I can’t believe I’ve been able to call Vegas home for TWO years. Time is going by faster and faster everyday.
A lot of people always ask me – what brought you here? Why Vegas? You LIVE in Vegas, why?
My plan after college was always to gtfo outta Massachusetts, I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to do it. But, as we all know – life happens. Fast forward to 2014 and my mom, my sister, and best friends were all living in California, but I was in [what was at the time] a happy relationship. Between him and my friends, Massachusetts was home. I was living with one of my best friends, finally getting myself out of the restaurant industry and life seemed to be going “okay”. I was 23 and had everything I [thought] I needed.
Fast forward to January 1, 2015. I found out my boyfriend had been cheating on me for months. Of course I blamed myself and tried to figure out what I had done wrong? How could I have been better? How did I miss all of the signs? How could I have been so stupid? Why wasn’t I good enough? How was I going to try and save this? How could I fix this to try and make it work? It ended. I was a mess. I couldn’t function and I went into a serious depression.
Thank goodness to my incredible friends because my support system is the only thing that got me through.
April 2015, my best friend and her boyfriend bought me a ticket to Coachella for my birthday and gave me no choice but to come visit, so I obviously did. That was the happiest I had been in a while. I don’t know if it was just because I was at a music festival or because I was with my best friend again, or just away from everything, but I was happy and that was all that mattered.
I met two really cool people who were from Vegas. I had been to Vegas multiple times for EDC and had never really entertained the idea of actually *living* there. Call it intuition, call it gut, call it desperation, insanity, whatever. Whatever it was – I decided I was going to move to Vegas by the end of that year. When I get an idea in my head, I make it happen. Everybody thought I was insane (understandably so) and tried to tell me all of the reasons why I should stay.. but something in me just knew I had to go.
It took some serious convincing and a ton of planning, but – in true Maria fashion, I made it happen. I put myself in stupid amounts of debt because I needed to get out that badly. I didn’t exactly know if my job situation would work out or not but I didn’t care. I was that lost and desperate. I needed to get out so that’s what I did.
November 2015. It was time. We began our road trip to start on a whole new adventure. My company offered me a part time position, which turned into full time, followed by 2 promotions which landed me my ultimate dream job. My 5 year plan happened in 4 months.
Vegas is unlike any other city. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of what most people couldn’t even imagine being a normal life. I live in a city where people come to commit sin and lose all of their inhibitions and morals.
Ironically, living here has made me more grounded and sure of who I am and the kind of person I want to be than anywhere else. It has strengthened my morals by pushing them to their absolute limits.
“Vegas” really is a metaphor for life. At the end of the day, isn’t everything just a gamble anyway? We put our chips on the table and sometimes we lose, sometimes we break even, sometimes we win, but me? I feel like I hit the fucking jackpot. I put all of my [metaphorical] chips on the table, I bet absolutely everything I had, and more (hello credit card debt!) but you know what? I don’t regret any of it. Like I said, I hit the jackpot.
In my two years of living here, not only was I able to pay off all of my moving and depression debt [hi retail therapy!] but I was also able to pay off all of my student loan debt. More importantly than the monetary “winnings”, the biggest gamble and risk I took was on myself.. and that is where I really won the most.
I’m still figuring out what I want from this crazy little thing we call life, but what 20-something millennial isn’t? I don’t know if I’ll stay in Vegas forever or start a family here [or even at all] but the amount of growth I’ve made as a person while living here has been some of the most monumental, crucial, and fucking difficult growth I have ever made.
Vegas, thank you.