As I reflect back on the decade that was, a few bright and shiny faces came to mind who really made a difference in my life. Beyond the realm of my family, who are just always there and always wonderful, these people did all kinds of things to let me know that they cared. Whether they were just available when I was going through hard times or whether they were the first to congratulate me during the good times, they kept my ship sailing, they kept me up, and sometimes they even offered a well-placed, well-timed kick to the hiney.

There are a lot of motivational quotes out there about what true friends are. But I have learned, thanks to this last decade, that a lot of those flowery sayings are not really getting to the core of the matter.

The people who matter are your strength when you are running low. They are the purchasers of the champagne (or ice cream) to celebrate your victories. They don’t run away from bad times, and they don’t run away from your success.

Today, in my opinion, is a really good time to tell the people who made a difference in your life that, “Hey, you made a difference in my life.” I have let the people who fall into that category in my life know that they have impacted me in ways they might not even have realized. They made a difference. It’s a chance to be Clarence the angel from It’s A Wonderful Life.

It’s also a really good time to think about how you can be a difference maker for someone else. What better goal is there to strive for as this year and decade come to a close? It can be as simple as being around. We all can do that, can’t we?

Happy New Year to you and yours. I’ll see you next year.