My completely crazy roughly sixteen hours in Las Vegas was this past weekend. I survived in one piece and I had an incredible time, one worthy of a serious post talking about all of the interesting things I experienced because I had a fantastic time. I’m still processing everything. I did learn a few things while there and I want to get those down right now before those lessons disappear from my mind. Here are the five big life lessons I learned by spending roughly sixteen hours in Las Vegas.
1. Excess can be beautiful. Las Vegas is overwhelmingly glittery and loud. Everything is over the top and fake. While I was largely at the Cosmopolitan and much of my experience is colored by that, everywhere I turned I was hit with glitz: ropes of crystals draped around, flecks of gold in the floor, leather-lined walls, velvet couches, massive big screens with colorful advertisements so bright they could be neon. It was, at first glance, too much, but after a moment of taking it all in all of that fake and excess simply became backdrop for some more interesting details: people calling out at you carnival-barker style to get your attention for whatever they’re peddling, people in costumes essentially busking for tips, people of every color and creed. The bitter and the wide-eyed. The local and the tourist. The vast lanes of traffic. For more than a few moments looking up the Strip I was taken by just how incredible it all was and beautiful.
2. It’s more fun to be yourself. Right along with the excess that is Vegas there were so many women traipsing around in six inch spike heels and impossibly tight skirts at 11am. Every single one of these women seemed more than a little miserable and self-conscious. They also couldn’t walk very well as they wove their ways through the shops and malls. They weren’t laughing or smiling or even enjoying the great shopping. Meanwhile I was having a great time walking everywhere and not really caring what I looked like outside of comfortable and still good. I had a wonderful time and did a lot of neat things just by being myself.
3. Be open to new adventures. Most people who know me well know that while I am pretty outgoing I also have horrible anxiety about talking to people I don’t know. I had a good chunk of time in Las Vegas by myself, but instead of sneaking off to a corner to myself or spending all of it wandering around alone I pushed myself a little and opened up conversations with strangers. And it was pretty great. I talked to a group of girls celebrating their friend who had finally ended a bad relationship and a girl’s night out to the Cosmo was intended to help build her confidence–and she was a beautiful girl with a dazzling smile. I talked to an older gentleman who had come out with his daughters. A friendly and very intoxicated man insisted on taking a selfie with me and proclaimed “God bless Vegas for meeting new people!” I met a young Samoan woman with incredibly beautiful tattoos and she took the time to explain them all to me as well as the cultural history behind some of the them and the techniques used. Her brother spent a good twenty minutes talking to me about Kansas City and how he loved the city and thought I was great because I was from there. I watched very scantily clad girls dancing on what looked like a small tabletop stage. I saw a woman wearing a full-length mink coat in ninety degree heat without breaking a sweat. I opened myself up to new things and had a collection of experiences I won’t forget and I feel braver and more confident for it.
4. Leave your cell/iPad/whatever in your purse. I had to be careful with my phone while I was in Vegas because I was trying to conserve my battery. Finding an outlet to charge it up with was challenging (I did charge up briefly at a Starbucks at some point) so I had to choose between having my phone for communication purposes or taking a billion pictures. I opted to have my phone for communication and other than a a few snaps and updates the device stayed in my purse. I used my senses to make and keep memories rather than my phone and Instagram. I feel like I saw and experienced more by looking up and not at a tiny screen.
5. Drink more water. I’m always hearing that we as humans need to drink more water, but I’m pretty guilty of not doing it. When I got to Vegas, my friendly seatmate on the plane advised me to make sure I drank enough water. So I got a big bottle of water and drank most of it. I had a smaller one later and thought I was good. Oh…no, no I was not. I spent the entire day after getting home feeling incredibly dehydrated. Las Vegas is really, really dry. You need more water than you imagine. I’m still sucking down bottles of water and dealing with a dehydration-related scratchy throat. You gotta drink water!
Las Vegas was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to go back and do it again and I’ll write more about my trip later this week.