Man of the Year, Most Influential Woman, the 10 Best Dressed, the 100 Richest People – there’s no shortage of reference guides for who to admire. There are a lot of accomplished people out there. Our little town is full of them. We go to big dinners and the admirable people get Trailblazer Awards or Volunteer of the Year Awards; we listen to speeches, applaud and go home. It’s all good. But I’m not really impressed by all that. It leaves me flat, doesn’t speak to my life.

Here are the people I admire:

* People who understand the phrase ‘there but for fortune go you or I.”

* People who say they were wrong and they say it in front of a lot of people.

* Folks who have been publicly humiliated by their own actions or the actions of others who keep their shit together and come back to fight another day.

* Moms of endlessly crying babies who go sit on the front porch and have a smoke instead of bashing their kid’s head against the wall.

* Recovering people who tell their stories honestly and helpfully but respect other people’s stories as much as their own.

* People who, once they realize how their addiction, behavior, anger or mental health problem is affecting their loved ones, seek help.

* Parents of children who have committed crimes who stand by their children no matter how ashamed they feel.

* Children and teens who befriend the kids who are different, unpopular, and the target of bullies.

* Relatives that take the keys away from loved ones who drive drunk so they won’t kill themselves or other people.

* Joyful people who unwittingly elevate the lives of the people around them.

* The teenager who stands up for the family that has failed her dozens of times.

* Anyone who quits anything they’re addicted to that’s messing up their lives – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food, people.

* The old man who gently gives his Alzheimer’s-afflicted wife a bath everyday, dresses her, and feeds her breakfast.

You see where I’m going here? I’m one with the flawed, the mistaken, the do-overs, the persistent, and the loyal. I vote for the confused, the lost, the found, the redeemed and the seeking.

Those are my people. That’s who I admire. I’m with them.