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Pasricha: 'Awesome things make my life better

In "The Book of (Even More) Awesome," Neil Pasricha's follow up to best-seller "The Book of Awesome," he writes about life's lumps and bumps, and ways to make things, well, you know, awesome. Read an excerpt:
/ Source: TODAY books

In "The Book of (Even More) Awesome," Neil Pasricha's follow up to best-seller "The Book of Awesome," he writes about life's lumps and bumps, and ways to make things, well, you know, awesome. Read an excerpt:

So what’s this all about?
We’re all gonna get lumps.

We’re all gonna get bumps.

Nobody can predict the future, but we do know one thing about it: It ain’t gonna go according to plan.

Yes, we’ll all have massive highs, big days, and proud mo­ments. Color-faded, postcard-streaked blurs will float and flash through our brains on our deathbeds, of wide eyes on gradu­ation stages, father-daughter dances at weddings, and healthy baby screeches in the delivery room. And dotting those big moments will be smaller ones too: fragile hugs from Grandma on Christmas morning, two-year-olds handing you a bouquet of dandelions and saying “I love you,” or your boyfriend star­ing into your eyes and smiling while lazing in bed on Sunday morning.

But like I said.

We’re all gonna get lumps.

We’re all gonna get bumps.

It’s sad but things could happen or hurt you that you just can’t predict.

Your husband might leave you, your girlfriend may cheat, your headaches might be serious, your dog could get smacked in the street. Yes, your kids might get mixed up with tough gangs or bad scenes. It’s sad but your mom could get cancer . . . or your dad could get mean.

There will be times in your life you’re tossed down the well too. There will be times you’ll cry yourself to sleep, with twists in your stomach, with holes in your heart. You may won­der if it’s all worth it and you may think that it ain’t. You may wonder if you can handle it or you may beg for restraint.

But when bad news washes over you and when the pain sponges and soaks in, I really hope you feel like you’ve always got two big choices:

1. You can swish and swirl in gloom and doom for­ever, or

2. You can grieve and face the future with newly sober eyes

Sure, life has dealt me some blows in the couple years I’ve been writing about awesome things. There was the mind-numbing loneliness of moving to a brand-new nowhere town, the broken heart of a broken marriage, and the searing waves of regret when a friend took his own life.

But I’m lucky because I’ve had a way out for the past two years. I’ve had a secret pill to swallow, a magic potion to swirl, and a bubbly cauldron to sip from every time I felt down or felt black or felt blue. And I hope you know that remedy and I hope you feel it too.

After all, you’re reading it right now.

Yes, awesome things make my life better, people. And I hope they do the same for you.

I honestly can’t go a day anymore without smiling at a couple tiny awesome things in my world. Whether it’s step­ping on barely frozen puddles, finally peeing after holding it forever, or driving to an intersection just as the lights turn green, these tiny things make a great big difference.

So come on. Come on! Are you with me? Who’s with me? I say if you’ve got a couple fist pumps in you, if you’ve got a sneaky twinkle in your eye, if you’ve got an itchy old soul that loves smiling at strangers, dancing at weddings, and popping the heck out of Bubble Wrap, then come on in and join The AWESOME Movement.

It’s my sincere hope that awesome things help those of us who need them to grieve and move on, and remind us that the best things in life are free. For us, maybe it’s a ladder out of the well or a dusty flashlight beam in the darkness. For others, perhaps it’s just a little laugh on the back of the toilet, a bit of peace before bed, or a spark for debates about what matters most to you, you, or you.

For me, I know I’ll have more dark days, and I know my friends will too, but I like thinking that glue movies, flavor pockets, and big night naps will always cheer me through to the other side.

While polar ice caps melt, while health care debates rage on, while buzz saws chop down forests, while wars go on and on, I hope there’s always a special secret place where we can turn off that bright light, snuggle right on up, and get comfy to chat about the sweetest parts of life.

Thank you for reading "The Book of (Even More) Awe­some." I feel so incredibly grateful, lucky, and honored to walk down this road with you. And thank you for letting our sto­ries all tightly twist together as we all keep moving forward and we all keep moving on.

Hope you enjoy the book.

                                — Neil

Coming back to your own bed after a long trip
Do you remember your Worst Sleep Ever? Man, I sure do. It was back when I was in college and a few friends and I drove a skiddy van across a snowy highway in the middle of a blizzard to crash with my friend Chad. It was a frozen weekend full of laughs and catching up with friends who had all been pulled apart after high school.

Now, it was late Friday night in this quiet college town when a few of us figured it was time to hit the sack. There were no fresh linens, soft pillows, or fluffy towels waiting for us there. Nope, all we had in that cold, dark basement were a couple ratty couches, a hollow wooden door to the blizzard outside, and some cheap ticking clocks on the wall.

Well, what choice did we have?

We made little beds from couch cushions, used sweatshirts for pillows, and covered our shivering bodies with zippery, snow-smeared winter coats. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the clocks tick-tick-ticked all night and somebody got home really late and left the back door wide open. Nobody noticed until morning when all our teeth were chattering and there was a foot-high snowdrift under the ping-pong table.

It was a nightmare, but I know you’ve been there too.

Power-napping on bumpy airplanes, crashing on flabby futons or jabby mattresses, sleeping in rainy forests in leaky tents, you’ve had your fair share. Bad sleeps, sad sleeps, sack-pillow heaps, weird alarm clock beeps, and through it all you enjoy long, fidgety nights of groggy pillow turns and fuzzy blanket burns.

But after those killer sleeps in nightmare paradise, it’s al­ways a great feeling when you come home to the warm and cozy comfort of your heavenly bed. Yes, you’re like a bear scraping together crinkly leaves and warm mud for a long winter of hibernation or a soaring eagle swooping home from the windy treetops to the twiggy goodness of your comfy nest.

Your dented pillow, warm flannel sheets, and preset alarm clock are waiting for you.

So welcome home, baby.

You made it.


Sneaking cheaper candy into the movie theater
Contraband candy tastes better. Here’s how to make the magic happen:

Step 1: Bag Up. Large purses come in handy here. Ladies, pull out the fattest potato sack you got and sling it across your shoulder with pride. For everyone else, you can try a bulky backpack or shopping bag. Business folks can pull off the classy briefcase. Moms can use the false bottom of a diaper bag. The only thing to avoid are Matrix-style trench coats with burrito dents in all the inside pockets.

Step 2: Food Up. Stuff that puppy with gummy worms, bubble tape, and cinnamon buns. If you’re feeling risky, throw in a couple cold and slippery cans of soda, a bag of microwave popcorn, or a pocket flask. Know your limits, though. Steamy meatball subs and hot soups in thermoses are for experts only.

Step 3: Walk Up. Confidence is everything. Hold your head high, strut a mean strut, and you’ll be just fine. No ticket ripper should say anything, but if you do happen to get caught you can al­ways pretend you’re diabetic. “Honestly, these are prescription Pop Rocks.”

Step 4: Eat Up. Tear open the bag of chips with your teeth, crack the soda during a gunfight, and shake the Nerds during the Spanish dance sequence. Just get in there and get munching.

Get in there and get crunching. Get in there and get AWESOME!

Stomping dry crunchy leaves on the sidewalk
Green baby buds pop out in the spring, healthy leaves fly high to the sky all summer, and aging beauties flash and change colors in the fall. Then they eventually snap off and crack off and crumble and tumble down to the sidewalk.

People, it’s true — the sun rose, the sun set, months went by, and the Earth actually tilted on its axis before this moment could appear before you.

So smile a big smile on your way to school and enjoy the crispy crunch that comes when you walk ten inches out of your way to smash a brittle little leaf into smithereens.


From "The Book Of (Even More) Awesome" by Neil Pasricha. Copyright © 2011. Reprinted with permission of Amy Einhorn Books/Putnams, a member of Penguin Group.