README: A 60-second summary of all this…

Hey everyone,

My name is Neil Pasricha and here’s a quick summary of this blog 1000 Awesome Things and my life since then:

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#804 Gym pain

10 pounds of pain

Believe it, folks: I went to the gym last Saturday. Yes, flabby belly, spaghetti-thin arms, bright white sneakers and all.

Though it may surprise you, I am not a walking talking hulk of a man. No, I’m a scrawny knee-pushups kind of guy who spends more time taking sips of water, talking to the maintenance folks, and figuring out how the machines work than I do actually working out. I don’t tone my pecs, blast my quads, or crush my delts. If my trip to the gym was a short film it would be called Stretching In Trackpants.

But anyway, last Saturday.

Hungry for life

It was 8:45am and I was sipping some water, trying to figure out how the benchpress worked, when a steady stream of spandex-clad seniors suddenly brisked by me with stern brows and towels draped over their shoulders. Honestly, you might have thought there was a sale on oatmeal or a Wheel of Fortune marathon about the start at the back of the gym, because these grannies and granpies were on a mission. When I asked a couple maintenance guys what was going on, they told me Boot Camp was about to start.

My mind immediately flashed to visions of crawling through muddy trenches in baggy camo, swinging over frothy rapids on jungle vines, and standing on the roof of a rusty, beat-up car firing a machine gun into the sky with one hand. I can’t explain these images, but they compelled me to follow the Wrinkle March into the aerobics room.

And I know I don’t need to tell you all what happened next.

She wore this while she screamed

Large, adult-sized Fisher Price plastic and foam bits were strewn all over the floor, thumping dance music started bumping over the speakers, and a headband-clad Drill Sergeant screamed the sweat out of us. Adrenaline racing, I stepped-out, stepped-down, and moved barbells all around. I pushed up, pushed back, and prayed softly. After about fifteen minutes, most of the old folks were barely sweating, while I keeled over, my mouth sucking back dry, sweaty air while a sharp, knife-like pain quietly stabbed into my gut. And the whole time Sergeant Purple Leg Warmers was barking at me to keeping going, don’t stop, two more minutes, one more minute, and rotate!

It was intense.

By the end, I was a Jello-blob of hot muscles and shin splints. I felt like I’d fallen down a hundred flights of stairs and landed on a cactus patch. I was in pain and agony … but you know what?

It felt good.

I felt like I made it. I felt like I did something. There was a tingling buzz of satisfaction burning in my shredded calves, a lingering ache of pride in the dirtbike tracks riding up my stomach for three days, and a quiet happiness with the gym pain I’d inflicted upon myself.

When you reach up higher than you’ve reached before, give a little more than you gave before, or dig deep to your core to end up sprained and sore, well around here we say that’s a little something called

AWESOME!

jello-legsPhotos from: here, here, here, and here

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#807 That one really good pen that never gets lost

Friends forever

You know the one.

The cap is long gone, the end is chewed up, but that trusty ballpoint, she keeps flowing like Niagara Falls.

Loyal, failsafe, and inky to the bone, that one really good pen might be stashed on top of the fridge, deep in a dresser drawer, or down at the bottom of the pencil case.

But it’s stashed, and it’s handy, and it does the deed just fine.

Now sure, once in a while you might even think you’ve lost your trusty, old pen. You don’t see her for a few weeks, maybe a few months. You figure she accidentally rolled under the stove, mistakenly got garbaged, or worse — was hoodwinked by a callous and immoral Pen Thief masquerading as a fiddle-dee-dee, aw-shucks Pen Borrower.

There is a period of grieving, but then one random day you just find her again, sure enough — sleeping soundly in your winter jacket pocket or lounging around carefree in the old Scrabble box. It always seems to happen when you least expect it.

And isn’t there just something about that one really good pen that’s always kicking around? Yes, in these days of text messages, kitchen whiteboards, and visual voicemail, it’s nice having a steady-eddy pen by your side. Because that pen is something real. Something honest.

Something worth believing in.

AWESOME!

Just like the pen

Photos from: here and here

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#808 Coming home after a long day to the smell of someone cooking dinner

Time to check out for the dayBrain boggled, pants greasy, heels too high, or tie too tight?

Can feel your heartbeat in your temples? Does your bad breath taste like paint? Is your carpal tunnel syndroming? Because if so, Office Joe, then then maybe it’s been a long day. Maybe you stapled too many TPS reports, got buried under too much homework, or had an inky run-in with a jammed photocopier at the end of the day.

Who has half an hour to sort this out?But you scrape by, you scrape home, you scrape up to the front door — tired and sore, aching from war — as the sun sets behind you, the traffic jams behind you, and your stomach rumbles inside you. That bagel you scarfed seven hours ago is a distant memory but you’re much too exhausted to do anything besides dial for pizza.

Not doing the trickAnd that’s what makes it so great when you pop open your door and catch a hot whiff of something sizzling in the kitchen. Even though your clogged-up, toner-infused brain can barely soak up anything more, you somehow manage to piece things together: Dinner me eat. Food yes now.

And suddenly there is new life.

Your lips slowly curl at the corners, your nose slowly sniffs at the nostrils, and there’s a faint and distant chime as your eyes flash a quick cartoonish sparkle. Yes, you’ve got new energy now so you kick off your shoes, peel off those sweaty socks, and let the saliva start to flow for some tasty eats cooked up hot and fresh by someone you love.

AWESOME!

dig-in

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#809 New Socks Day

Don't tell me this doesn't excite you

Alright, let’s break it down.

New Socks Day is great for four big reasons:

1. Treat for your feet. Face it, your feet got it bad. Big toes get stubbed, dry skin gets rubbed, and bunions grow on your baby toe. Squeeze those caked and cracked pita-bread heels into tight shoes all day and you’ll soon agree: Your feet deserve to be treated like royalty. On New Socks Day, feet aren’t just forgotten warriors clad in an unprotective armor of toe-knuckle hair, bulging veins, and dry skin. No, they rise into king and queens — lovingly cloaked in royal gowns, bathed softly in soft cotton, and tenderly hugged in fresh factory fabric.

Hard and crackly

2. The Slip n’ Slide. New socks grease your feet and let you move with reckless abandon across the hardwood floors of this great land.

3. High-Quality Toe Jam. What’s more gratifying that painstakingly picking out massive chunks of toe jam at the end of New Socks Day? When I do the deed, I pretend I’m a top-notch surgeon in baby-blue scrubs, leaning over a sliced-open stomach in the middle of a high-stakes surgery and then, in a dramatic moment, I just start lifting out these bloody pliers again and again, yanking out glass shard after glass shard, as everybody in the viewing gallery jumps to their feet and erupts in cheers. Could just be me, though.

Time to dig for toe jam

4. Clean Dream. Sure, today your socks may be bright white, but we both know they’ll never be this clean again. Tiny holes will grow, heels will brown or yellow, and the elastic will fray and rip away. One day you’ll hold a sock from the dryer up in front of your face and actually wonder if it’s clean or dirty. That’s when the Clean Dream is over and it’s time to go shopping and start again.

So next time you slowly peel on a fresh pair of socks, just smile because you know you’re in for a great New Socks Day.

AWESOME!

Toe Jam Heaven?

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#813 Museum gift shops

Portable cultureBecause let’s face it: the best stuff in the joint is generally silkscreened on an XXL T-shirt, printed on a novelty oversized pencil, or reduced to a tiny plastic key chain. Monet coasters and Van Gogh posters stuff shelves by the front door so you can pop in and out real quick and say you saw the good stuff.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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