#422 Hanging on

We’re all pretty much the same.

Packed tightly in our skintight skin is a bumpy clump of slippery organs and brittle bones. Yes, you’re a pile of bones, I’m a bucket of blood, you’re a slab of muscle, I’m a chunk of chub. And no matter what we got squeezing through our veins, zooming through our brains, and dripping out our drains, one big thing just always remains.

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

Baby brains buzz and little eardrums pop, baby lungs breathe deep and little eyelids flop, but as we grow up and grow older maybe we start letting differences be our guide, start choosing our own adventures, start carving paths and curving wide. We settle into ourselves, settle into our skin, settle into our lives, and find the comforts within…

We grow up, we grow older, some grow hotter, some grow colder. We focus on our tastes, on our preferences and our choices, we find our kinds of friends, we read our kinds of voices. We might cut deep paths, we may turn others away, we may deepen our divides, we may have nothing nice to say.

But way down deep in our stomachs, way down deep in our hearts, we can always remember that no matter which way we turn, which lessons we learn, which bridges we burn…

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

No matter what money we earn, what chances we churn, what choices we spurn…

We’re all pretty much the same.

We’re all pretty much the same.

Because we’ve all got cracks and chips, we’ve all got sores and scratches, we’ve all got doubts and dreams, we’ve all got hearts with patches. We laugh and cry, we soar and sink, we go up and down, we stop and think. Behind your favorite things, behind your bestest friends, behind your fears and doubts… we’re all waiting here again.

We’re all in this big show together.

We’re all singing the same song.

We’re all walking into the future.

As we all keep hanging on.


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111 thoughts on “#422 Hanging on


    I love this. So, so, so much. A universal and timeless reminder, flawlessly written.

    I’m going to read it to my class tomorrow.

    Thanks for being the best blog-writer ever.


  2. if this isnt a song already, can someone make it a song!

    put some music behind it..

    would make it even more awesomeer :)

    (if even possible)

    this is one of your finest neil :)

    just love it.

    1. I think Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova could fit this perfect words into a beautiful music. It’s their style.

  3. WHAT a post! So fitting for what I’m going through right now. Glad I stayed up to see the update… I’ll rest easier tonight. Thank you so much :D

  4. This post is simply perfect. There isn’t a soul in this world who cannot relate to these words. This honestly made me cry tonight. Perfect, simply perfect.

  5. I just started college. And I have been feeling very alone at a school where I know very few people and I am without my best friends. I have been reading this blog for several months, and I have read every single entry. But this one is very special to me. You give me hope quite often, Neil, but tonight that hope hit me in just the right spot.

    Thanks and love,

    1. I am starting my second year of college, but I know exactly how you feel-I didn’t have any new friends last year and only knew 4 other people from my high school who went to my large (35,000+ students) school. The first year is tough, but push through. It does get better. Good luck.

    2. I am also a college student, dealing with homesickness and adjusting to college life. Often your blog brings me joy, but today’s post was especially awesome.
      This very, very special post is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much.

      1. LOL.. i had to just laugh then..

        because your name ‘ewa’ is a lot like the maltese word to ‘yes’

        it is said ‘ee-wah’

        and your reply to the comment was ‘yep’.


  6. We are the same indeed.

    I think there’d be a lot less drama if we got this into our organs.

    Unfortunately, most of us have the old “us and them” mentality.

    What a shame.

    For other shameful things, visit:


  7. I needed this.

    Thank you.

    I haven’t read all the entries yet, but i plan to. I can tell this one will be a favorite still.


  8. This one was a great thing to wake up to. I usually check the site at night but something told me to check this morning. It’s cuz it was what I really needed.

    Thanks :)

  9. Day of an Ochem 2 test you put this up, thanks a mil! This is EXACTLY the kind of ‘awesome’ I needed going into today…

  10. You know the right things to say to make me smile. My day was starting out pretty crappy and I get on here and you cheer me right up. I love this. Poem, song …whichever…. it is perfect and very beautifully written.

    This one needs to be in book 2.

  11. I waited up until about 12:30 for this post to come up to make my triumphant return. It’s a shame I didn’t beat Laura to this one, because, as it’s been said by many already, this is one of the best posts yet.

    This is something I need to be reminded of almost daily. Luckily my life has been taking some turns for the better lately (hence why I’ve been so busy), but every once in a while I do need to be reminded that we all have our faults, and we’ll always push through them.

  12. this is by far my favorite post so far. what and how it is written is so beautiful and inspirational! I am going to immediately print it out and tape it to my door :)

  13. Beautiful! Yes, one of my favorites so far. Your blog has been one of the most inspiring things I have read in the past several years and has been a very helpful tool as I have decided to turn from dark to light. Hurray! :-)

  14. After what has proven to be a very long weekend (and not in the good sense of the word) this post hit the spot. Awesome.

  15. Listen, I’m a huge fan and proponent of this blog — I think it’s great. But this entry is just lame.

    It reads like it was written by a eighth grader writing a hurried essay ten minutes before it’s due and hoping it sounds “deep”.

    I’m not trying to hate on you or on the theme of the post, but I was shocked to see how many people enjoyed it that much. I guess I should keep my dissenting opinion (and I appear to be the only one) to myself. I know what the comments following mine will say, and I’m sure they won’t like my opinion.

    I have been a subscriber and avid reader of the blog for over a year and this is the first post that I haven’t thought was exceptionally good.

    But, Neil, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re an inspiration and bring a lot of happiness to your readers, which is a rough thing to do. If you, personally, take issue with my opinion, feel free to E-mail me and I’ll expand upon it.

    Sorry for not liking this one.

    1. Agreed.

      I haven’t loved every post but this is the first one that I just didn’t get. I read all the comments and apparently everyone else got this message (and a message that I agree with!) but the medium was such that I completed missed it.

      1. Ha! Hey TrixieRix.. just saw your comment now.. :) Too funny..

        I remember reading Matt’s comment when this post first came around.. And I disagreed pretty strongly (as one would imagine), but thought that he’d went to some pretty great pains to be respectful in his disagreement, which isn’t something we always see much of around here from the dissenting crowd (or on the internet more generally).. So, I don’t necessarily agree with Matt’s taste in posts, but would encourage others who don’t like any posts to follow his example.. Proof one can disagree with posts without being a jerk about the whole thing.

        Now, the whole “8th grader hurried essay” comparison smacked a little too much of Simon Cowell’s typical criticism-by-unflattering-and-exaggerated-comparison (i.e., “you sounded like a 3rd rate cabaret act on a low-budget cruise ship”)

        It’s alright though – I’m sure Neil will just keep “Hanging On”..

    2. To follow up on my last post, Neil DID take me up on my invitation to discuss the post more via E-mail. He handled my criticism with genuine class, and listened to all the points that I believe made this post inferior.

      I still believe that this is the only post on this blog that I dislike ( or don’t understand, perhaps) and that everything else is wonderfully crafted. I just felt that this piece, as an experiment, didn’t work for me. It clearly did for many people. I promise you, Talita, I didn’t mean to give any indications of superiority in my post, though it may come off that way.

      Freddo, I’m not a big user of the comments section (I use an RSS reader and rarely click through to the actual site), but it seems like you’re somewhat of an authority in these comments, and I’m glad to see that you understood that I was indeed a fan and not a raving lunatic.

      My “eighth grader” remark did cross the line slightly, but again I was holding this site to a high standard, and I needed an analogy to reflect that. After having spoken with Neil, I’ve made it aware several times about the high quality of his writing and the influence it has on me, as a writer.

      I apologize if anyone was upset by my derision of this much-beloved post. Don’t let my minority opinion get in the way of your enjoyment.

  16. Exactly the sentiment I needed in my life right now, thank you. Similar to Breana above, I’ve just started college and was feeling exceptionally lonely…this post helps. Keep writing awesome things.

  17. you want to know something awesome? this post was proven within the comments.

    to Breana and Catherine, i too have just started college and have felt nothing but sad and alone. i read this blog every day and i really needed to read a post like this to help my get by. we are all pretty much the same, and we are in this big show together. neil had it 100% correct.

    thank you, this is really wonderful.

  18. in a slightly different light, but along the same path, the song Float On by Modest Mouse has a great message too!

  19. Wow. Just wow, this one was simply amazing, great post, my favorite by far, keep up the amazing work man, thanks for bringing me a smile right now.

  20. Wow… that was awesome. :)

    While it wasn’t my favorite post, I love love love the occasional “DEEP” posts, like the ones about slowing down, moving on, those dramatic and somewhat sad ones. But also really hopeful. Thanks for making me want to make this special school year especially awesome. We all love you haha <3

  21. I would just like to say… THANK YOU.
    Thank you for a beautiful, awesome thing today.
    My great aunt passed away this morning, I think it’s thoughts like this that really bring us together at the rough patches in life; because we ARE all in this together.

  22. This brought tears to my eyes.

    Your website has meant so much to me over the past year, and this entry really really hits home. I’ve just had the most emotionally tolling 24 hours of my life and it almost seems like fate that you posted this today.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do.

  23. this is so great.
    This morning I woke up crying (as usual) and dreading getting ready for the day. Then something told me to go on the computer (which I never do in the morning) and I see this.

    This post made me cry a little and it was perfect way to start my day.

    By the way: Today was not as bad as yesterday :]

  24. Reading the comments is just as inspirational. Although this is not one of my favourite posts, I just love the way it’s touched so many different people… this is what I love the most about this blog. Geez, Neil, do you even get how amazing you are?

  25. This is amazing on every possible level.
    It has truly made me smile.
    I will never forget this and show it to as many people I know.
    This had made my day worthwhile :)

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