Yes, it’s true — I am hanging up my stilettos and deserting the desert. It was a long, hard decision, one I had been mulling over for about six months. I did some Hail Mary-type plays in the end to see if maybe I could save my comfortable, happy life here. Alas, I did not get the humongous raise I gunned for (I said it was a Hail Mary), and Prince Charming did not ring my doorbell (ok, maybe becoming a homebody while I tried to figure out where I could move to doesn’t count)… But the universe was stubborn. In fact, the ol’ uni was sick and tired of whispering that my time here was done, irritated as I proved to be just as headstrong. So it threw bricks — the weekend getaways that usually rejuvenate me to return home? This time, on an innocent girls’ trip to Napa and San Francisco, I learned that I wasn’t going home, not really. My life as I knew it had come to an end.
“Why don’t you just move here?” an old friend asked me during happy hour in the Castro.
And I answered, “Why don’t I?” as breezily as if he’d asked me if I wanted another drink.
So here we are. I am at last… Leaving Las Vegas.
Las Vegas, you were good to me. Sure I had some tough times here, but nothing out of the ordinary. I will spare the gambling puns, but Sin City was lucky for me. It was always ready with the next job opportunity, a great and affordable place to live, supportive friends, and amazing coworkers.
I had a good run. So why am I giving up? After all, I had vowed to myself that I would stay put for once, that I wouldn’t flee the second my fear of commitment felt the itch to move. It was such a hard decision that it took me half a year to take the plunge. It’s exhausting and terrifying starting over alone, moving to a new place with no income and no one to help make the big decisions about budget or where to live.
When I realized that three years at my demanding job was the magic number, I took a long, hard look at my future. When I listed all of the industries I had interest in pursuing, none of them existed in Vegas.
I would have to move, but where?
There were so many personal issues weighing on me as well. Forging strong friendships is difficult in a hospitality town where everyone works strange hours, and working evenings is just part of the gig. And I won’t even wade into dating in Las Vegas, as I could write a novel on that nightmare.
Yet, was it worth it to go for broke and move to a new town, especially an expensive one in the San Francisco area?
Moving is exciting and freeing but come on, I’m a journalist. Despite three years of dedicated workaholism, my savings account is scarily small. When all is said and done, moving is a sacrifice. And it is sad.
A friend of mine was shocked that I spent the weekend after I quit at home, sad, crying a lot. “This was your decision…” If a boyfriend cheats on you and you dump him, are you allowed to cry? For all its glitter and good heart, in the end, I feel like Vegas let me down. It gave me my career back after two years off (my unceremonious laying off was in Oct. 2008 in LA), including the last year, where I had completely given up and moved to a hut in Costa Rica. I never thought I’d work again, but Vegas came to the rescue. Yet, after that amazing gift, it had nothing left. It wouldn’t let me grow. But I will miss it so, so much.
Life is about choices, and I choose to move to a place where I think I belong long-term. But it is not some magic “fun” decision. I am terrified. I feel alone. It’s such a risk to move without knowing how much money you might make at a job — hoping of course, that I get one.
But don’t roll your eyes — I’m not asking for sympathy. I chose this.
I gave up a lot of comfortable things, all because I do not see my future here. But I am proud that I took the leap to leave — no matter the result. In all of my moving over the years, I have learned that being stubborn about things like the weather can lead to an unfulfilling time. Some people are lucky enough to find love and work in their hometowns and never feel like they have to leave. But someone like me, I often have to give up one thing for another. I am choosing to sacrifice a whole lot in the hopes of finding something better. I will not sit around complaining about the parts of my life I am unsatisfied with — I am taking off in search of them, despite having to leave behind glitzy neon, sunny skies, the best of friends, and steady work….
Sometimes, you have to take a huge, scary risk. So, here I go! Wish me luck. I need it. 😉
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