Have you noticed that when you go on vacation, you feel a sense of freedom that rejuvenates all of the nooks and crannies in your soul and your psyche…like you can do ANYTHING? Like the world has been a closed oyster all this time and now it’s finally open?
No place seems to inspire this for me more than Las Vegas. The tingling sensation starts before the plane has even touched down on the Nevada soil. I look out the window, see all of the houses lined up in a row in the residential areas on the outskirts of the city. In the distance lies the Vegas skyline lit up like my old Brite Lite. The colors fire off all of the dopamine centers in my brain. I imagine all of the possibilities waiting for me.
People refer to NYC as the melting pot. Vegas is a melting pot of misfits. Misfits who literally ran off to join the circus. (Have you ever seen Cirque du Soleil)? All one has to do is go to a Vegas show or sit down at a bar and talk to one of the bartenders to know that what happens in Vegas…well, often doesn’t happen anywhere else. (Social media has ruined the adage “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”). It’s a hodge podge of people, young and old, who mostly came from somewhere else. Looking for a dream. Looking for a fortune. (Or looking for something more nefarious). And just never left.
For most of us though, there comes a time when we have to go home. And then the “Brite Lite” feeling starts to wane. We start to think about all of the responsibilities that we have to return to at home and at work. The myriad possibilities that seemed to exist on the way to Vegas seem like they’re being left behind in Vegas. Perhaps unfulfilled.
But is that really true? Isn’t the bright lights, big city feeling of Vegas really just inside all of us? Which means we carry it within us – all the time. Even when we go home.
I think of it kind of like when we were kids in Kindergarten, presented with a blank canvas, an oversized paintbrush and huge paint bottles. You could dip your brush into red, yellow, green, and blue paint and dump it onto the page with wild abandon. But once the paint was spilled onto the canvas, you can’t take back the red, the yellow or the blue. It’s done. You can’t undo it. Going to Vegas (or anywhere on vacation, for that matter) can feel like the blank canvas. Leaving the old behind. Creating something new. But eventually it’s time to go back to the old canvas. The one with the crusty old paint on it. The yellow and red that has faded.
What we fail to realize though – unless we shift our focus – is that the canvas is never done. You can always throw on more paint and make it look bright again. And the possibilities of Vegas – they are not in Vegas. They are really inside you. The power and energy that you feel in Vegas, or wherever you are on vacation, just needs to be awakened again.
So as I now find myself getting grumpy and depressed as my Vegas trip is winding down (it’s my last night here), I realize that the “shiny newness” of Vegas is really just the euphoria of abandoning old responsibilities that are just that: responsibilities. I can bring that newness back home with me if I really want to. Instead of “Leaving Las Vegas,” I can “Live Las Vegas.” Meaning, I can have that bad ass, all-is-right-with-the-world, I-can’t-wait-to-see-what-the-day-brings attitude all the time – not just in Vegas. Vegas is a state of mind.