This week we gave thanks.

Many of us gathered around a full table and interlaced fingers with those we hold closest. We shed our business attire and slowed down enough to share words of gratitude.

Times I would normally be stationed stiff behind a computer, I instead relaxed near the fireplace, curled around a warm mug of tea. This week I went home and was reminded of how homely family makes that house feel.

Sure, consumerism is becoming more apparent with each year, but discounted microwaves pale in comparison to the people I see each holiday season.

For me, Thanksgiving weekend is always full of quiet moments that drown out the bustle of Black Friday. I reconnect with my parents, making up for all the hours we don’t get to share anymore. I sit in old friends’ basements and reminisce about being love drunk teens together. I joyride around Northeast Ohio with my younger sister, as she shows me glimpses into her complex mind, how she’s no longer that toddler I used to share a room with.

I want to try something with this week’s column. I want to share some of what I’m thankful for. It’s become a bit of an internalized tradition for me, but I think it’s time I voice the gratitude that doesn’t make it across my aunt’s Thanksgiving table runner.

So, for starters, I am thankful for daylight, especially as we progress into the darkest time of the year. With the end of daylight savings, my morning dog walks are now at prime sunrise time. Every day I get to watch the pink and orange hues spill over the hilltops, and it is magical.

I’m grateful for my body, my strong legs that can carry my wherever I want to go. My soul lives in this vessel that lets me know when I am sick, when I feel strong, when I need to stop eating so many French fries. My body reflects how I treat it and that teaches me so much.

I appreciate moisturizer. I’m not sure how I went my first 22 years with such dry, wind-kissed skin, but I’m grateful I learned of its power. Now I will always have a soft chin to involuntarily touch when someone makes me nervous.

I’m thankful for my job. It challenges me to continuously grow, consider the “why” behind my actions, sends me all over this county and introduces me to people who inspire me. I am a professional storyteller, and that’s been my dream since I would fall asleep to bedtime tales.

This time of year reminds me to be thankful, to share what I’m grateful for. And there is so much to be grateful for in life, including suffering. Suffering means I once had people in my life who are worth missing.

It shows me I am resilient in the face of temporary heartbreak, or the kind of heartbreak that’s as eternal as death. It shows me how fleeting life is, how I should value my life by the memories I make. It shows me I can overcome setbacks I never thought I could.

So yes, call me crazy, but suffering makes this list, too.

I hope you each can recognize something you’re grateful for. It’s a practice that’s helped me navigate the darkest of times and bask in moments when the sun’s shining bright.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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