Now and again, you just know that you need to take a break from everything you have going on because when you’re struggling to deal with your everyday scenery, all you want to do is run away. Drive until you run out of fuel, hire a motorcycle or camper van and see what stories you can experience from your escapades. Get on a bus, a plane, a train, just be somewhere different, not only geographically but also in your head. No matter how spectacular your view, if you see the same thing every day, it can grow stale. Depending on what you have going on, a solo trip ticks way more boxes than taking someone along for the ride, sometimes you just need to be alone with your thoughts, sometimes you just need to try and forget. Whatever it is, we all get the instinct to run sometimes, what’s wrong with disappearing like a magician’s rabbit when you need to? You find what works in terms of making you cope. Have a sore head? Aspirin should do the trick. That persistent cough that won’t go away? Cough syrup is a shout, although it won’t cure you, it’s just a temporary fix for your symptoms. When you’re hurting, you’d take a temporary fix, wouldn’t you? There’s nothing wrong with dropping off of the face of the earth for a while.

Maybe you just need to heal yourself, to restore life the way it should be.

A letter arrives but the handwriting on the envelope is unrecognisable. Inside, it’s typed, unsigned and once read, throws into question something that’s been the most important thing for nearly half of my life, it’s the emotional equivalent of a trip to an abbatoir. It’s maybe nothing, but it might be something. Outside the sky is clear, but there are storm clouds brewing. How many emotions can one person experience in a few seconds? Rage, heartache, anxiety, hatred, before rage again, something that should be an everyday dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. There are so many questions, but who likes questions without answers that don’t come. Until your head is straight, running your mouth without thought is never a good idea, sometimes you need to try and come to terms with things yourself first, and sometimes it’s what people don’t say that’s the most important. Trust has gone and vulnerability has popped up in it’s place, never nice for anyone to have to cope or deal with. It’s second nature to overthink things, paralysis by analysis almost. You’d be as well trying to grab a fistful of water when something floors you and you’re unable to keep your head right. There’s not enough oxygen in the world to make you feel better when you’re internally broken but are still trying to look okay on the outside.

Time for some metaphorical cough syrup.

Have you ever wanted to just rock up to an airport and get on the next available flight with no preconceived plans? What’s wrong with spending a night in one place, exploring and then heading to the airport to do it all again the next day? Travel can be a temporary fix, right? Amsterdam, Kos, London, the most overrated city in the world, but the rules are the rules. Bogotá, Washington DC follows, where next? Zero clue but that’s the beauty of this. Staring out of the window at the skyline searching for answers that won’t come is a bit of an emotional hangover. It feels good to stop hitting yourself in the head though, nothing positive comes from feeling like you’re sitting in a lifeboat in a sea of shit.

Running parallel to the Potomac brings realisation. The blackness is no longer quite as bad, it’s more of a grey now. My iPhone pings, a message arrives from an unknown number. ‘Did you get my letter, let’s talk if you want?’. Fuck, I’d like to tongue-bathe Anna Kendrick, so I guess we’re both going be disappointed. Why be anonymous in the first place?

You’ve fucked with me, so I’ll mess with you even worse once I figure out whatever the hell this is. You punch me, I’ll punch back way harder on any given weekday and all day on a Sunday. Just know that the same hammer that shatters glass forges steel.

The night comes, bourbon is poured and I listen to the sounds of the city whilst staring at the lights of the nation’s capital. Feet are put on imaginary brakes because it’s not time to go back and face whatever this is just yet.

It’s easy to look like someone who’s been worn down by the wind, but whilst you might not like the way your world works right now, you know that you’re not naive enough to think that you can change it all. Sometimes you just need to try though, if only for yourself. One more spoon of cough syrup.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Why isn’t this enough?

There are things in life that you know intrinsically are a bad idea. Take running with the bulls in Pamplona. Sure, it’ll be helpful if you’re not the slowest thing on two legs, who wants to be chased by something that could kill you? Base jumping, bungee jumping into a crocodile infested river, yes, that’s a thing, kayaking over waterfalls, shark cage diving, skiing off a cliff, skydiving, train surfing, trekking around an active volcano, wing walking, there are way too many things to mention.

Not all bad decisions will risk your life thankfully. Putting pineapple on pizza will never be acceptable, choose the toppings you want, but be prepared to face never-ending ridicule. Calling or texting that one person that you know isn’t a good idea after one too many lime cordials will be embarrassing in the morning, but the feeling will pass. Brown shoes with black trousers? Take one more look in the mirror before you leave the house.

Going back to someone that you were with once before, how can that be a good idea?

Everyone’s been with someone when things just didn’t work. It would be great if we all lived in a world where no matter what happened in our relationships, every little problem could sort itself out, although that’s easier said than done. Isn’t a relationship supposed to be about two people who are able to have their own friends, hobbies, lives and thoughts but still come home at night and be with the person they love? You should definitely be able to have your own time outside of your relationship as well as in it, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Everyone is different about what they expect from someone, maybe you just made a bad choice, hopefully no crocodiles were involved. Any relationship needs to find a happy common ground, communication and compromise is key, right? A relationship without any of these things is like a car without petrol, stay in it all you want, but it’s not going to go anywhere. Sure, it doesn’t always work so it’s time to say goodbye. So, you move on, you get by and after a while, you’re okay again. Nothing else for it, sometimes you lose, you win, maybe you cry, you definitely grow, lessons are learned. Aren’t they?

We tried everything under the sun.

What if you try to give it another go and it doesn’t work out? You’ve been burned once before, why do it to yourself again? You only ever get a second chance at something you took a first chance at though, maybe it’s a good idea. It applies to both of you, when you split, chances are that someone has fucked up. It’s okay to give someone a second chance, but are third or fourth chances a bridge too far? This time it is. We know that it’s not going to work out, we tried it before, time to just let it go forever. What the fuck was I thinking even contemplating it? All we ever do is all we ever knew.

Thing is, people aren’t always what you want them to be. Sometimes they disappoint you or let you down, but we’re all capable of doing those things. It’s not like you can just meet someone and expect them to be everything you’re looking for and then be angry when they’re not. Aren’t you misguided if you believe that someone will be exactly what you imagined them to be? Hopefully sometimes it goes the other way, you give each other a chance, and you both turn out to be better than either of you ever thought possible. Jealousy off the scale right there.

What’s broken is broken, isn’t it better to remember it as it was than attempt to try and mend it, rather than recall all of the bad times? It hurts, it stings, but I know that going back would be wrong for both of us. Life has become easier because I’ve accepted an apology that I never got. It probably won’t be tomorrow, or the day after that, but soon, things will be better. After all, a face that’s going to be full of smiles used to be a face hidden with tears.

A brand new start or a brand new ending? Let’s see.

It’s time to wake up from this, it’s time to make up for it.

@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

Waiting for months, waiting for years.

How long does it take to get over someone, to finally accept and realise that you have to move on? A day, a week, a month, a year, longer? Tough question to answer, we’re all different and it probably depends on who ended things and how long you were together. Maybe when that moment arrives though, you click that giving up doesn’t always mean that you’re weak, sometimes it means that you’re strong enough to let go and forget them, or at least to try. It can be a relief to escape but it can hurt like hell to be discarded. If a person wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be, continually, day after day, but then a morning or night comes and one of you knows that feelings aren’t there any more. Sucks if you still have all of the feels though, you’re on the wrong side of the glass looking in, moving on is always easier for one of you when two people split. What now? You just take as long as you need, no point in rebounding straight into the arms of another.

Finding someone new can be hard enough, but then there’s the challenge of getting your timing right, assuming that you’re brave enough to ask the question, it shows vulnerability to put yourself out there again. If you manage it, sometimes you have to wait for the one person you like to make up their mind if feelings are reciprocated or not. If you miss your moment, has it gone forever? If you really want to do something though, you’ll find a way and if you don’t, you’ll always find an excuse to put those questions off. You can tell yourself that don’t have enough time but that’s bullshit. You have exactly the same number of hours in every single day that everyone in history had, think of all the things that a lot of them accomplished. Once you get to that stage when you think you might be ready to need or want someone, you have to ask yourself some questions. When, why not now, why not me?

Thing is, needing is one thing, and getting, getting’s another.

132,796,800 seconds, or 2,213,280 minutes, or 36,888 hours, or 1537 days, or 219 weeks and 4 days is probably long enough, right?

Sometimes a single word in English doesn’t describe the experience that you feel when someone new comes on your radar and you want to discover a little bit more about them. Tiam, a Farsi word, translates as the twinkle in your eye when you first meet someone. A Korean word, nunchi, is the subtle and often unnoticed art of listening and gauging another’s mood. Always nice to have a twinkle in your eye and to be able to identify whether or not someone likes you back.

A night out with friends happens, another chance to not be thinking of what and who’s gone before. Friends from school, old work colleagues, people that I’ve never met before mingle over drinks, food and music, it’s an eclectic mix. If you’re going to hang out with a bunch of new people, you introduce yourself, you make small talk at the very least. As a boy, you probably talk shit to other boys about sports, that definitely happens. You meet new girls, so you’re sure to compliment them on how they’re dressed or how amazing they look, that happens too. Just make sure that not all of your words are the same to the ladies, that would be a terrible idea.

Do you ever get the feeling when you know that someone’s looking at you? As I’m turning around and making my way to the bar, I can feel those eyes. It’s like a scene from a film, boy meets girl whilst ordering drinks and they get to chatting, but that’s what happens. Introductions are made, does any other boy feel weird when shaking hands with a girl? The same drinks are ordered, the girl has good taste. The conversation flows and it’s easy to talk, that twinkle might be coming back. Sure, she’s pretty but she’s intelligent, cheeky and intriguing. Looks can draw you in initially but aren’t other qualities so much more attractive? It’s not that other people are ignored, but if someone is captivating all of your attention, then how can it be wrong to continue to speak to them? Unless you’re a complete moron, you know when someone’s flirting with you, and you’d be a fool if you didn’t want to flirt back with someone that makes you smile, with someone that makes you feel good. You know when someone likes you and you know that someone knows that you like them, but someone has to be brave enough to lean in for a kiss or ask for your number at the very least. Not much bravery on show tonight. Hours later, the night ends, goodnights are exchanged. It would seem that hugs are now acceptable, tequila will do that.

The morning comes and I reach out to a bunch of people from the night before to try and find out more than just her first name or where she’s from or what her plans are. No one knows who she is, turns out that she wasn’t a part of our group. Fuck, not enough questions were asked and now there’s not much to go on if I ever want to see her again.

A first name, knowing her dual nationalities and the fact that she’s headed for a restaurant in Brooklyn to train as a chef is all I have to go on. How long would it take to check out 6646 restaurants to try and track her down? It’s an absolutely farcical idea but what if it’s time to find out? Take the chance, ask myself the question? It’s oxymoronic but what if we’re all just waiting to have the chance to not wait any more?

I’ve been sitting around, wasting my time, wondering what you’ve been doing.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Don’t let yourself sink.

‘Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.’ James Conant, a former president of Harvard said those words, clever guy. Maybe the consonants and vowels that left his mouth are about stepping out into the unknown and finding out what we’re all made of, perhaps trying to find that positive attitude towards change and your willingness to take risks in order to move forward with everything that you have going on in your life. Some days are easier than others though, aren’t they?

Just how it is, different things have a way now and again of hurting your heart or throwing you a curveball. When whatever you have going on throws you a left hook, you always want to hit back harder if you can. Easier said than done sometimes, but the thing is, if you look hard enough inside, you can always find something redeeming in even the worst of situations. It would be nice if we were immune to hurt, emotionally and physically but none of us are superheroes.

That said, the easiest thing in the world to do when you’re struggling with things is to sit and feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully a day comes though when you’re done sulking, you realise that you need to suck it up and fight back. Stick on the big boy pants and start with the one person that you can directly affect, maybe you’ll surprise yourself. Haven’t you got to keep moving on, try and get past all of the bad shit and look for something that will keep you moving forward? There’s nothing easier than doing all of the things that we always do, but when you get that feeling of doing that something different, shouldn’t you try and begin a new chapter? Sure, it matters what your life story has been up until that moment when you get that you’re not happy, or when you realise that you need something more. Undoubtedly, special things have happened to you so far, you’ve perhaps met the best person in your life that you’ll ever meet, you know that you have someone that you’ll love forever unconditionally. How about embracing the fact that you can write the rest of your story though, even if it’s just a tiny part?

We’ll all check out one day but before you do, don’t you want to check in first? Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, even if it’s risky, even if it might accelerate the checking out process? None of us wants to let the world rob us of something that we’ve always dreamt about doing. Sometimes you realise where it is that you need to be in that one moment when you suddenly get it and you need something to get you through whatever you’re experiencing right now. Maybe it’s time to completely let go of what you know, what you’ve been comfortable with, even just for a little while.

You haven’t come this far to fall off the earth.

When January 1st comes around, we all hope and believe that the new year will be our year. Some of us will make resolutions, hopefully most of us stick to them, but there’s that curveball again, something happens that you didn’t see coming. The end of a friendship, a relationship. The start of a new friendship, a new relationship. Illness, having to move house, switching jobs, fuck, it could be almost anything, couldn’t it? Good and bad things, they happen to all of us.

2019 is not going to plan so far.

Flying thousands of miles across the world to try and resurrect something that never really stood a chance. Having people that are important pass on. Being subjected to unexpected hospital stays, leaving said hospital, and then having to go back because your male pride makes you ignore medical advice because you had a ticket for the game. Spot the idiot. It turns out that this idiot though accidentally did something good amongst all of the bad, this unexpected stay might actually do some good and take care of something that was unexpected. That said, anyone who’s ever been in hospital knows how lonely a place it can be, what is there to do? If you said to your younger self that you’d spend more than 20 hours of your day in bed, you’d be pretty excited. Who is she, do we take showers together, where do we order food from, does anywhere deliver beer? Do I even float the idea of her wearing a Celtic top?

Just silliness, but a long time spent on your own gets you to thinking. If you’re facing challenges, isn’t it natural for your thoughts to turn to all of the things that you always wanted to do? Like every other choice or decision in your life, you need to pick one first, the rest can follow later. Sometimes you have no clue where the ideas about all of the things that you want to do in your life came from.

The night grows dark, but I’m wide awake. I post a tweet looking for advice about something that I’ve always wanted to do and a good friend replies with a belter of a recommendation.

I have zero clue why, but riding a freight train across the US has always been a thing. Is it illegal? Yes. Is there a chance of being arrested? Absolutely. Could I die? You know it. NYC to LA is the preferred option, always good to end a trip with meeting a close friend. There was a study conducted once and a thousand people were asked if they could know in advance whether or not they would want to know the day of their death. 96% of people said no. Is it wrong to want to be one of the other 4%? Chances are, it might be on one of those days. The journey could last a day, it could last a month.

On the outside looking in though, doesn’t it seem that people who are the happiest do whatever it takes to get to whatever they feel one of their highest points is to overcome all of their obstacles? Perhaps it begins with doing something that you never thought you’d do.

What will it take? Courage, determination, hope, perseverance and strength. Damn skippy, but that’s the same for anyone of us who’s fighting with something. It’s tough but don’t giving up on something that’s challenging.

Wherever it is that you want to get to, make fucking sure that you appreciate the view.

Just keep your head above.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Let’s savour what we’re falling over.

Isn’t life made up of a never-ending amount of choices, decisions and questions? It’s easy to deal with the little ones, soup or sushi for lunch, fish or steak for dinner. It doesn’t really matter, eat whatever you’re in the mood for. Which footwear, jeans or top to wear today? It’s pretty insignificant, you go with whatever you want to, don’t you? Tiny questions to ask yourself, miniscule decisions to be made, not things that will impact your life in a massive way. Huge or small though, they’re all still important to us in some way. Maybe you’re taking a girl for dinner, so anything with garlic is probably not the best idea, you might be wishing for that kiss to come at the end of the night. It’s probably a good idea to dress well too, you want to impress so that the chances of that kiss coming is greater.

It’s the big decisions, the ones that will change things for you forever that are tougher to make. Some we’ll be proud of, some we’ll regret and some will haunt us for the rest of our days. We all need different amounts of time to process and decide on the more important stuff, it’s different for everyone, right? A lot of times, they’re there in front of our faces and they can be extraordinarily difficult, but we need to choose at some point what or who it is we want. Perhaps sometimes though, it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. Asking a question isn’t difficult. Thing is, you might want to ask it but what happens if it eventually comes too late, but what if you can’t think about that now? What comes next could be amazing, take the chance? It’s like a beautiful woman, you want to look at her, to breathe her in before you kiss her, but do you have the stones to follow through? Some people say that the same is boring, but when you know, you know. We all watch the stars at some point, but don’t you want to watch them with someone you love? The truth is though that bad choices are bad choices. Ditto for the good ones. We can’t fuck around forever though. So we choose, we listen to our conscience, we ask ourselves a question, then we decide before asking someone else the exact same thing that we just asked ourself. Sure, you can spend your life listening to nothing but isn’t it for the hope of what you might hear? An answer to the question you pose means everything, just as long as it’s the right answer. It might be fifty fifty, better or worse odds, but isn’t it better for you to know if it’s a no or a yes? Moving on alone or with someone that you want to be with. The day comes and it’s time to ask the question, either shit or get off of the pot.

After leaving my apartment, I feel this cold inside me.

Break-ups suck balls. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, each person involved blames the other for the end of things, that’s just natural emotion. It’s worth remembering though that you shouldn’t always believe what you hear or read, the only two people that know the truth are the two people that are no longer together. Regardless, feelings and thoughts are involved on both sides. What comes next, how do I get over this, do I give you a second chance despite knowing what you did to me? No one else knows the truth except you and I but is my ego that big that I can’t forgive?

Time is apparently a great healer and whoever coined the phrase is right, but it’s okay for feelings to remain, isn’t it?

Walking alone along the beach and listening to the swell of the waves, my mood changes from remembering the initial excitement of the romance, to being weighed down by the inevitable loneliness that no one should experience as the end of all the emotions hit my horizon. I guess at the start, when you’re that high up with love, it turns out that it’s a long way down. Time though, what’s normal is whatever works for you, no need for second guessing.

Time to make another choice. Everything is going to change and it’s not me that has a choice or decision to make. The difficulty of understanding the question is understood but I know what the future can hold. New friends, a better quality of life, warm summers, every day on the beach or in the ocean if you want to.

Women apparently speak on average about 20k words a day, men about 17k. The three most important? I love you. The four? I still love you. Maybe the next three words right now? Come with me? The question is asked, an answer is waited on and I head for the place that won’t be home for much longer.

After leaving your apartment, I hear the coast.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife