Celebrating the Uncelebrated


A number of years back, an acquaintance of mine revealed something personal to me.

He told me about his many years of experience in AA as a recovering alcoholic and how he sponsored people in the program. He found his work as a sponsor very personally rewarding, yet it wasn’t something he felt he could typically talk about or celebrate. Or, as he put it, “you can’t put that on a resume.”

I’ve often thought about that phrase: “you can’t put that on a resume”. It makes me think about how many things in life that are really important to us are also things that are not typically publicly celebrated.

For example, nobody hands out gold stars for getting through depression. (But making it through those times in my life have been amongst the most difficult, and triumphant.)

Similarly, as Carrie Bradshaw put it in Sex and the City, “Hallmark doesn’t make a ‘congratulations you didn’t marry the wrong guy’ card. Where’s the flatware for going on vacation alone?”.

The times in our lives when we have to dig deep (maybe really, really deep), and do the right (but difficult or unpopular) things that are not necessarily celebrated. The moments in our lives that require the most tenacity and bravery might not be the most rewarded.

But if there is a shiny gold star to be had, maybe it’s the stories they give us.

You might not want to put it on a resume, but — if you’re brave enough — you can put it in a book. Or bring it to a stage. Or write it in a journal. Or tell it to a friend.

There’s an added bonus to sharing your story, too. It means it’s no longer just about you. Maybe no one’s throwing you a party, but you might be inspiring someone else.

A story might not seem as nice as a registry full of gifts, and it might not have the pomp and circumstance of a surprise party or a promotion, but I think a story is worth more. Because in a very real and deep way, and more than any of these transient celebrations, your story has meaning, and power, and it belongs to you.

It’s your story, and no one can take away your right to tell it.

Camille DePutter