It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting at my kitchen table working from home. I’m avoiding the holiday traffic that would ruin what is generally a peaceful commute. The sun is out and my morning coffee is in hand. In my world, life doesn’t get much better than this.

Thanksgiving is and always has been my favorite holiday. I believe it to be the last pure holiday that remains, and I relish the time leading up to these four days of family and food and reflection. It is difficult not to be cliché when writing about that for which I am thankful, and so I will be.

Here is a short list of those many, many things.

» I’m thankful for the thousand kisses and “I love yous” that have crossed my lips and caressed my ears.

» I am thankful for a half lifetime of memories across the spectrum from tragic to wonderful, the memories that have brought me to this moment and make me who I am.

» I am thankful for the whispered prayer that calms me and makes the world seem right again.

» I am thankful for the many graces, both small and large, that affirm my faith and make me whole.

» I am thankful for misty morning walks on the beach with friends and family.

» I am thankful for my crazy dog that gives me the sense that I am much more important than I really am.

» I am thankful for my stubborn cat that gives me the sense that I am much less important than I really am.

» I am thankful I am able to cook.

» I am thankful for warm fires on cold nights and cool ocean breezes after warm days.

» I am thankful for dirty vodka martinis and good red wine.

» I am thankful for football and soccer on crisp autumn afternoons, muddy uniforms and come-from-behind victories. I’m thankful the underdog wins sometimes.

» I’m thankful for a wife who, inexplicably, has stayed by my side for 17 years and the daughters she gave me — the greatest gift I will ever know.

» I’m thankful for the flawed but loyal family on both sides of the aisle. Life would be so uninteresting without their craziness and color.

» I’m thankful for a single candle burning in the dark.

» I’m thankful for pen and paper and for words to put there.

» I’m thankful for my ability to teach and my ability to learn. I’m thankful for knowledge.

» I’m thankful for the many kindnesses extended to me each day — a smile, a wave, a hello, a compliment.

» I’m thankful for laughter. I’m thankful for tears. I’m thankful for those special times when both appear.

» I’m thankful for well-told stories.

» I’m thankful for those in my life who have been willing to forgive me and for those I have forgiven.

» Mostly I am thankful for the privilege of being alive.

That is why I love Thanksgiving so much. It does make it clear that this life we are given is a privilege and that it is worth doing with it the best that we can. Happy Thanksgiving.

— Tim Durnin is an independent consultant for nonprofit organizations, schools and small business. He can be reached at Click here to read his previous columns.