Why I’m proposing a new award, for which we are all eligible

Here’s a little fact about me: I haven’t won an award since high school. I once got shortlisted for a blogging prize, but that’s the closest I’ve come. And really, it isn’t surprising. I’m not eligible for many awards.

I don’t enter marathons, because they’re really hard. I can’t receive a bravery award, because I haven’t saved a life. I can’t win Employee of the Month, because I work for myself (and I’m a really bad boss).

That leaves the Nobel prize (unlikely), an Academy Award (I still haven’t given up hope), or perhaps a Booker (improbable, but marginally more likely than an Oscar).

I don’t particularly deserve a PRA this year. It’s been a relatively pleasant 2018, but other years haven’t been so cruisy.Credit:Luke Arms

I suspect most of you reading this haven’t won awards either. Most of you, like me, are simply living your lives.

We experience small wins and small losses, larger successes and devastating fails. And though we may be recognised by our closest friends and most appreciative family, for the most part we are left to blow our own rusty trumpets.

So I’m proposing a new award, an award for which we are all eligible. I’m proposing a Personal Resilience Award – lots of them, actually – for everyone who has made it through to the end of a challenging year, with humour and dignity intact.

I don’t particularly deserve a PRA this year. It’s been a relatively pleasant and cruisy year. But dear god, did I deserve one in 2013, when I survived the first year of single parenthood after a profoundly difficult divorce.

I deserved one in in 2015, when I was going through some major health issues and a challenging time in my career. I deserved one in 2016, when I had my heart badly broken and helped one of my kids through a deeply unhappy time. And I sure as hell deserved one last year, when I saw one child through the HSC, whilst trying to write a book, and keep two other children well-adjusted and fed.

And that’s only the past few years. I’ve lived through years when I’ve had serious, life-changing health crises. Years when I’ve had major financial worries. Years when I’ve supported family members who’ve been terribly ill. And one hideous year – the worst possible year – when I lost my only sister.

I can only speculate your own list of achievements, the challenges you’ve faced and survived during 2018. You may have a new health problem, or an ongoing chronic condition. You may have a troubled or ill child who requires your ongoing care and nurturing. You may be in a difficult job, or an abusive marriage.

You may be struggling to make ends meet, or facing eviction or unemployment. You may be the sole breadwinner supporting a family, or be caring for elderly relatives. You may have a child with a disability, or an invalid spouse. You may be living with mental illness, or be fighting an addiction.

Or you may be facing issues that I can’t possibly imagine, issues that exhaust you and drain you, and make every day a challenge. Either way, I want you to feel proud of yourself. You made it through a tough year in an increasingly tough world.

So please: allow me to present you with your prize. Here it is, your very own Personal Resilience Award for 2018. It’s yours. You deserve it. You’ve done amazingly well. Celebrate yourself, and all you’ve overcome this year. Hang it on your wall. Remind yourself how strong you really are.

We don’t need a Nobel or a Booker (though an Oscar would still be pretty great). We are awesome. We are resilient. We are prize winners. We are champions.

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