#130 When someone you haven’t seen in forever suddenly pops into your dreams

Welcome back, fourth grade classmate. We forgot you existed, boss from the burger joint. Thanks for coming back for a tea, Grandma.

Yes, life is full of twists and tunnels and old relationships sometimes disappear into the well. So when someone from your past makes a Cameo Dream appearance, just welcome them back with a smile and a snooze.

AWESOME!

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#131 When the plane skids down smoothly on the runway

I sat beside a Curled Up Ball on a flight recently.

Poor girl hadn’t been on a plane before and was gripping the armrests, gritting her teeth, and eyeballing the barf bag the entire trip. Me, I was enjoying unlimited tomato juice, an insightful in-flight magazine article about hotels I should stay at in cities I will never visit, and a beautiful red sunset over Care-A-Lot. But even me, Joe Cool, still suffers from Last Minute Freakout, always suddenly believing in those final few swervy seconds that we’re about to crash land.

It doesn’t help that the plane cabin dims all the lights before landing, either. It’s like “Welcome to an evening of theater!” In this evening’s production of ‘Will We Land Safely?’, the role of Peeing-His-Pants Passenger will be played by … you.

Curled Up Ball and I made brief eye contact as the Seatbelt Sign glowed brightly on our sweat-shiny foreheads. She looked at me for support and I’m not proud to say I offered none, instead giving her a fake smile and a loud gulp.

We swerved, we curved, we lifted, we dropped, and suddenly out the window it looked like we were at ground level but hadn’t touched down. Buildings whizzed by and we held on quietly and stiffly with our heads back just in time to finally feel the loud bounce of those tiny wheels slamming into the runway.

When the plane touches down everyone releases their collective breath and we get a loud and skiddy sign that we’re finally home.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#132 Playing music so loud you forget where you are

Get lost, elevator jazz. Hang up, hold music. Pack your bags, grocery store soundtrack.

Your whispering background noise is an insult to music everywhere.

Yes, when the soul-lifting beauty of music dissolves into fluorescent-dim worlds of three-piece suits, can-clinking carts, and phone calls to cable companies, it becomes Music Wallpaper – polite, pleasant, pastel-pasted.

Loud music demands attention.

Booming tunes shush coffee table conversations, ringing cell phones, and scattering thoughts. When songs slam your brain, bass shakes your bones, and chest-clenching notes sponge into you, it’s like you suddenly slip outside of being you…

1. Dark dance parties. I was hanging at my apartment a few weeks ago with old friends from school. After clinking drinks and chatting about old times we suddenly shoved all the furniture to the side, flicked off the lights, and cranked up the music. Mortgage rates, back pain, and job fears all disappeared into darkness as we slipped and skidded across sliding floors. Sweaty bangs, big smiles, and twenty-finger cracks squeakily lowered the velvety curtains on the backdrop of the world.

2. Airplane escapes. Cranking your headphones on long flights helps you slip into safe spaces in strange places. Rip-rocketing through thunderstorms at breakneck speeds in liquidless, security-screened worlds of emergency exits, recycled air, and screaming babies can be stressful. So pull on your hoodie, close your eyes, and slouch deep into the blaring abyss.

3. Midnight drives. Fresh farm air rips through open windows, painted lanes whip by, and skunk and hay bales fill your car as you twist down empty roads on your way home. Let the bumping radio snap you to attention and sing-a-long on the dark drive home.

Yes, loud music demands attention.

Suddenly all the energy the band bucketpoured into the recording flies straight out of your speakers and into your heart. Drum beats revolve as your worries dissolve and cymbals crash to pieces as your brain finally releases.

Let your self float away.

AWESOME!

Photos from: Lumperjack and Laura Galley

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#134 Setting a new record for yourself in anything

My friends Mike and Kathryn had a baby last year.

I was out visiting them on the west coast recently and we spent a quiet night on the couch playing with their diaper-clad, chubby-legged, wide-eyed son Malcolm. We took turns rocking him, yanking on his toes, and holding him above our heads like Simba. To return the favor he giggled and waved his arms and legs around sharply and wildly like Bambi on ice.

The evening was pretty quiet until Malcolm happened to let out the giantest burp I’ve ever heard from a baby. It was a long and deep gut-clearing belch that was part tugboat, part T-Rex, and all class.

After the burp Malcolm’s emotionless, slowly blinking eyes didn’t seem particularly impressed but Mike got right into it. “Ladies and gentlemen!” he began, like a boxing announcer winding up the crowd. “We have a newwwwwwwwww … champion-of-the-world!”

Cuddling the Bald Burper on the couch, Mike went on to excitedly explain how Malcolm was constantly setting new records for himself. “We hit longest sleep recently and biggest dump was about six months back,” he said, putting his floppy-sweatsock feet up on the coffee table. “Haven’t seen a diaper that full since.”

Sure enough, these Guinness Book accounts of Malcolm’s record-smashing ways got us all talking about how setting a new record for yourself in anything is great. It feels like a small victory, like passing a little test, it feels like learning more about you, like pushing into that new personal best.

After all, there’s the longest speech you’ve given, there’s the most games you played, there’s the longest drive you’ve driven, and there’s the best catch you made. And although these white-ribbon finishes aren’t always surrounded by cheering crowds, flashing cameras, and newspaper headlines, the truth is that doesn’t matter. Because when you set a personal record you can whip out your personal notebook and make a personal note.

“Giantest burp ever.”

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#135 When you finish the shampoo and conditioner bottles at the same time

Things start, things finish.

Just sometimes not at the same time.

1. Ketchup and mustard. While you’re fart-squeezing that big bottle of ketchup I’m guessing the squat bottle of yellow mustard is still sitting pretty full right beside you, even though it expired in 2005. No need for the picnic multi-pack when you hit the store.

2. Toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. After squeezing the final minty molecules from the tube it’s time to head to the drug store for a fresh box. But forget the floss and mouthwash because they’re still sitting under a layer of dust in the corner. There’s no point at all in trying to time the drugstore pickup. The two unopened deodorants in your medicine cabinet are proof of that.

3. Nachos and salsa. What is the ideal salsa to nacho ratio? Buddhist monks have debated this eternal question for centuries. And they haven’t figured out an answer yet, judging by the handful of nacho crumbs left beside your giant bowl of salsa.

Yes, salt and pepper, laundry soap and dryer sheets, shampoo and conditioner — often bought together, always used together, but rarely dying at the same time. In a way the entire story is a parallel to our own relationships. After all, we grow up, come together, and eventually fall apart. Husbands leave before wives, parents before kids, and long loves end before the loving.

Maybe shampoo and conditioner remind us to enjoy every side by side moment like it’s the last.

AWESOME!

1000 Awesome Things has been updated every weekday for nearly over five years. Thank you for being part of the awesome community.

Photo from: here

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#137 Laughing when you’re at home by yourself

It’s a Solo Chuckle.

Laughing when you’re by yourself happens when you’re watching a forwarded video in your dimly lit dormroom, lying in the La-Z-Boy catching a TV Treasure Chest Moment, or just having a little Laugh Echo as you’re about to fall asleep.

Now there’s something special and something sincere about laughing when nobody’s around or watching you. Group laugh attacks, fake business laughs, and contagious laughs are all ruled out. Now it’s just you and you alone enjoying a little side-splitting moment on the couch.

AWESOME!

 


Photo from: here

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#138 Animal hangouts

I have a slow commute.

Living downtown and working in the burbs means I jam through highways and sidestreets coming home every night. Sideways rain and hockey games slow everything down and sometimes I find myself tire-crawling all the way.

I’m a fidgety person so when I’m stuck in the stop and go I find myself spacing out and flipping through the radio. I daydream, pick my nose, and phone friends. I crank tunes, sing along, and snap back again. Sometimes I find myself in my parking garage and come to the jarring realization that I have no memory of my entire drive home. “Hmm, thanks Ghost Me,” I think, slamming the door.

Now it was on one of those traffic-jammy drives last week when I found myself cruising under a rusty old bridge. As I was passing under it, I let my eyes peek up into the crusty cobweb coated rafters and noticed an army of pigeons all wedged together up there. My eyes refocused to make sure I was seeing it right but then, sure enough, there really was hundreds of the fat birds all standing tall on a big rusty beam–slash–their toilets.

When I see pigeons they’re usually solo. I guess I always assumed they led lonely lives picking crumbs from sewer grates and fighting for crusts behind the pizza place. That’s why it made me happy seeing them all hanging together under the bridge. It was like the Pigeon Country Club up there. Membership was tough and you had to come early to score a good seat.

I liked thinking how money had no place in their lives at all. Nobody spent more to get a better lake view or upgraded their spot to one without bird crap. It was just first come, first serve, shove over to let another bird in. They didn’t say anything but seemed happy. They didn’t move but they seemed content.

Animal hangouts are a little reminder we’re all looking for the same thing: good family and friends, cozy company, and fun times that come from coming together. Whether it’s pigeons hanging under the bridge, moths flapping together by the porch light, or crabs huddling near the ocean vent, animal hangouts are a reminder that life’s a lot more fun in groups.

Let’s get together.

AWESOME!

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Photos from: here, here, and here

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#139 Sticking something under the dinner table leg so it stops wobbling

Nothing worse than a wobbler.

Water glasses start spilling, silverware starts clattering, and conversations get the bump-off when the table goes thumping and your dinner plate gets jumping. That’s when it’s time to quadruple-fold a napkin and get your hands dirty in those tiny pebbles and sand by the table legs.

Now wedge it right in there, brush your hands off, and give the table a test shake.

How does that feel?

AWESOME!

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