#569 Sharing your stories with friends

Howdy, y’all.

This time, four years back, The Book of Awesome was first made available for pre-order. It meant so much to me and I wanted to share my stories and my excitement with my readers over the course of a week’s posts.

This is post one of five in the series.

Now, part of the reason I wanted to write the book was because I know there are lots of folks who maybe aren’t online that much, don’t read blogs, or just haven’t found us, who might enjoy Awesome Things as much as we do. I always hoped the book would help spread the awesome and makes more people smile.

And, let’s be honest, this is really all because of you. This book wouldn’t be here without your support and anyone who ever receives a copy from a friend or family member owes you a boatload for tuning in, commenting, voting us for awards, and spreading the awesome around the intertubes.

I’ll share stories about me for the rest of this week but start today by sharing some that have been sent in which the authors have kindly allowed me to publish. See, I don’t mention it much but there have definitely been many late nights where I thought I might not be able to do it anymore. There have been long days and bumpy moments where I thought maybe I’d run out of steam and would need to stop the awesome countdown.

But it’s stories like the ones below that pop up in my inbox and give me energy right when I need it most.

I hope you like them.

STORY #1

——–– Forwarded message ———-
From: Kathy
Subject: Your site
To: 1000 Awesome Things

Since my husband passed away at the young age of 58 and leaving me a widow at the very young age of 50 and greiving simply and fervently for almost 6 months, I came to realize all the simple joys in the day. I now work at an activity center for developmentally disabled adults, our mission statement is ‘helping them become more independent and integrating them into the community’……..and a lot of the joy I have in a day happens there.
Today I came across your website and I have to say…….this is the absolute BEST website on the internet. You have created something that the worlds population should go to every single day of their lives and read at least one awesomething…..It puts the world into perepective and helps realize that life isn’t so bad…….and theres always something to find joy in…..always a little thing to pay attention to….something to make the day better and make tomorrow something within reach no matter how desolate our situation is.
Thank you for creating your site…..I have bookmarked it and put a shortcut on my desktop as a reminder to go there daily……keep up the good work…….you have made my day brighter!!!
Kathy

STORY #2

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sam
Subject: just wanted to say thank you…
To: 1000 Awesome Things
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Depression is something I have to struggle with on a daily basis. Some days are worse than others, and this past weekend has been unusually rough for me… I found the site, while reading through the comments of another site… and I just want to say thank you.

Some of the items on your list afforded me a much needed smile, and every so often a near medicinal chuckle… from the bits that affect me today, to the ones that made me feel a bit nostalgic…. it has been an interesting read thus far- but I thought you needed to know you made someone smile, when it mattered the most.

STORY #3

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Nancy
Subject: 1000 Awesome Things
To: 1000 Awesome Things

Hi Neil,

I did a great ‘lesson’ with a grade eight class at my school. I showed them about 40 of the awesome things from your website. I picked things I thought they could relate to and they did! Then, the kids got into groups and made a list of their own. Each group then presented their ideas to the class. I instructed each group to pick their two favourite and I am sending you those now.

Taylor, Marysuzan, Natalie, Jenn: Running through a ribbon after a race, When your fashion style is the new trend

Matt R, Matt H, Josh: Giving an expensive gift that you got for free, Jumping off your roof into a pool

Cody, Mitan, TJ, Joey, Kareem: Blowing out someone else’s birthday candles, When live performers fall off the stage

Brooke, Najah, Lavan: Finding a chocolate bar in your pocket that you think is melted and then finding out it’s not, Putting McDonald’s french fries in your hamburger

Odane, Zakk, Brad, Naser: The smell of Grandma’s house, Placing your belongings in a friend’s afro (weird?)

Hope you enjoy these awesome things!!!

Nancy

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Yes, sharing stories with friends brings us all closer together. In these anonymous days of gated communities, big-box stores, and rampant Interneting, stories have a magnetic power to connect us and help us realize we’re never truly alone. Whether we’re talking about wordless apologies, intergenerational dancing, or tripping and realizing nobody saw you, it’s always inspiring to realize we’re all in this together, moving forward day by day, on the same big ship, on the same big ocean.
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Here’s to sharing your stories with friends.
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AWESOME!
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p.s. For old time’s sake, I’ll leave comments open this week, too!
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Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#570 When a little baby gives you a hug before you leave

Thanks for the tight squeeze before you hit the road. We’ll miss you too.

Later, baby.

AWESOME!

 

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#571 Realizing you still remember your childhood friend’s phone number

Etched and sketched into the spider web recesses of our brains are all kinds of cold storage items and garage sale knick-knacks we don’t really use anymore. But once in a while it’s fun to reach back, back, way back, and discover that our creaky treasure chests are holding bits of buried gold.

Realizing you still remember old phone numbers gives a great smile-and-sunshine vibe. Lips curl, eyes twinkle, and memory reels start whirring on the rusty projector as you remember dialing those digits, day after day, day after, day after day. Making plans for the park, grumbling about teachers, whispering about cute classmates late at night, you just suddenly remember those times, those moments, and those old, old friends.

Dial them up today.

AWESOME!

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#572 Learning a new keyboard shortcut

The other day my friend Gillian was telling us about the first time her mom used a computer.

It was a long time ago, back, back, way back, and the story goes that the whole family was unpacking their new heavy, chunky PC in the middle of the living room. Styrofoam was cracked apart, boxes were torn up, and then they all slowly gathered around this big gray Box of the Future, waiting for its information powers and knowledge showers to rain down upon them.

Now, most of the fam had used a computer before so someone suggested mom get her e-groove on first. A lamp was turned on, a shiny wooden chair brought from the kitchen, and mom sat down while the machine booted up. Then, while everybody was waiting, she slowly and carefully unwrapped the mouse from its plastic bag and calmly put it on the floor by her foot.

And then, while everybody watched, Gillian’s mom slowly mimed typing and started pushing her foot on the mouse like a sewing machine pedal.

It was a hilariously cute moment.

Because we were all there once, too.

Sure, maybe you didn’t think stepping on the mouse made the computer go, but you probably were an awkward pile of keyboard konfusion as you got up to speed. Maybe you took a tutorial to learn how to double-click or you signed up for DOS classes down at the city center.

But come on, no matter what, no matter when, you know it’s totally true: You once sucked at computers, too.

But then over time you got a bit better, then a bit better, then a bit better, and now you’re pretty good. You started double-clicking instead of triple-clicking, changed your resolution from super zoomed-in to super zoomed-out, and started ALT-TABing like your life depended on it.

You turned into e-You, a barely recognizable quick-clicking Year 3000 cyborg version of yourself.

Now, the thing is that way, way down deep in your core you’re still the same person who touched a computer for the first time and learned everything from scratch. That girl’s still part of you. That guy’s still part of you.

You still remember the excitement you felt as you learned all those tips and tricks. And that’s really what makes it exciting as you keep learning tips and tricks. Yes, whether it’s a new keyboard shortcut or how to whistle, whether it’s stopping on skates or playing Stairway to Heaven, you still feel the joy of learning buzzing through your body every day.

See, you weren’t sure if you could do it, but then you tried it, and then you could. You practiced and practiced and practiced or maybe it suddenly dawned on you over time. Learning a new keyboard shortcut feels great.

That’s because learning anything feels

AWESOME!

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#573 That one person who laughs when you tell a really bad joke

This is also known as The Pity Laugh and it somehow manages to save your terrible joke from being a complete bomb. See, now you didn’t serve up a dud that hit dead air. No, no, your humor is just a little high brow and hard to understand, that’s all.

AWESOME!

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#574 Nudging the shower faucet a little bit hotter then a little bit hotter

If your body starts getting used to that hot water it’s time to crank up the heat to keep the steam coming. Or if you’re in a race against the tank just turn that dial without mercy and get ready to lean back, relax, and sweat it all out.

AWESOME!

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#575 When the guy with a full grocery cart lets you go ahead because you’re only buying one thing

There you are holding a dozen eggs behind a guy slow-rolling a fat shopping cart stuffed with frozen pizzas, cases of soda, and piles of produce in plastic bags. But just as your eyes start skimming the tabloid headlines and you steady yourself for a long wait, he peeks back and notices your tiny purchase and offers you the next spot in line.

AWESOME!

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#576 Appreciating the beauty of all your body’s scars and scratches

My friend Joey got his face ripped off last week.

Yeah, while staring at his cheek in the mirror a few months back he noticed a a small rubbery bump below the surface of his skin. Few months, few phone calls, few appointments later he found himself under the knife in a five-hour surgery getting a chestnut sized tumor slowly untied and airlifted out of a knotty nest of nerves in a high stakes game of Operation.

Thankfully he’s okay and he’s all better and he’s managed to bounce over a pretty bumpy hill in life. We were all pretty nervous but he’s come out clean on the other side.

Plus, now he’s got a crazy scar from his ear down to his neck to show for it.

And sure, over the years the stitches will drop out, hair might grow over, and the lines on his face could slowly fade away. But he’s really got a reminder every day of how lucky he is to be alive. He added some dents and scratches to his life story.

And unless you’re a baby-powder-smelling ball of smooth skin and giggles, I’m betting your flesh and bones is covered with some gashes, scratches, scabs and stains, too.

Maybe it’s that fleshy scar on your hand from the eighth grade fistfight. You were on the bus back from shop class throwing pockets of sawdust around when tempers flared and a couple headlocks later you tripped and hit the ground.

Maybe it’s the ghost of that Giant Zit of ’97 on your forehead. Did you squeeze it too hard before prom and end up with a bad cover-up job? If so, maybe you can still find your old friend in that photo album, wedged tightly between up-dos, wrist corsages, and freshly pressed tuxes.

Maybe it’s a blurry tattoo you got with distant friends you don’t speak to anymore. You were young, you were graduating, you wanted a memento of getting through a tough year together. And you got it.

It’s the zippery line up your groin from the hernia, the tingly bump in your collarbone from the monkey bars, or the big birthmark on your back you’ve hidden under bathing suits for years.

But whatever yours are, wherever yours are, and however you got them, one thing’s for sure: your bumps and scratches are part of your life and part of your story. They’re part of your lows… and part of your glories. Yes, they’re memories of bad decisions and reminders of good ones. And they all come together in a nicely wrapped package that we like to call… you.

See, we’re all a bit bent, we’re all a bit busted, we’re all a bit broken, we’re all bit rusted. Underneath all the crinkly jeans and wrinkly shirts are beautifully personal collections of hairy legs, scratchy scars, and spotty skin.

So take a second to stop today and love all your scabs and patches. Just kiss those moles and rub those bumps and smile at all your scratches.

AWESOME!

Psst, take a second to check for lumps today.

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#577 Looking at the clock and seeing that it’s 12:34

When this happens it’s like your day is winking at you. It sort of feels like all the mysteries of the world are about to unfold before your eyes as the universe puts up its hand and says “Hey, stop for a second!”

Also applies to 11:11.

AWESOME!

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#578 Correctly guessing the actor voicing the animated movie character

Everybody loves cartoons.

Ain’t it fun cuddling up under the blanket or plopping down on the plushy seats and getting absorbed in the tall tales about lost clown fish, tough-talking great white sharks, or Parisian sewer rats with dreams of becoming five-star chefs?

Yes, after the movie starts rolling and you fall into the cartoon fantasy, there’s always that moment where a new character enters the story and starts stealing the scene. And everyone recognizes the voice and everyone knows the voice, but without a visual it’s tough guessing which big name star’s sweating in the dark studio holding crumpled sheets of printed lines wearing giant Princess Leia head phones.

That’s why it’s great when the electrons suddenly go boom in someone’s brain and they jump up and scream out a name. Then everyone smiles and laughs and breathes a big sigh of recognition relaxation. Oh sure, sometimes there’s online fact-checking or the occasional wait-till-the-credits confirmation, but how sweet is it when someone just shouts it out and totally nails it?

Pretty sure we all know the answer to that.

AWESOME!

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