It’s a whole different world out there.
I just got back from spending a week in Vegas for business. Yes, I know, how productive can someone actually be in Vegas? Surprisingly, I was there for a week-long conference and it was quite productive. As someone who grew up in Vegas (I would not stoop to calling it my hometown), the city has never appealed to me in the sense that it appeals to a vast majority of the world. All the glitz, glamor, and glowing neon failed to leave an impression on me after living there for seven years, and I thought I had experienced it all. Well, I was slightly off in that regard…
I admit, I have never been a tourist in Las Vegas and wasn’t really looking forward to staying down on the strip. That, and the people connections I hold very dear aren’t really the same “down south” anymore, meaning I couldn’t even get a home cooked meal. My opinion of the entire journey changed when I first walked into my hotel room. It was rather embarrassing that I had a massive suite all to myself, with a bathtub large enough to sleep in, 2 TVs, and a view that just couldn’t be beat. This was the way to do Vegas!!
My opinion of Sin City changed very rapidly over the coming days. Eating at ridiculous restaurants, going to see Santana (freaking awesome by the way), and living the life of a tourist (sleeping in past 6, going to the gym whenever it was convenient, and people watching), all provided an experience that was almost vacation-like. Almost.
I do confess that after about, oh, 3.2 days, I was over the entire thing. Eating out, which I think is one of the world’s most disgusting activities, was really getting old, and I was sick of not being in Reno, at my house, with my dog, doing my regularly scheduled activities. The sheen had worn off once again. Granted, it wasn’t a wasted experience as I gained a lot of insights from the conference and made a few valuable connections that may come in handy later down the road. I’d experienced a side of Vegas I only heard tourists talk about, and while I did appreciate it, I don’t need to experience it again any time before 2037. I did feel like I discovered what the appeal can be to someone who A) isn’t from the west coast B) has never seen a building taller than three stories or C) had an ungodly amount of expendable, personal income.
In stark contrast, the world of swimming is also a completely different world from what many people experience day to day. It’s you and your thoughts (which I’ve mentioned frequently), powering through the water with nothing but a grueling workout on the board, your weightless existence, a stylish-but-all-too-small swimsuit, and the calm quiet of the water mixed with your muscles surging and creating a wake behind your whirring legs. Swimming provides me my daily break from reality; Vegas, well Vegas IS its own reality.
My reality has reshaped, morphed, and been in flux for many years (read: constantly) and I look back on 2013 and can’t believe it’s been almost five months since IRONMAN. What?! The experience of the year that redefined me so much is already half a year away, and I can barely remember all of the things that have happened in between now and then. Oh, reality, you have cruel and interesting ways of affecting us.
I will say that it was great getting back to my “normal” reality this week. My familiar desk, my favorite pillow, my cooking style, and my car: it all provides a sense of normality in the face of being not normal for over a week. Just so we’re all clear, I’d like to point out that Thanksgiving is in eight days! Eight! So much for normal…