Holly Wainwright: "This year, I want to live a brave life."

Thanks to our brand partner, Triumph

I will not be getting a word tattooed on my inner wrist this year. Or inked in cursive script just above my arse.

Despite sometimes feeling like I have learned nothing in my considerable years, I am sufficiently evolved to know that about myself.

I would change my mind.

Because if time has taught me anything, it’s that everything changes. All. The. Time. I am not a creature of certainty.

The other reason I won’t be going there is because those are both areas of my body that I am not desperate to draw attention to. You see, I am in my 40s, and there are parts of me that reflect that more than others. My arse? Let’s just say it needs well-meaning support, rather than celebration.

And my age, as well as my rear, has everything to do with the word I have chosen to be my touchstone in 2016. The word that I would get inked, if only I didn’t know better.

It’s brave.

This year, I want to live a brave life.

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Not brave like a firefighter, racing towards a bushfire when everyone else is running the other way. Not brave like an assault victim facing her attacker in court. Not brave like a parent sleeping by their child’s bed in the ICU and summoning a smile every morning.

I am talking about finding the small courage, daily, to risk cosy comfort.

I have done plenty of things in my life that might be considered brave. I travelled far from my homeland and made a new life, alone. I’ve travelled solo, I’ve jumped out of planes, lived by myself, stared down childbirth (twice), swum with sharks – I have fallen in love.

But lately, I have chosen comfort over risk. It has, of course, almost everything to do with the three people in my home who depend on me. That sense that there is so much at stake every time you take a leap.


Grown-up women feel this keenly. We famously put ourselves at the end of lists and refrain from rocking the boat to ensure our people are safe.

Holly with her children, Matilda and Billy. Image: Supplied.

We also know too much. Women live intertwined with loss. We have been the brave young things, shouting loudly, living large, and then, for many of us, loss laid a cold finger across our lips.


Not this year. This year, the word I hold in my head is about reminding myself that my story isn’t sliding into a comfortable conclusion. That change I know is life’s constant companion? It’s okay.

I’ve been studying the brave women in my own world. The women of all ages who live their lives on their own terms, to the great benefit of themselves and those around them. The women who are not afraid to be themselves, wholly. And I have been taking notes.

Here is what I have learned:

Brave people are not afraid of failing. Or of succeeding.

Brave people prioritise what matters to them, and realise that not everything can.

Brave people are honest, but not cruel, and have learned how to say ‘no’. And ‘yes’.


Brave people don’t second-guess every decision they make. They decide, they move on, they stand by their choice.

"Brave people are not afraid of failing. Or of succeeding." Image: supplied.

Brave people don’t procrastinate. They know that sometimes, you just have to do it.

Brave people reach out to people they have wronged, and those who need help, despite fearing rejection.

Brave people don’t let fear stop them from doing the things they have always wanted to do.

Brave people can admit that they can’t do everything. They refuse to be paralysed by the fear of disappointing people.

Brave people aren’t afraid to change the things in their lives that aren’t working for them.

These are the traits of bravery that I want to carry into my Year Of Brave.

I might not be flinging myself from tall towers, or cage diving with great whites, but I will be reminding myself daily, that I do have the courage to change things.

Starting with my arse.

Anyone want to come for a run?

How will you be Brave this year?