#8 Looking back, smiling, and saying thanks

This is the end, beautiful friend.

Late next week 1000 Awesome Things will hit #1 and we’ll have finished four years counting down one awesome thing every weekday. So… like Luke Skywalker’s triumphant final battle against the Fish Monsters, the Jamaican bobsled team’s mighty last-second push to capture gold in ’88, and Milli Vanilli’s final sold-out show in Wembley Stadium, so too is my time writing about awesome things climaxing in one last blaze of glory.

Four years have gone by like that *snap* and now I’m forced to picture life without steaming burritos wrapped in paper towel on my keyboard, piercing migraines in the morning from staying up too late, and getting together with a group of friends around the world every day to talk about rusty see-saws, glue movies, and almost names.

It’s time to look back, smile, and say thanks …

To Mike Jones, for so many stories and ideas over the past four years. You’ll always be my Superman.

To Frank Warren of PostSecret, thank you for running the best blog out there and still finding time to help me along the way. You have contributed so much to the world and are a true inspiration.

To Drew Curtis of Fark.com, thank you for believing in old, dangerous playground equipment.

To wires, thank you for connecting my computer to people around the world. You turn classy, sophisticated thoughts into pixels and words — filling minds and connecting strangers. You ask for so little and give us so much, wires.

To readers and commenters who are the soul of the 1000 Awesome Things community, especially Freddo, jdurley, Laura, Bekah, Kathy, wendy, simone, lovethebadguy, trixierix, and galileo. I’ve read every single one of your comments and laughed so many times. I’ll see you at the Nutella bar at Freddo’s afterparty.

To the journalists who have written, spoken, and shared stories about 1000 Awesome Things, thank you for being Apostles of Awesome. Special thanks to Misty Harris, Jian Ghomeshi, Nancy White, Roger Ashby, Marilyn Dennis, Darren Lamb, and Dina Pugliese.

To Louis Sacher, David Sedaris, and Bill Watterson, thank you for getting a kid excited about writing.

To nachos, thank you for being my dinner a couple hundred times, after I got home late from work and needed to write tomorrow’s awesome thing. I love you so much, nachos.

To Chad Upton, nobody has supported 1000 Awesome Things like you — from editing photos, submitting links, and sending ideas all hours of the day. You are a truly awesome friend. Thanks for saying yes to this blog.

To Chris Kim, you didn’t get to see this site win awards, score book deals, or get millions of hits. You just called me every couple days when I started the thing to tell me you liked it. Somehow that’s the most important thing of all.

Thanks to the many great teachers I’ve had over the years, especially Mr. OlsonMs. Eales, Ajay Agrawal, Mike Wheeler, and André Perold. Special thanks to Mrs. Dorsman for pushing me out of my shell in third grade.

To Mom, Dad, Nina, Dee, and Leslie, thank you for your patience, ideas, and love through it all.

To everyone who has ever read, blogged, emailed, Spacebooked or Pintweeted any post from 1000 Awesome Things around the electronical intertubes, thank you sincerely for your support.

To WordPress, thank you so much for hosting my site from Day 1. You give people all over the world a voice. (To start your own free blog, just like I did, click here.)

Finally, thank you to you. Yes, you! I’m talking about you! You, the person staring at this computer. You, the person who just read the word poo. I mean you. Nobody else. You! Thank you so much … for reading this sentence. Thank you for giving those eyeballs to these fingertips and connecting our brains.

When we finally hit 1000 Awesome Things I know we’ll both look back, smile, and say thanks many times.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Live in Toronto? Join me next Wednesday, April 18th at Chapters John & Richmond at 7pm to say goodbye to 1000 Awesome Things. I will be signing books and revealing the #1 awesome thing. 

190 thoughts on “#8 Looking back, smiling, and saying thanks

  1. YOU are awesome. thank you for being the one thing in the world i could count on to make me smile every weekday; the one always piece of very good in an internet/tv/radio world of bad or sad; the one thing it was okay to link and forward to my friends and family who hate links; thanks for being so generous and funny and sweet. how thrilling to see your beautiful portrait! and how appropriate you are sharing the frame with baked bread – such a homey, delicious thing – just like your blog. wishing you an awesome whatever you do next! much love –

  2. Neil, I confess I never got to read your webpages as my priority is to spend more time with my 5 year old daughter. However, I heard you on my radio while biking to work and I always try and get some of your writings whenever I can. I also appreciate the fact that you paid tribute to your parents (probably of south asian origin) on your webpage. It is only when people like you who make others lives better that rampant racism, anti-immigrant and particularly anti-brown complexion mentality that exists in our multi-cultural society in Canada and perhaps elsewhere will fade away into the dustbins of history.

  3. Hi Neil – this is Ajay’s wife. :-) Congratulations to you on 1000 Awesome Things – it has been an inspiration. Best wishes for your continued success.

  4. Why yes, you did just make me tear up at work.

    This blog has been an amazing inspiration, and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it :) Thank you for all you’ve done, and keep spreading the cheer!

  5. Thank YOU Neil! I’ve enjoyed each and every one of the awesome things thus far! I will surely miss reading this blog every day :(

  6. When one door closes, another opens. Thank you for being an awesome major part of our awesome lives. (sorry, had to do it) May your next endeavor bring you as much pleasure as you have given us. From Emerson’s quote on success – “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” You Neil, have succeeded. You put a smile on a lot of people’s faces. Keep being awesome.

  7. So great, Neil. What a journey. Congrats. I have no idea what our new home page will be but I am so happy it was 1000 Awesome Things for the past few years :) We are so proud of you!! xoxo, Sharon, Tony & Abby
    P.S. We eagerly await #1 next week.

  8. Thanks, Neil. Some days, your blog post is the best thing about being at work. I’m really going to miss the postings.

  9. Thank you. I’m going to be sad to see this end. it brings a smile to my face nearly every single day.

  10. Neil,
    please, please, please, never, ever take this blog off the internet!
    I think that even if someone came in a little late (as in after next thursday) they should still be able to experience the amazing inspiration that this blog is and (hopefully) will continue to be.
    Don’t change it. Not ever. Please.

  11. I read your entire blog today, I felt like i had to catch up! Thank you very nicely done! Although I got Nothing Done Today!!!

  12. *sniffle* Just getting teary at the thought of not getting e-mails with awesome bits showering me with sparkles of happy in the morning.

    Reading awesome things when I can’t sleep, reading them the night before my birthday to make sure I’ll have more awesome in my new age, reading awesome things on sad nights, smiling at awesome things throughout the day.

    *sniffle* All good things come to an end, I suppose. But even if we’re reaching the end of 1000 Awesome Things, there’s still enough awesome to go around and last the rest of our lives, yes?

  13. I know you wont, but don’t ever stop writing Neil. We need and love people like you. Thank you!

  14. I’m sad it is coming to an end. I’ve never followed a site so religiously. You’ve taught me (us) so much about how it’s the simple things, the things we all can all afford, that bring happiness and joy. You blog will be missed. Sadly I won’t be in Toronto to see you for #1 and be able to thank you in person but if you’ve read this far down…..Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  15. I just learned about your blog from postsecret – Frank mentioned that he was very sad it was ending! Not the best way to discover something awesome, but better late than never!

    As I was skimming the “top 1000” list, smiling like a little boy at each headline, laughing and tearing-up as I would click and read through posts that stood out, I thought there were more than 1000 and that you had complied the “top 1000” … and then I saw it — you were counting DOWN!

    I had an inner “whoaa” moment (jaw open and everything) because the fact that you were counting down made your blog that much more REAL – like life itself. Knowing it would come to an end made it that much more special and unique.

    I commend you for your strength and courage to create something so different and positive during a difficult time in your life. I thank you for sticking with it until the rest of the world started to take notice. And I am happy that this little idea has given you many positive opportunities in life.

    A big hug to you and your family from PERU!

    … and yes, I am going to start reading one of your posts per day, in order! :)

  16. This makes me so sad to think that this may be ending. I am hoping with all of my hope that your #1 Awesome thing will be 1000 More Awesome Things. I honestly think that you have made the world a better place by what you have done here. You have brought so many smiles into my life and I thank you for that. Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you. So often I see something and think how Awesome it is and it’s all because of this blog. It has indeed taught us all how to appreciate the little things in life. Please, please, please go for 1000 More!!

  17. Do it again!! I live the awesomeness of awesome things. Thank you for bringing tremendous joy to my life each day. You, sir, are awesome.

  18. Neil, ever since I discovered you through your first book, you’ve inspired me to notice all the awesome things that make us all smile. Every day since I started reading this blog, I find at lest one awesome thing. Thanks a 1000 times, Neil, and good luck in the future!!!
    Enjoy the awesome.

  19. Just wandering wats gonna happen when it reaches de #1 awesome thing, guessing that’s gonna be the own blog

  20. Neil, I cried at this post. I flat-out bawled. I just lost it. Neil, you have inspired me so much. Here are my awesome things:

    Okay, at my school, one of the teachers created a wall of awesome. We Post our own awesome things. I’ve done my best to carry on your spirit of awesome. As best as I can. I’ll never be as good as you.

    Once, a boy in my class had the Book of Awesome. I took it and read the whole thing. I ran around the room, sharing the hilarious things with my fellow classmates.

    The Book of Awesome was featured at my local library. I took it off the display case and read it. Every bit. I laughed so hard this prissy lady with a Pomeranian glared at me. I stayed in there so long the sales lady told me to either buy the book or leave. No joke.

    Today, I went to school crying. My friends asked me why. I said “Awesome is ending”

    Thank you SO MUCH, Neil. I’m-I’m just choking up writing this. I just can’t believe this is ending.

    Okay, I just lost it. I cried. So badly. My brother’s telling me to shut up.

    Neil, I loved broccoflower, Chris Kim, steaming food, The Gas Arrow, popping bubble wrap, EVERYTHING. I’m so sad

    I just lost it again. Bye.

    1. You are not alone. I’m sure most of us lost it when we read this post. I was bawling like a baby. I can’t even go back and read it again yet, I’ll just cry again. Its a wonder how Neil actually made it through it. I bet it took him a long time to finish.
      Keep spreading the happy and keep track of all your little awesomes.

  21. I’ve never really commented but I feel like I need to thank you, Neil. You’ve made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives.

    Almost 5 months ago I was hospitalized because I couldn’t keep up with my mental disorders. I was in a really dark place and for a while there I didn’t think I’d make it. One day at the hospital a staff member introduced us to your blog. She printed out a bunch of pages of awesome things. We looked through them and then created our own books of awesome. At the end of the day we all have to say one thing we enjoyed about our day and every single person said it was making our books of awesome. I was in the Child and Adolescent clinic. You made a bunch of kids going through some really hard things smile and laugh. I thought you’d want to know that.

    I look up to you for your optimism and strength. Keep being, well,

  22. Everyone else said this already, but thank you so much. Especially for the shoutout. I was not expecting this at all, it totally made my freaking day! That short time when my slice of the net was linked here it was a true honor (also, I had my best viewcounts ever during those short few months lol)

    I noticed this thanks to Fark and never looked back. I know I haven’t commented much lately, but it’s because I haven’t had much time to do so. So much internet, so little time and all that.

    Fun note: I started my In 10 Words blog about 2 months after you started this and I modled its schedule after yours, updating M-F with the only break being a week last year when Hurricane Irene knocked out my power. I should be reaching entry #1000 myself sometime around June.

    So with all that in mind, keep being awesome!

  23. Stumbled on your posts around a year ago and ever since then I smile through my lunch breaks reading your posts (it’s noontime in my part of the world when your post gets up). Cheers and thanks! (from the Philippines).

  24. Thank YOU, Neil! You’re a brilliant writer and I can’t count how many times I’ve reconnected and smiled with someone after having passed along an awesome thing to a friend that it made me think of. So much awesome in the world and you’ve captured it wonderfully here on your blog. Going to read through them all again if you don’t post anything else daily. Or if you could just keep emailing them, but with a random number that would be fun too! Whatever you do or don’t do, don’t forget– you’re AWESOME!

  25. Wow. So many wonderful comments today everyone. Thank you for letting me take this ride with you.

    Some of you know me from chatting at the book launches or posts where Neil mentions me. But, I feel like I know many of you so well. I’m as sad to see all of you go as I am sad to see the end of the countdown.

    As Neil said, I do put a lot of ideas in his inbox or voicemail but he really makes the magic happen. I always enjoy seeing how he grows some of my little seeds of an idea into serendipitous redwoods of awesome.

    For example, Anything on Tap is one of my favorite posts. Here’s the exact email I sent to Neil about it on July 4th, 2009.

    Subject: Chocolate Milk on Tap

    “Whether it was your high school, college or work cafeteria, chances are you’ve experienced the endless supply ofchocolate milk that is chocolate milk on tap.  Sometimes, you can’t have too much of a good thing.”

    Ya, I was missing a space between two words. Like I said, that is the exact email. It was really short, barely an idea at all. Neil and I talked about it a bit more a few weeks later and then he turned those few sentences into this masterpiece:


    So Neil, thank YOU for turning all of these little gems into all of these immortal Awesome Things.

    1. Thanks for sharing that email. It was great to see how he took a short email and turned it into a masterpiece.
      I hope you keep up with your blog, Chris. I love discovering new things about this world. One of my favs of yours is how you explain how to order at Starbucks!

  26. Wait! I just found you a few months ago and you’re already leaving me??? Every awesome thing you’ve posted that I’ve read has been personal to me! I’ve been amazed at how you could have known me so well! You have been my smile-a-day and I won’t let you go! Can’t you just “start over”? I’ve missed so much….. :o( — After 4 years, it’s OK to start over. You can’t leave me! I NEED you! I need you on my computer! While I never considered your eye color, I am shocked to learn that you’re not a man! Not that it matters …. I can re-adjust … I promise! Just DON’T GO AWAY! This is awesomely unsettling. P.S. – I am 61 years old and have been awesomely married for 41 years. Would you leave your mother?

  27. Thank you for this AWESOME blog and the AWESOME books that you have written. Even though we are surrounded by so many awesome things in our lives each day, we hardly ever stop to think about how awesome they are. Through this blog you have given each of us a moment each day to recognize the small things in life that make life awesome. Thank you for all your dedication to this project. I have enjoyed reading your blog and books. I feel like the world needs more positive things like this that just brighten people’s days. Thanks for brightening my days and thanks for being AWESOME, Neil!

  28. Thank YOU Neil! I found your site only a few days ago through Postsecret and already I’ve hooked a number of friends onto it. Throughout the day when we have time we scan The Top 1000, read a post that catches our eye and email it to each other with subjects like “This reminds me of that time when. . .” I hope to read them all eventually. Thank you again, for showing people how to appreciate the small things in life. :-)

  29. OMG! i didnt even realise we were already up to #8. Say it aint so Neil, afternoons here at work will definitely be boooring. Big thank you from Sydney, Australia.

  30. For about a year or so now the awesome thing has been the first thing to read every day … THANK YOU SO MUCH! You’ve made a lot of my mornings brighter!
    Good luck for your future projects.

  31. Thank you for changing my world view and for helping a 52 year old mom feel young and cool and happy as part of the “awesomeness” – you and your blog will live on in my heart and mind as I continue to look for the Awesome things in every ordinary day that are just waiting out there begging us to notice and appreciate them. In the Karma world all those great, usually ignored, events in our lives are thanking you for giving them a voice and a stage!

  32. Better late… very late than never. I just discovered your blog amazingly right after I had completed a list of things I was grateful for. (From the book,the Magic) Can’t wait to read your book next. Thank you:)

  33. Say it isn’t so!!! I started my own scrapbook of Awesome because of finding your blog. Surely there is more awesome for you to post for us – OR maybe people could submit some to you to be posted! What about that!

  34. And huge thanks to you for pointing out all the reasons, large and small, to be grateful for and just plain in love with life.

  35. Thank you so much, Neil. I don’t comment very often, but I always check for the new awesome thing shortly after midnight, and it always makes me laugh or nod with agreement or sometimes even cry. You’ve changed the way I looked at life; you’ve helped me notice the beauty in everyday life and appreciate the small things. I’m going to miss daily Awesome Things dearly. God bless you…you are AWESOME!!!!!

  36. I wish I’d gotten here sooner, because I feel like there’s nothing left to say that hasn’t already been said!

    I remember a few years ago, I randomly came across a link to the blog on another friend’s Facebook page. It was about getting the extra thing in the vending machine (http://1000awesomethings.com/2009/01/02/860-when-the-vending-machine-gives-you-two-things-instead-of-one/). That was the first awesome thing I ever read. I don’t know why, but I didn’t ever comment until the post about the light at the end of the tunnel (http://1000awesomethings.com/2010/02/17/567-getting-to-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel/). From that first comment, though, things only got more awesome. The involvement in the comment section immediately surpassed any expectations I ever had (given that I guess I didn’t really have any!). Everyone was immediately receptive and loving and … well, awesome.

    We’ve all shared so much: birthdays, a pregnancy, a wedding and honeymoon, graduations, moving from tween to teen, Zoolander quotes, Freddo’s never-ending war on spam comments, book releases, movie recommendations, and a discovery of a shared passion for all things Nutella. We even had a few rough patches, where there were discrepancies about love for ducks, Team Edward vs. Team Jacob’s abs, and times when some of us slipped away for a bit, only to return to a welcome and familiar embrace.

    I mentioned it before, but really: I think of you all as friends! I see something funny and I think, “Ohhh the gang would get a real kick out of this!” Or someone mentions something, and I want to refer to something Freddo, jdurley, Bekah, trixierix, Wendy, simone, Kathy, etc. have said, but then I think, “Wait, would that be creepy? To bring my blog-friends into this? Where’s the line? WHAT’S ACCEPTABLE?!” Then I do it anyway because you’re too awesome not to be shared. So there.

    We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve *ticked.

    All thanks to you, Neil. Sure, our comments are entertaining and sometimes stray so far from the day’s awesome thing that one has to wonder how it ever even went there, but without you, we would never have crossed paths. We’d never have united over these little moments that make us so happy. You made us see these things, and even better — you wrote so beautifully, sincerely, openly, hilariously, empathetically, wittily, and relateably (let’s pretend it’s a word, k?) that you led us all here together to recognize the universality of all things awesome. Your impact on the world is unfathomable. I know I speak for millions when I say thank you for all that you’ve done; for the sacrifices, late nights, brain-racking and the honest and personal moments you’ve shared with us. For the hilarity, the cleverness, the nostalgia. None of us will EVER forget what a difference this site — and you — have made in our lives. We are all better for it, no doubt, and I hope that we are able to keep the awesome going in our own ways after this ends in a few days. We love you, Neil!

    P.S. Plans for continuing the awesome TBD @ Freddo’s. Please remember, it’s BYOC. I cannot stress this enough. There will be NO extra colons for you to just mooch off of because you “forgot to stop and get one”, so don’t even try to pull that move.

    1. Ah, there you are! I was beginning to worry you wouldn’t be here for all the goodbyes.
      If talking about you guys to my friends is weird…then I’m weird. I do it. I think that its not my fault if they’re not in our little loop, they should be on here reading and commenting too. I’ve told several people about this site and if they miss out, they miss out.

    2. Laura! This comment is so, so awesome. I love your summary of some of our commenting highlights! So many good times. I miss Lara and her science jokes, too!

      And you killed me with the closing remark about byoc. *smiles!*

      1. Hahaha I loved the BYOC comment too!! And I remember the discrepencies over ducks and Team Edward vs. Jacob too!! Soooooo many good times and good laughs and good smiles in the comment section :D And even though I haven’t commented enough to be a notable regular, everyone here still makes me feel like one of the gang :)

  37. Thank you for all the joy you have given me for the past three years (started reading kind of late!). Your blog is wonderful, and I hope you continue to write.

  38. From the Philippines: Thank you for making me smile, for making me feel good about life every single day :)

  39. I haven’t commented before, but I’ve been reading since around number 950. You’ve brought me a bit of happiness every week day through the end of my Master’s Degree, joblessness, a year working on a till and now to my brand new office job. Everything was made that tiny bit more Awesome just because you noticed and you pointed it out to us all.

    Thank You Neil! Thank you for every moment you spent writing because every single second probably brought a smile to one of us. I don’t know what I’ll do without a new Awesome Thing every day… but I know that everytime I see something from the list I point it out to someone and tell them about your Thousand Awesome Things.

    I think that what you’ve done is Awesome on it’s own! Maybe you haven’t put yourself on the list of Awesome Things yet, but you’re at the top of mine.

  40. I don’t come by here everyday. I think it’s awesome to just pop by randomly and have a new bunch of Awesome things to read all at once. Kinda sad I won’t be able to do that anymore. However – leaving on a high note? AWESOME!

  41. Some of my friends and family think I was cut off this blog b/c a psych profile may have me coming up, not being able to handle the end. I have to say, I do hate good byes and my stories have been true, and yes, I could write a book, but if anyone wants to know, I’m sometimes theatrical, all in fun and have an awesome future ahead…awesome family…goals and dreams coming true…BUT I will most certainly miss all of you too!
    Thanks for the shout out, Neil. I feel like I made the cut in the Big Awesome! With my whole heart and soul…THANK YOU:) You all helped me through some really dark days. You all breathed some awesome reasons to live on and I’ll remember you always. In my heart and soul, you’ll always be…one thing nobody can take from me~ my blue avatar may be gone but look at this, I’m going out in purple passion!


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