101 Awesome Things To Make You Smile


This is a gratitude post.

I know some people have made small, maybe big, fortunes from getting to people to be grateful.

We’ve had books, workbooks, workshops, therapy sessions, invites from Oprah, QVC and even SNL, I do believe.

Gratitude journals, with pretty covers and lined pages (you know, just in case you couldn’t write straight,) made attractive displays in the entrance to our favorite book stores.

I’ve even been exhorted to make a gratitude journal, writing paper and all, as if a plain, spiral bound notebook wouldn’t work as well.

(Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t be grateful enough for my 3 notebooks for $1 deal in the school supplies section of Walmart.

And yet, I’ve never been able to get into it. This gratitude thing.

It has been suggested we write three things we are grateful for every day.  But I, anally analytical to a fault, couldn’t just stick to three and then couldn’t decide what constituted something to be grateful for or not.

Was buying 6 pairs of black sweatpants from Old Navy at $10 each something to be grateful for?


What about my lukewarm shower – should I be grateful it wasn’t ice cold?

Should I be grateful for my twins embarrassing episodes, feeling happy that they showed up after I called 911 but before police despatch sent out two patrol cars to go find them.

Or the time when my 8 year-old ran off in a temper, refusing to get in the car when I found him a block away while grandstanding to the couple who were trying terribly hard to get on with their gardening, yet trying equally hard to discern whether I was in fact his mother…or some kind of child molester.

I mean, should I be happy that he had legs to run away from me and a cunning thought process that could mark me for life?

What about the time he stopped screaming after I sent him to his room?

He stopped screaming just so he could tell me that what I was doing to him was what men did to women before they had the vote and what white people did to black people before slavery was outlawed. Then he went straight back to screaming. He was 8 at the time.

Was I supposed to be grateful for this presence of mind and obvious amount of intelligence and knowledge of history?

Because I didn’t feel very grateful as his shrilling reverberated around our high ceilings, out the window and into our quiet suburban street.

So no, I couldn’t get into this gratitude thing.

But then I picked up a book. The Book of Awesome. It’s a cute book. On every page I read about something the author thought was awesome.

And as I did, I came up with my own list of awesome things. 101 of them. Here they are…Print it. Stick it on your bathroom mirror. Add your own. Things that you (and maybe only you) find absolutely awesome.

101 Awesome Things

1. Tugging off your high heels after a night of dancing (or a hard day on your feet) and putting your swollen hot feet in a tub of water.

2. The icy air on your face while you body is all snuggy inside your clothes.

3. Clicking the door closed and not waking the baby.

4. Being able to rub your tired face when you haven’t any makeup on.

5. A baby falling asleep on your chest.

6. Walking around your neighborhood and picking up fabulous free swag from your neighbors driveway.

7. Winning that perfect thing on eBay for a steal.

8. Making muffins in the dark while everyone’s asleep.

9. An eight-week old kitten.

10. A toilet seat that goes down slowly and noiselessly with just a little nudge.

11. Putting your hand in your pocket and finding a $20 bill.

12. Watching your child bike on two wheels for the first time.

13. A hike through beautiful scenery.

14. Finishing a crossword.

15. Feeling crappy and laying down in bed under your electric blanket.

16. Your team winning the biggest prize.

17. Your wedding day. (I hope!)

18. Getting a second blue line on that white stick.

19. Seeing your baby for the first time on ultrasound.

20. A power shower.

21. Flying to an adventure.

22. Coming home after being away.

23. Having no expectations when seeing a movie and finding it to be out of this world.

24. Getting a seat after running two blocks for the bus.

25. That front tooth that hangs by a root in your child’s mouth and which flaps back and forth as he breathes, finally falling out.

26. A toy that doesn’t require the contents of Daddy’s toolbox to get a) it out of the packaging or b) in a playable state.

27. When you finally work out the lyrics to a song.

28. A stranger helping you as you attempt to bang and crash your way through a doorway with a double stroller, two bags hanging off the handlebars, a free roaming child. And a dog.

29. Pulling over because the cop behind you has his lights and siren on, then watching him as he passes you by.

30. Finally looking up that word in the dictionary and finding out what it means.

31. Your cat graciously allowing you to sit next to her while you watch TV.

32. Your child who recently resembled a devil, and not for Halloween, looking angelic fast asleep.

33. Getting a hole in one at mini-golf in front of your kids.

34. Waking up and feeling good!

35. One of those cappuchinos with a picture drawn in the foam.

36. When you can Freecycle your parenting books – The Explosive Child, Raising Your Spirited Child, and The Difficult Child.

37. Finding your car keys are still where you left them – by the sink in a public bathroom.

38. Heated car seats.

39. Finding your favorite brand of yogurt on ridiculous special offer.

40. Bacon.

41. Hands-free gas pumping.

42. Someone giving you their unused fast passes to your favorite Disney ride as they leave the theme park and you enter.

43. A Don’t Have To Day where you give yourself the permission to not do anything you don’t want to.

44. Sitting down to watch the first episode of the new series of your favorite TV show.

45. When the cake you just baked comes out of the oven looking (and staying) like a prize winner.

46. Driving through neighborhoods close to home but to which you have never been and picking up the perfect Freecycle thing from someone’s driveway.

47. Posting a ‘WANT’ ad on Freecycle and being overwhelmed with offers.

48. Getting a choice of colors when having your broken arm encased in a cast.

49. Getting lots of attention when you break your arm in middle age.

50. The smell of a chocolate toffee candle.

51. Swinging the van into a parking place and getting it right first time.

52. Naps in a sunny bedroom.

53. Impressing someone when you rescue them from mortal danger by picking up a spider with your bare hands.

54. Picking a B&B at random and short notice and finding it delightful.

55. Having tea, cake and a chat with your Mom.

56. A bride walking up the aisle.

57. Someone buying you a gift when your baby is born.

58. When you’re late and you find the person you’re meeting is later than you are.

59. The name of the person you’re introducing popping into your head just before you have to say it.

60. When your houseguest leaves and you can get the house back as you like it.

61. When you feel you know a person well enough to make a cup of tea in their kitchen.

62. Taking stairs two at a time. Effortlessly.

63. When the checkout person lets you use the coupon you just picked up right away.

64. Friday evenings.

65. When you notice a pain you used to have regularly doesn’t happen anymore.

66. Liking the naked body you see in the mirror.

67. Emptying the water from a steam cleaner you’ve just cleaned the carpets with.

68. Sitting in the audience of a show you’ve wanted to see for ages just before it starts.

69. Touch typing a whole paragraph without a single mistake.

70. Driving your minivan through town with the windows down, the radio blaring. And all the lights turning green.

71. Eventually getting the lid off a jar without asking a man for help.

72. Making someone you care about belly laugh.

73. Working on a team full of greatly capable, ego-less people.

74. A friend offering to pick you up from the airport.

75. Slipping into a bed with freshly ironed sheets.

76. Trick or treating with your four year-old.

77. Leaving a terrible party and going to get ice cream instead.

78. Watching the garbage truck crush your old, stinky sofa.

79. Opening the cutlery drawer and finding someone else has cleaned all those crumbs out already.

80. A child’s skin.

81. Learning how to do that trick in Word you’ve been wondering about for years.

82. Being allowed to ride in the front seat for the first time.

83. Coming home to an empty house after driving a school field trip.

84. The feeling you get after you’ve done a terrifying ride at a theme park.

85. Finally getting to the next level on your video game.

86. Watching an electric storm with the lights off.

87. When someone stands up on a train and let’s you and your kids sit down.

88. Being able to do the splits.

89. Incredible choreography performed with great talent and energy.

90. Walking into a new restaurant with a friend and both of you agreeing you should turn around and go somewhere else.

91. Photos of your child that still make you smile years later.

92. Movie theaters with high backed, ergonomically designed seats.

93. Washing your windscreen after too long.

94. Armchairs in book stores. Especially in sunny places.

95. The feeling after you’ve done your workout.

96. Knowing that dinner is all prepared and just needs to be taken out and served.

97. Reading the movie credits and finding out just who that actor was.

98. Closing a door with your foot.

99. Causing the two men who were peering inside your brand new, latest model BMW to jump back in unison as you automatically unlock it from twenty feet, glide into the driver’s seat and drive off effortlessly.

100. Driving through beautiful countryside just for the heck of it.

101. A cute guy checking you out. For the first time in five years. 😉


And what about you? Do you have any things you think are just too awesome? Let me know know in the comments!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
October 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Have you been saving up your gratitude lists? This must have taken forever. Love the one about your naos on a sunny afternoon–sounds lovely, *yawn*

Your boys do have minds of their owns, don’t they. It would be interesting to go back to the gardening neighbors and talk to them on a normal day. Bet they have some similiar story from their kids.
Mary E. Ulrich recently posted..Amazing News| We have a House and a RoommateMy Profile


Alison Golden October 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm

It was actually cool to do. I had this book and every time I read a page about something the author thought was awesome, I thought of my own. It was a leisurely, pleasant creative process.

And yes. Minds. of. their own. 😉


Darlene October 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Greatly enjoyed!
Laughed many times.
Added happiness to my day.


Alison Golden October 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Hey Darlene! How are you doing? I’m glad I made you laugh. I love to do that. There’s nothing better. See #72. 🙂


Marcy October 7, 2011 at 2:56 am

Love your list. I wrote three “awesome” things a day for a while in an online document, but then I felt like I was repeating myself, so I just write a little comment about each day. For Wednesday, though, I just wrote “work, dumb meeting, leftovers.” There must have been more to the day than that!
Marcy recently posted..I am not Rebecca–a sort of book reviewMy Profile


Alison Golden October 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

Hey, Marcy. Good to see you here again! You know, I read your list and I could imagine your day perfectly. Had many of those myself. Totally get the ‘leftovers’ – hey, you didn’t need to cook. 🙂


Green Bean
October 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

You had me at the kitten! 😉 We do this every year in November. Well, not exactly what you do, but I make some sort of gratitude something or other. Last year, it was a paper tree and we’d write what we were grateful for on a paper leaf and stick it on. Even the adults participate and it does make you remember how good life really is.
Green Bean recently posted..Rethinking Individual EnvironmentalismMy Profile


Alison Golden October 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

Aww, who can resists and eight week old kitten. I remember you telling me about your gratitude tree and I decided you were too good to be true! It is a great idea.


Modern Gypsy October 8, 2011 at 5:44 am

I know what you mean about gratitude lists – why just three, and what events actually fall under “gratitude”? Now a list of awesome things is something else entirely! Great list 🙂
Modern Gypsy recently posted..Book review: The Storyteller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-BhattacharyaMy Profile


Alison Golden October 9, 2011 at 11:13 am

Thank you! Yes, as with anything, gratitude can become simply a meaningless exercise if not done with intention.


October 8, 2011 at 7:10 am

What a fun read!

I read somewhere that the reason ‘gratitude journals’ aren’t too effective is b/c we think we’re supposed to write in them everyday. The frequency dulls the impact.

I wish I could get some of my clients (psychotherapy) to be more grateful. It really is helpful when feeling sorry for oneself, or complaining about a problem that really isn’t so big.

Loved #57–receiving People magazine and chocolate was one of the best gifts ever after I gave birth.
#67–gotta love the nasty, dirty, sendoff of the steam clean.
#91–I’ll forever have the four-five pics of my son as a baby in my home and office.

I’m grateful for that our (ungrateful) Siberian Husky pup came back after going AWOL last week. Couldn’t believe he came home after nine hours of doing God knows what…:).


Alison Golden October 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

Hi Linda!

I make it a point now NOT to buy baby gifts. I buy a spa gift certificate for the mom-to-be. (Maybe I’ll attach it to a diaper for fun.) I had no idea about this until only one person bought *me* a gift when the boys were born. I hadn’t had a shower before they were born and when the gifts came later, it struck my post-c-section, sleep deprived me that the babies couldn’t care less about their pressies whereas I would have been blown away by literally *anything* bought for me and only me.

Glad to hear your pup came back. Scary!


Kristl Story October 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

Love this list, and I think I’m craving one of those Chocolate-Toffee candles! Where do you find that scent?
Kristl Story recently posted..Homemade Halloween Costume IndexMy Profile


Alison Golden October 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

I got it from a a chocolate factory, Kristl. Unfortunately it got bought by Hershey’s and you can’t get the candles anymore. 🙁


DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman
October 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I had trouble deciding which one was my favorite…

Was it #101 about the cute guy?

Was it #95 and that euphoria from working out (or, in my case, surviving the workout)?

But I ultimately decided it was #79 because I HATE having to clean the crumbs out of that drawer and sometimes wonder if The Mister buys cans of bread crumbs just to dump in the utensil drawer.

Great list!
DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman recently posted..Friday Find: When Pan Am Ruled The SkiesMy Profile


Alison Golden October 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hey Julie Ann! i like #101 too. Often the very last ones, the ones you squeeze out when you don’t think you have any more to give, are your favorites don’t you find? But the crumbs one was inspired by my very own cutlery drawer. No-one has cleaned it yet but I would love someone to. 🙂


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