#565 Moving forward and moving on

We’re all gonna get lumps.

We’re all gonna get bumps.

Nobody can predict the future but we do know one thing about it: It ain’t gonna go according to plan.

Yes, we’ll all have massive highs, big days, and proud moments. Color faded, postcard-streaked blurs will float and flash through our brains on our deathbeds, of wide eyes on graduation stagesfather-daughter dances at weddings, and healthy baby screeches in the delivery room. And dotting those big moments will be smaller ones too: fragile hugs with Grandma on Christmas morning, two-year-olds handing you a bouquet of dandelions and saying ‘I love you’, or your boyfriend staring into your eyes and smiling while lazing in bed on Sunday morning.

But like I said.

We’re all gonna get lumps.

We’re all gonna get bumps.

It’s sad but things could happen or hurt you that you just can’t predict.

Your husband might leave you, your girlfriend may cheat, your headaches might be serious, your dog could get smacked in the street. Yes, your kids might get mixed up with tough gangs or bad scenes. It’s sad but your mom could get cancer… or your dad could get mean.

There will be times in your life you’re tossed down the well, too. There will be times you’ll cry yourself to sleep, with twists in your stomach, with holes in your heart. You may wonder if it’s all worth it and you may think that it ain’t. You may wonder if you can handle it or you may beg for restraint.

But when bad news washes over you and when the pain sponges and soaks in, I really hope you feel like you’ve always got two big choices:

1. You can swish and swirl in gloomy darkness forever, or
2. You can grieve and face the future with newly sober eyes

Sure, life has dealt me some blows in the couple years I’ve been writing this site and this book. There was the mind-numbing loneliness of moving to a brand new nowhere town, the broken heart of a major breakup, the searing waves of regret when a friend disappeared, and the general life pressures of starting a new job, living on my own, and trying to make new friends in a big city.

But I’m lucky because I’ve had a way out for the past two years. I’ve had a secret pill to swallow, a magic potion to swirl, and a bubbly cauldron to sip from every time I felt down or felt black or felt blue. And I hope you know that remedy and I hope you feel it, too.

After all, you’re reading it right now.

Yes, awesome things make my life better, people. And I hope they do the same for you.

I honestly can’t go a day anymore without smiling at a couple tiny awesome things in my world. Whether it’s fixing electronics by smacking them, waking up and realizing it’s Saturday, or moving all my wet clothes from the washer to the dryer without dropping anything, these tiny things make a great big difference.

So come on. Come on! Are you with me? Who’s with me? I say if you’ve got a couple fist-pumps in you, if you’ve got a sneaky twinkle in your eye, if you’ve got an itchy old soul that loves smiling at strangers, dancing at weddings, and popping the hell out of bubble wrap, then come on in and join The AWESOME Movement.

Yes, it’s my sincere hope that The Book of Awesome helps those who need it to grieve, move on, and remind them the best things in life are free. For those folks, maybe it’s a ladder out of the well or a dusty flashlight beam in the darkness. For others, perhaps it’s just a little laugh on the back of the toilet, a bit of peace before bed, or a spark for debates about gasoline fumes, alarm clock strategy, or what matters most to you, you, or you.

For me, I know I’ll have more dark days, and I know my friends will too, but I like thinking that snow days, steamy buffets, and the cool side of the pillow will always cheer me through to the other side.

While polar ice caps melt, while health care debates rage on, while buzz saws chop down forests, while wars go on and on, I hope there’s always a special place we can click online in the darkness or flip open for a few minutes to turn off that bright light, snuggle right on up, and get comfy to chat about the sweetest parts of life.

Thank you for letting me take a break to share personal stories about myself and behind The Book of Awesome this week. The comments and emails have been achingly beautiful and wet my eyes many times. I am so incredibly thankful, lucky, honored, and excited to keep going down this road with you.

Thank you for letting our stories all tightly twist together as we all keep moving forward and we all keep moving on.


Feb 21, 2014

Hey everyone!

Today, I’d like to offer you a special invitation. I’ve started a small and private email list to send new writing out for feedback (it’s different — more self-help and businessy!), share weird ideas, and have a bit of fan-club fun. I’d like to add a few more people so if you’re interested, drop a comment below and tell me why you’d like to join. Make sure you use your real email address in the post.

Hope you’re all enjoying 2014! I can’t believe we started this community six years ago now. Your support helps me keep this blog ad free and open forever. Dastardly ads, they can’t take over our space.

Lots of love and high fives,


Check out The Book of Awesome

Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, and here

72 thoughts on “#565 Moving forward and moving on

  1. Hey! My name is Samantha. I’ve been reading your books and your posts for quiet a few years now. Your posts are creative, witty, make me laugh, reflect and just realize the little things in life are just plain awesome. When I was in graduate school I referred to your posts as way to reflect in my work and the writings of popular culture, it even encouraged me to create my own blog and write. I’d like to join your group as I’m a writer with a lot to share from crazy experiences from a student-life perspective like Drinking Rockstars for 5 days straight for midterms with your roommate, to traveling across the province to visit a coffee shop but of course plan the simple things in life that make you the person you are. I have stories to share and experience like no other. You can contact me at

  2. Hi Neil,

    I’m one of the many who read your posts from afar. Your little bits of sunshine appear in my inbox just when they are most needed. I often wonder how you find a seemingly never ending wealth of awesome ideas.

    Your posts this week have been introspective and I felt like I was sharing a bit of your life. Thank you.

    Any help you need, I’m willing.



  3. Neil,
    I would love to join your group. For a couple of years now, I have enjoyed reading awesome things and they help bring a smile to my face and remind me what is really important.

  4. Hi Neil,
    This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you.
    I’ve been reading your blog for years and often a post strikes just the right chord on the right day… and that truly is AWESOME.

  5. Every day comes with it’s own challenges. I think I walk a fine line between being overwhelmed by them and dealing with them. A lot has happened in the last few years which make me nervous for the future. Taking these moments to recognise the small yet great feelings in every day life, grants me a little perspective to focus on the good. Thank you for 1000 awesome things and everything you’ve done to share the good in life. Id love to join your group.

  6. Hi, I have been reading your posts, books for years. They have made me smile on the most difficult days. I manage mental health programs for a local non profit . I am trying to strengthen our online presence to connect with individuals isolated by their illness. Personally, the last two years has been a tumultuous journey of becoming a single parent. I would like to join your group because I think it would enrich my journey. Thanks for all the Awesome :)

  7. Hi Neil,
    I love your site and have been a long-time follower and even an imitator. Please keep me in the loop for future developments and things you have in the works.
    Your fellow Torontonian,

  8. Hi Neil, I found out about your website a few years ago. Since then, it is how I start my day.
    As most of us, there are days that are just tough and then I take a moment and try to think of something AWESOME. I am a single parent, have a busy job and family memebers with health problems. But I am moving on. I have come to realize that it is the little things that make the difference. I am trying to take more moments to laugh, to be thankful and to reflect. All of this is because I have used your postings and books to get into a different mindset. Thanks for sharing and I hope that I can be a part of your future developments.


  9. Your posts inspire me because they speak of gratitude for life’s tiniest miracles. I believe in being thankful. Saying it and showing it. The English author Aldous Huxley wrote, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” It’s awesome you show us otherwise.

  10. Your site has helped put everything (life, work, etc.) in perspective. When I first met my husband, one of the awesome things related to us/him. I shared it and it sparked a whole awesome movement between us. Whenever he walks the malls/stores he always looks for awesome shirts for me. As a wedding present, I kept a list of all the little things that make him awesome, including looking for the shirts.

  11. Im 65 and my body is like 95 with all my health problems etc but in my heart and mind im 25 thats where I feel GOOD and your awesome things help to keep me going by reminding me of things and giving ideas to help others fight the drab and sometimes hohum days I live in an old folks place it great to give a smile and such to others to make their day and you do that for me thanks so much

  12. Neil, your work serves as my perpetual voice of reason whenever I get too focused on the little things and spiral into excessive negativity. I am a detail-oriented person and have a Type A personality, chronically leading me into a tunnel vision mindset. Your blog and book remind me that life is not the events that occur, but how we as people perceive them. You have proven time and again that happiness is in the eye of the beholder. It would be an honor and a pleasure to assist you in your latest work.

  13. I have had my share of troubles but nevertheless always remember the good times as well. Right now i have a young daughter who needs awesome things in life to lift her spirits. I want to join and hopefully motivate her as well.

  14. Wow…I really needed you today, thanks for being there in my inbox waiting patiently. I would love to be a part of your new email list, .I think my business life needs a little more awesome!

  15. Great blog and book. I just wish you had a “like” button down on this page. I just spent twenty minutes trying to get that food out that was stuck between two back teeth, and my tongue just had victory. Awesome.

  16. I read both of your books to my son at bedtime. a few Awesomes to end the day. We have loved it! please add me to your email list!

  17. As the single parent of three teenagers my kids and I sometimes have needed thereminder to pause and notice the awesome that life hands us. As all of my kids have gone through those rough patches of growing up and negotiating the challenge that is middle school and high school asking what was awesome today at dinner sometimes saaves terribles day. Thanks. Woudl lloe to be part of more of this.

  18. I can’t possibly add to the comments above other than to say I am once more reminded of our common humanity…and that’s a good thing…thank you.

  19. Hello Neil and all!

    Your reminders of the wonderfully awesome little things in life are truly appreciated. I think something awesome is the mere fact that we can all relate to these awesome things and moments and get that same feeling despite our differences. It feels good to feel good and I’d love to be a part of the list!

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