It’s a mild evening in Las Vegas. Hot, by winter standards if you don’t have desert (or jungle) blood.
The sun has already begun its descent behind the rugged, snow-covered peak of Mt. Charleston to the west of the city. The mountains on the east, the ones covered in trees, are a deep purple. Sunrise Mountain, the naked, red, jagged mound to the northeast of The Stratosphere, glows a dusky pink.
It’s a serene setting, despite the fact I am sitting in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. A beautiful life outside my windows.
It’s been home three times now, but this time, it’s different. This time, it feels like something in my mind, my heart, has just clicked. The pieces of my life which were strewn across the globe have all fluttered to the ground seamlessly. The barren, desert ground.
I’ve been back in Vegas for a little more than two months. Two months which seem to have raced by, yet at the same time, I’ve felt every moment. Been present for every moment.
I’m not going to lie, or sugarcoat it. Re-entry is an asshole. However, unlike the last time I went through it, this time it was more of a logistical nightmare than an emotional one.
Maybe it’s because I was ready to come home.
Six years ago, when I landed at Dulles, I was still running. Only, I had to run home because home was work and work was money and money was the answer to packing up and leaving again.
This time, re-entry, repatriation, was what I wanted.
For the first time since I have been an adult, I returned to Las Vegas knowing it was where I wanted to be, not where I thought I needed to be in order to find happiness.
Something funny happens when you aren’t running: happiness comes. Happiness attracts. Happiness opens the eyes and the heart.
Despite the fact that money wasn’t abundant when I landed at McCarran with my Thai street cats and my incredibly supportive mother at my side, and despite the fact that I needed to re-establish myself, this re-entry has gone rather smoothly.
I haven’t had any holy shit moments. Unless you count the times where I had to stand in line at the DMV to get my license and compared it to the immigration hell when getting a new visa in Thailand. Or, having to wait hours for my WiFi to be installed. Or, even the bit of anxiety I felt when I realized at my Fitbit wouldn’t be getting the mileage like the car I had to buy would.
Not once has it even crossed my mind that I made the wrong decision leaving Spain.
There have been zero moments of doubt.
No times at all where I wondered what the hell I have gotten myself into and how on earth I was going to get out of it.
Simple: I learned how to believe in myself.
For years, I fought the impostor syndrome (I even have a post I started writing about this but haven’t finished). It took talks with a dear friend of mine in Spain, the support of my family, the unwavering cheerleading of my best friend, to remind me I am valuable. I am strong. I am talented. I am beautiful — inside and out.
Then, one morning, when that strong desert sun was shining through the blind slats, it poured into me. Confidence. Happiness. I was awash in it. Bathing in it. A smile attached to my face and hasn’t left.
When you glow, you glow. And that glow reflects and soaks into others.
This time around in Vegas, I’ve surrounded myself with positive energy. Positive lifestyle choices. I’ve been spending time with vibrant, happy people, which ultimately makes me more vibrant. Happier. Open to new beginnings, love, career opportunities. Anything. Everything.
I’ve believed in myself, and that belief in myself has made others believe in me, too. It’s led to work. It’s led to opportunities I’ve never thought possible. Putting that confidence and trust in myself out into the world has changed my entire path.
Like my beautiful friend, Ashley Diana wrote, it is possible to get your spark back. Even when it’s been dulled for so long.
I know many of you struggle on occasion. I read your emails. I understand where you are coming from, because I’ve been there. I’ve gone through it, too.
Change is there. Happiness is there. It may not come in the form of a plane ticket or a packed bag. In fact, I can confidently say it doesn’t. It comes from inside of you.
Go get ’em, tigers.
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