What was the most dramatic change you ever had to make?
Maybe you had to move cross-country after being relocated for a job, opening up new possibilities along with fears. Or maybe you needed to sell your house or leave an apartment before you expected to. How did that situation influence the rest of your life? If one unavoidable shift changed your world—for good and bad—in enduring ways, write it down and share it with Real Simple.
Enter Real Simple's ninth annual Life Lessons Essay Contest and you could have your essay published in Real Simple and receive a prize of $3,000.
Read last year's winners: Diane Penney, the 2016 Life Lessons contest winner, wrote of her chance encounter during her darkest moment. Read the essay.
Gladys Haunton took second prize and Alice Kriofske won third prize.
1. How to enter: This contest begins at 12:01 A.M. Eastern Time (ET) on May 23, 2016, and ends at 11:50 P.M. ET on September 19, 2016. To enter online, send your typed, double-spaced submission (1,500 words maximum, preferably in a Microsoft Word attachment) to email@example.com. To enter via postal mail, submit your essay by mailing your entry to Essay Contest, Real Simple, 225 Liberty Street, 9th floor, New York, NY 10281. Entries must be postmarked no later than September 19, 2016, and received no later than September 26, 2016. Limit one entry per person or e-mail account. Essays should be submitted in English at a maximum of 1,500 words and typed and double-spaced on 8½-by-11-inch paper. Essays exceeding this length or handwritten may not be considered. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, or incomplete entries, postage-due mail, or entries not received for any reason. Entries will not be acknowledged or returned. By entering, Entrant warrants that his or her entry (1) is original and does not infringe the intellectual-property rights of any third party, (2) has not been published in any medium, and (3) has not won an award.
2. Judging: All entries will be judged by Real Simple editors, based on the following criteria: originality (25 percent), creativity (25 percent), use of language (25 percent), and appropriateness to contest theme (25 percent). All submitted essays must be nonfiction. Incomplete and/or inaccurate entries and entries not complying with all rules are subject to disqualification. Decisions of judges are final and binding. Winner will be notified by telephone and/or e-mail after January 8, 2017. Names of winners will also be published in the April 2017 issue of Real Simple.
Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, age 19 or older at time of entry (“Entrant(s)”). Void where prohibited by law. Employees of Sponsor and its promotional partners and their respective parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries and participating advertising and promotion agencies (including members of their immediate family and/or those living in the same household of each such employee) are not eligible.
4. Prize description: The first-place winner will receive $3,000. The second-place winner will receive $750. The third-place winner will receive $500. ALL TAXES ARE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNERS. The prizes are awarded without warranty, express or implied, of any kind. THE PRIZES ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE.
5. Conditions of participation: No transfer, assignment, or substitution of a prize permitted, except Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prize (or prize component) for an item of equal or greater value at Sponsor’s sole discretion. Nothing in these official contest rules shall obligate Sponsor to publish or otherwise use any entry submitted in connection with this Contest. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Entrants agree to be bound by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this Contest. By entering, Entrant represents that any essay, etc., and other materials submitted as part of Entrant’s contest entry are the original work of Entrant and not copied from any other source and will not constitute defamation or an invasion of privacy or otherwise infringe upon the rights of any third party, and that the Entrant owns or has the rights to convey any and all right and title in such essay. In addition, by entering, Entrant grants to Sponsor and its affiliates a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote, and republish at any time in the future and otherwise use Entrant’s submitted essay, along with Entrant’s name, likeness, statements, biographical information, and any other information provided by Entrant, in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional, or advertising purposes, without further permission, notice, or compensation (except where prohibited by law). Potential Winner, as a condition of receiving any prize, also may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release, and, where legally permissible, a Publicity Release and confirmation of a license as set forth above within 7 days following the date of first attempted notification, certifying, among other things, the following: (a) entry does not defame or invade the privacy of any party; (b) entry does not infringe upon the rights of any third party; and (c) the essay and other materials submitted are original and have never been published and entry has never won an award. Failure to comply with this deadline may result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of an alternate winner. Return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsor and its affiliates to use Winner’s name and/or likeness, biographical information, essay, and other materials submitted for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. By entering and/or accepting prize, Entrants and Winners agree to hold and indemnify Sponsor, its parent, affiliates, and their respective promotional partners, directors, officers, and employees harmless for liability, damages, or claims for injury or loss to any person or property, relating to, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, participation in this Contest, the acceptance and/or subsequent use or misuse or condition of any of the prizes awarded, or any claims including but not limited to claims based on publicity rights, defamation, invasion of privacy, or copyright infringement. False or deceptive entries or acts will render the Entrant ineligible. Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the immediate and unrestricted right to disqualify any entrant or prize winner, if either commits or has committed any act or has been involved or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence which the Sponsor deems likely to subject the Sponsor, Entrant, or Winner to ridicule, scandal, or contempt or which reflects unfavorably upon the Sponsor in any way. If such information is discovered by the Sponsor after a winner has received notice of his/her prize and before the prize is awarded, the Sponsor may rescind the prize in its entirety. If a portion of his/her prize has already been awarded, Sponsor may withdraw the remainder of the prize that has been fulfilled. Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding in all matters related to this paragraph. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the contest, or in the announcement of the prize.
6. Internet: Sponsor is not responsible for lost or late entries nor for electronic-transmission errors resulting in omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alterations of entry materials, or for technical, network, telephone-equipment, electronic, computer, hardware, or software malfunctions or limitations of any kind, or inaccurate transmissions of or failure to receive entry information by Sponsor or presenter on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof. If for any reason the Internet portion of the program is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, the Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. Sponsor reserves the right to select winners from eligible entries received as of the termination date. CAUTION: Any attempt by a contestant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the game is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such contestant to the fullest extent of the law. If there is a dispute as to the identity of the Entrant, the prize will be awarded to the authorized account holder of the e-mail address. The “authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person to whom the e-mail address is assigned.
7. Governing law: This Contest is governed by the internal laws of the State of New York without regard to principles of conflict of laws. All cases and claims pertaining to this Contest must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the City of New York, without recourse to class-action suits.
8. Severability: If any provision of these Rules is found to be invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction or appointed arbitrator, such determination shall in no way affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision herein.
9. Winner's list: For name of Winner(s), log on to realsimple.com/lifelessonscontest after March 14, 2017, where Name(s) of Winner(s) will be available for a period of 60 days.
10. Sponsor: The Sponsor of this Contest is Time Inc. Media Solutions, 225 Liberty Street, 9th floor, New York, NY 10281.