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My name is Neil Pasricha and here’s me in 30 seconds!

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#374 Laughter at a funeral

We’re all going down.

People, it’s sad but it’s true: nothing’s gonna stop your big final drop. So live it up now, live it up large, because at the end of the day you aren’t really in charge. Look, we’re not spinning, gninnips, spinning on this wet rock for long, so let’s all enjoy singing our songs with big days full of belly laughs, loving moments, and late nights with close friends.

One day you will have a funeral.

Now, none of us want it to happen but we all know it will. Stuffed in a suit, buried in a box, you’ll burn to ashes, walk through pearly gates, chill underground, or maybe reincarnate. Point is, your life as you know it will end with red eyes, wet tissues, and tearful speeches filling churches or homes or big grassy fields.

One day you will have a funeral.

But wait — but wait, wait, wait — because before we get way out there let’s stop for a moment and look at your life. Look at gurgling babies in the bedroom, sultry glances late at night, and cracking high fives with friends… look at skinny dipping after dark, swinging under moonlight in the park, and coming home after school to your puppy’s little barks…

Yes, your life’s full of dirty inside jokes, laughing till it hurts, and smiling so hard till the end.

So one day you may have a funeral in a heavy room full of black clothes, somber glances, and heart-wrenching moments of gut-wrenching grief, but … maybe if you’re lucky there will also be some lighter moments too. Maybe there will be some  little jokes, funny anecdotes, and silly smiles shining through the pain.

Laughs at a funeral cut the tension, bring us closer together, and remind us all of the big banging life we shared with you. They slice through the searing weight of your loss and swirl us into smiling about everything we had together while reminding us we’ll all be okay …

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#375 Realizing someone has the exact same birthday as you

Finding out someone shares a birthday with you feels like stars aligning, hearts criss-crossing, and lives twisting and tangling together.

If they share your actual year it’s even more special because you grew up sharing moments and memories and histories and horoscopes, too. Libra to Libra, Pisces to Pisces, you break it down around town chatting about childhood birthday parties, deliciously disgusting foods, and hometown habits that died hard.

Suddenly it’s a reminder it’s not just about you because someone else is partying hard on your party day.

Suddenly it feels like you’re sharing a secret.

Suddenly it feels like a friend.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

— Check out my podcast 3 Books 

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#376 Realizing you still remember all the words to that song you haven’t heard in years

Your brain is a machine.

Yes, that soft and squishy lump is bursting with colors and pictures and people and places and smells and sights and sounds. Your brain knows things it hasn’t even told you yet. Sometimes it surprises you with forgotten flickers, crystal-clear connections, or moments of sparkling intensity. Lightning bolts zap, connections crackle, and memories zoom and float around the distant outer recesses of your ever expanding world.

Of course, sometimes things also fade away.

People leave, distances grow, and memories dissolve into blurs. Photo albums collect dust in creaky attics, cracked jewel cases get buried in the closet, and today’s moments plaster over yesterday’s highs and lows.

That’s why it’s great when your brain surprises you once in a while.

When an old song pops on the radio it’s always beautiful when your spider-web recesses suddenly spin the wheels and crank out all the lyrics to that dusty gem. Your head bops, your eyes twinkle, and you flash back into a moment from your past… to late night driveway chats… nervous hearts in dark basements… and beautifully distant memories that remind you who you are.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#377 Taking off your pants

Cavemen didn’t wear jeans.

Nope, hiding from mammoths, bashing saber-tooth skulls, and setting up the cave was tough enough without furry leg-warmers chafing their hairy thighs.

And, it wasn’t just them either: Free-legs living was The Thing To Do for the past hundred thousand years until a bunch of horse-riding Persians invented pants back in the sixth century BCE. Presumably, they were sick of getting back-of-the-horse burn from bumpy rides and frustrated with the poor selection of creams and lotions at their local Megamart. But hey, if you were riding horses in the nude I’m sure you’d agree with wearing all pants all the time too.

Flash forward to today and pants are a massive worldwide hit. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, it’s pants, pants, pants. Togas, kilts, skirts, they tried, they tried, but they just couldn’t find the secret key to international popularity.

Nowadays we wear pants for warmth at the ice rink, hygiene on the subway car, or denim paper towels in the basement bathroom bar.

But even though they’re handy and helpful, pants have a downside too: yes, I’m talking about crotch creases, tight belts, and ass-jammy wallets all day. Sure, maybe you’re used to them, maybe you’ve accepted pants wearing, but maybe sometimes … sometimes … sometimes … they just get in the way.

If you’re with me, say hey.

If you’re with me, stop and stay.

If you’re with me… it’s okay.

Maybe you know how great it feels enjoying that moment of sweet release when your legs finally bust free of the shackles of everyday living. Slap open that heavy buckle, unzip that tight fly, and collapse backwards onto your messy bed as you sloppily kick-peel that pair of tight jeans down and off your fabulous legs.

Next time you take your pants off make sure to stop for a moment and let your legs see the light … let them feel the air… and let them enjoy being beautifully free and beautifully naked and beautifully

AWESOME!

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

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#379 Horrible school photo trends

Everybody’s got a classic.

Buried in the basement, brass-framed in the family room, you’ve got a dusty 8×10 gem of a bad school photo featuring a bad school photo trend:

That laser background. Remember when the studio hired an acid junkie to paint that pink and blue laser background for a couple years? There you were buck-tooth smiling in front of the light bright abyss. Kids, this is what we thought the future looked like.

Old school trendy hairstyle. Whether you got the Nike swoosh carved in the back of your buzz cut, rocked a mushroom with a middle part, or had a wispy rat tail down to your shoulders, the point is you were at on top of the sixth grade social circle. And who knows: maybe crimped bangs, sideburn steps, or glittery headbands will come back one day. They could be huge.

Forgot it was photo day. This is the kid with the sideways bedhead, black eye from a playground dust up, or simply a thin fraying T-shirt with a classy ketchup stain crusted across the collar.

Posing with props. In addition to teddy bears or keyboards, there was always the picture of the new grad smiling a big gummy smile holding a rolled-up diploma beside their head like a freshly caught trout. In case you couldn’t tell by the black robe, square paper hat, or encyclopedia bookcase background, someone just got their last biology credit.

• Braces smiles. You could always tell who had braces because their smile was an awkwardly forced, big-dimpled, tight-lipped beauty. Personally, I was always jealous of these kids since their physical deformity was easier to hide than a bumpy forehead full of bright red zits or a set of thick, Coke-bottle glasses. Hypothetically, I mean.

• Too dressed up for photo day photo. This is the boy who’s mom dressed him up with a brand new haircut, classy sweater vest, and crisp red bowtie. Or it’s the girl with perfectly braided hair, a frilly pink dress, and knee high socks. These pictures are especially hilarious when the kid looks really angry or accidentally blinks.

Yes, there’s something sweet about pulling out old school photos and sharing a laugh with the you of yesterday. Because between those chubby cheeks, side ponytails, and low hairlines is a blurry, faded version of the person you are today… in a tiny split-second moment of growing up…

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

— Check out my new book You Are Awesome 

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#380 Lying on someone’s chest and hearing their heartbeat

While lying on the grass, lazing on the couch, or relaxing in some crumpled sheets, you sometimes just fall into the moment with someone you love. After the conversation dies down and the background noise fades away you smile silently and melt into an arms-and-legs embrace. Gaze into their eyes, push your ears to their chest, and then shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Just listen.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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#381 Somehow actually finishing a bar of soap

Scrub those suds, baby.

Work that hard square down to a soft-cornered bar. Work that soft-cornered bar down to smooth oval. Work that smooth oval down to a thin bar with deep creases. Work that thin bar with deep creases down to a jagged soap icicle.

And then make a big decision:

1. Toss the ice. You see the white tape stretched across the finish line but you know the extra effort required to get there will be too painful, so you just end up tossing the soap in the trash or letting it fall down the drain.  Basically, you just collapsed into a dry-heaving pile of sweat on the side of the road.

2. Soap surgery. Here’s where you attempt to extend the soap’s lifespan by melting it onto the back of a new bar. This results in a slippery and awkward bar for a while, but is theoretically possible with patience, care, and understanding houseguests.

3. Pushing through. You make the decision to work that soap icicle till it’s a goner but then face an uphill battle of dangerous soap shards, inevitable middle-splitting, and annoyingly long bouts of hand washing that involve scrubbing tiny dime-sized bits of soap between all your fingers for ten minutes.

But here’s the thing: if you actually make it, if you actually do it, if you actually pull off using that bar of soap all the way to the bitter end… well then you can take pride in focusing on a tough job and finishing it off… and can take pride in making it all the way to the finish line of

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#382 Catching up to that car that just whizzed past you at the next red light

Wind whips through the windows, trees sway slowly outside, and music beats through the car stereo as we cruise calmly down empty streets on a long drive home.

Then suddenly blurs flash in our mirrors and zoom past us in an engine-roaring rush, disappearing into tiny red dots over distant hills.

But then suddenly we catch up a couple minutes later at the red light.

And it’s just like hello old friend. Good to see you again.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

— Check out my podcast 3 Books 

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#383 The Moon

Everyone loves the sun.

Plants, light, tanlines, we get it, we get it. But, you know what? Today’s the day to give props to that other big guy floating up in the sky. Yes, we say the Moon’s worth respecting for a few big reasons:

1. Lights up the night. Sure, the moon isn’t as bright as the sun but he’s still a friendly flashlight on dark nights. If you’ve ever been lost on a boyscout trip in the forest, driven down a pitch black country road, or taken a midnight pee at the campsite, you know what we’re talking about. Smile as those flickery white shadows glimmer off twigs and branches to help you avoid tumbling down the rocky cliffside.

2. Turn the tides. The moon’s constant gravitational yanking gives us choppy ocean tides all day long. Tides allow some species to lay eggs, others to ride the waves, and, most importantly, add important time pressures to sand castle competitions. Without them our oceans — and indeed, our lives — would be flat and dreary.

3. Get out of late free card. There’s something beautiful about seeing the moon hanging around a clear blue morning sky. It’s kind of like that coffee shop employee who chills behind the counter after her shift, pouring a few more drinks in her winter jacket before heading home. “Yeah, yeah, I know the sun’s here,” she seems to say. “Just want to make sure everything’s cool before I take off.” Also, as everyone knows, it’s impossible to be late for work when the moon’s still out because it’s not officially daytime yet. Be sure to check your Rules of Life pocketbook if you need clarification on this important matter.

4. Toss the Timex. The moon’s waxing and waning keep our dates in check, thank you very much. According to our egghead pals at Wikipedia the moon even formed the basis of the world’s first calendars with 13,000 year old eagle-bone relics dug up in Le Placard, France. That’s why our current months are estimates of the lunar cycle and why moon and month are from the same root. Word to your dictionary.

5. Let’s get nuts. Both lunacy and loony are derived from Luna, the Latin name for the Moon. Ancient googly-eyed nerds Aristotle and Pliny the Elder thought full moons made people nuts because our brains are mostly water and therefore we get the same Earth-Moon tidal forces in our heads. Well, the jury’s still out on that one, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of spice in life, so when that full moon comes around feel free to bulge your eyeballs, act like a caveman, or wear your wacky purple tie to the office meeting.

Sometimes our home planet can seem like a lonely base, spinning in place, floating through space. But when you stare out your bedroom window, up into the distant forever reaches of infinite darkness, remember we’ve got a friend riding with us everywhere we go. Yes, the Moon’s our lunchtime pal in the giant universal cafeteria and our seatmate at the back of the big bang bus. So when it seems like the big blackness is lonely, when it seems like we’re far from home, well just remember that the Moon’s always beside us… as we ride into the deep unknown.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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