When I decided to mark my 50th birthday year by writing thank-you letters to people who had helped, inspired, and shaped me in my life, the last thing on my mind was forgiveness. But writing those thank-you letters turned out to be harder, deeper, and more meaningful than I’d ever hoped, in large part because it drove home the ways in which gratitude and forgiveness are twinned in human nature. By challenging myself to acknowledge all the ways in which I had been helped over the years, I necessarily faced facts: there were situations in which I hadn’t always conducted myself in a way that made me deserving of the help. And in situations where I’d clung to historical slights by a family member or close friend, writing a letter documenting all the ways those people had supported me over the years made me blush with embarrassment over my hard work and determination to maintain ancient disappointments. Making amends as I went, whether in the text of the letters I wrote or simply by promising myself to do better going forward, became a means of clearing a flight path for gratitude’s smooth landing.