Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. This is not just because we get to sit down and eat a big feast (although I never say no to a good feast).
I also love getting to spend time with family. I appreciate the fact that there's no marketing blitz around Thanksgiving, and that there aren't a bunch of commercials beating me over the head to buy Thanksgiving presents, or Thanksgiving flowers, or a new Thanksgiving car for someone special.
But most of all, I love the idea of a holiday devoted to giving thanks. In a culture that's too often fixated on the idea that the world owes us one, where the default setting is often outrage or disappointment, where we're often told to demand more more more, I like the idea of taking time to reflect on the good things we have, and to express gratitude for those things. We don't do that enough, and even in tough years, we have a lot to be grateful for.
With that in mind, here are some of the things I'm thankful for in Reston this year:
- I'm thankful for my colleagues on the Reston Citizens Association. These men and women, working with limited resources, do so much to make Reston a better place to live, work, and play. I'm proud to be in charge of a group of such dedicated, hard-working, community-minded people. Keep up the good work, gang!
- I'm thankful for all the other community volunteers in Reston, working for RA, the RCC, Reston Interfaith, and other groups too numerous to mention. I enjoyed Ken Plum's Patch blog on , and the elected officials who make work and family sacrifices to serve the people of Virginia.
Our volunteers in Reston don't have to spend a couple months in Richmond every year, but they do work hard for long hours (equivalent to a full-time job for some), while balancing work and family responsbilities in most cases, with no compensation other than the knowledge that they're making Reston a better place. Sometimes, these volunteers take a lot of lumps from people who disagree with their actions, but I'm just glad that someone's willing to stand up and serve Reston.
- I'm thankful for the new . I was on the RCC Board during the time when this expansion came to pass, and I'm glad we made it happen. The new space looks great, and it provides a much-needed increase in RCC's art studio and fitness facilities. The expanded space will serve Reston well for years to come.
- I'm thankful that Bob Simon is still alive and kicking, getting out in the community and sharing his views on Reston's future. I'm honored for be serving as Bob's alternate on the . I hope that I'm as active as Bob in when I'm in my 90s!
- I'm thankful to , , , , and for representing Reston at the various levels of state and local government. All of our elected officials love Reston, and they've proudly represented us through the years.
- I'm thankful to , , and for being candidates in this year's election. All of them were longshots, and it's not easy to take on a race where you're almost certain to lose. But they all raised important issues and debates in our community. Good policy-making thrives on open and honest discussion and debate, and these losing candidates did their part to encourage that discussion.
- I'm thankful that the Silver Line is . The extension of the Metro through Reston brings with it a number of challenges: new development near the stations, increased traffic congestion (especially while Wiehle Avenue is still the end of the line), and the risk of much higher tolls to finance construction.
But I've been waiting my whole life for the Metro to make its way out to Reston. At times, I thought I would never get to see it, much like I thought I might never get to see baseball in Washington. But now we have DC baseball (hooray!), and every time I drive on Wiehle Avenue over the Toll Road, I'm reminded that we'll have the Metro soon, too.
- On a personal note, I'm thankful for my daughter, Leslie. Leslie is a fifth-grader at , and she's as bright, sweet, and thoughtful a child as any parent could hope for. I have every faith and confidence that she's going to be running Reston some day. She makes me proud every day.
- Finally, I'm thankful to be living in a great place like Reston. We may be facing some and renovation ahead of us as our community gets older, but Reston's still my idea of a great place to call home. We're such a diverse community, not just in our people but in what we have to offer: plenty of jobs, a wide range of housing options, places to shop and dine, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities galore. I grew up here, I'm glad to raise my family here, and I hope to stay here for many years to come.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get ready to turn on the Lions game and take a nap on the couch. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!