Better Than Vegas

I’ve wanted to move out of my hometown for some number of years now. It’s hardly been a secret. I’ve constantly tried to get out and get my feet on the ground elsewhere. I’ve had the money to go numerous times, but when I have the money to go I just don’t want to leave. When I don’t have the ability to leave, I want to more than ever. It’s what all of Noose Ends was about. I planned that whole year to get out of town as soon as I could. I had the money saved and I had the plan in my head. Funny, because after all the planning and deciding I made, life happened. I just found another reason to stay for a while. At the end of the year I met the girl I would later begin dating and I found that I didn’t need to save to move, I needed to save to care for her in a period of trouble.

Since then, we’ve both been talking a lot about moving. Getting out and going somewhere else, if only for a few years. I wanted to address something I find troubling in our sentiment.

For a long time, my home has been on the receiving end of a lot of hate, and I’ve written about that before. I don’t mean to come back and tell you the same story about my hometown and how everyone hates it again. It won’t serve a purpose. I just realized something the other day about who I am, and how I think in relation to moving.

Over the course of the year I’ve had a few friends depart from the town and move on to bigger and better things. I am so proud of them for going on and progressing how they think they should be progressing, but I realized that while this was happening I’ve been doing nothing but talking about how badly I want to move too. I’ve been looking at apartments and houses out of town, I’ve been considering the resources I’d need to move and so on, a lot like usual. I get cooped up and desire change like if I don’t get it I will strip my own skin off of my body.

But it’s been different, this time. I haven’t been searching for an escape from the town anymore. I’ve been searching for the next step. The next place to go. I’ve made peace with everything I had a problem with. I spent a year doing just that. There are a few loose ends to finish tying up but in large I’ve reached a place where I’ve realized that I don’t want to get out for the sake of getting out. I want to go to sail off on some new journey somewhere else.

I think we all get caught up in the trappings of escape. We want to be free of our chains and move as we please. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but I began to realize that I put so much weight in where I would go that I forgot to consider and love where I am today. This apartment isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. This street is nice, my job is good, my living is easy, and I don’t want for anything ever. The simplest things seem to escape our grasp when we focus so hard on the big moves we want to make. I’ve learned to ease up and be less strict on deadlines and writing, but I haven’t reminded myself in a while to stop and enjoy the sunshine every once and a while.

There’s a running joke that I live in the best town in Nevada, considering that the only two towns anyone knows about are Reno and Vegas. I’ve made jokes with friends all through high school that we are better than both of those places because we don’t have to deal with all the shitty people and all the traffic. Or whatever else I could think of at the time.

I was talking with a friend who is on the verge of their 21st birthday soon, and they want to go to Las Vegas to party. We talked a bit about it, and I threw some other suggestions because I just don’t care for Vegas. But they said something that struck with me.

“Las Vegas is the best party in the world. You can’t not go to Vegas for your 21st Birthday.”

I thought it was rather silly, but what do I know? My 21st birthday was a riot, but I spent it with all of my friends over the course of three days and we did it all in town. Different strokes, I suppose.

But still, it got me thinking.

Why do we seek out the best party city in the nation when the fact that we are alive is a party enough?

No disrespect to Vegas and the 24-hour extravaganza of going there. But I mean it. Why do I seek to be somewhere else, when where I am is amazing in its own way? Why do we seek to find these iconic places when where we are is just as much of a miracle?

Go to Vegas because it’s Vegas, the Luxor is one of the coolest places ever + you should enjoy your time there. Don’t go to Vegas because you hate where you are. Don’t you think its kind of unhealthy to always be on the run?

I’ve known a few people who believed that everyone around them was terrible, that every person we worked with was garbage and they wanted to escape. Their marriage was bad, and their friends were bad, and their job was bad, and their apartment was bad and I just thought it was sad.

They moved, and I ran into them a few months later when they were back visiting their daughters and they still said the same thing. Their new friends were still bad, their new boyfriend was still bad, their new job was still bad. They told me that everything in their life was unfulfilling. They wanted to be able to just have a good time without worrying about everything all the time. At what point I wonder; will I get there? That mentality must start somewhere, don’t you think? Those kinds of thoughts don’t just spring up out of nowhere, they’re built on long-term thought we continue to tell ourselves.

So, I told her to go to Vegas.

If you go to Vegas and you have a bad time, that would mean that it isn’t your boyfriends or girlfriends or kids or exes or jobs or apartments that are unfulfilling, that would mean that it is you that is unfulfilled, wouldn’t it?

She left a few days later and I haven’t seen her since. I hope she’s okay. I hope she is fulfilled. I hope she didn’t have to go to Vegas to find that fulfillment, either.

See, I have this thought that I’ve held for years. That our only manner of true control is the control we exhibit over ourselves. If my girlfriend was terrible and I hated my job and my apartment was molding and falling apart, I would leave those things. It’s the only thing I can truly do to make myself happier. I can’t convince others to be nice, though I try. I can only do so much maintenance on the apartment I’m renting. I can only stand so many bad experiences at a job before I fold under pressure, so I’m left with two options.

Find a way to fix it

Get away, or try to change the circumstance. Make it better somehow. You can’t change people, but you can be an example. Don’t let the world stomp on you. Don’t let your light go out because the world around you seems to want you dim. Burn brighter. Be brighter. Be better. You exist, and I know it sounds so lame sometimes, but there is no reason for any of us to be here, so why should I spend my life chasing things that I think are better, never being satisfied, when instead… I could seek the second option.

Make the best out of what I have.

I love my life, and I want that to be clear. I am not complaining in the slightest, but at the end of the day, there are things that I am unhappy with about where I live and the direction my life has taken. Those things aren’t bad. They’re simply ways for me to learn how to be better. To be stronger. Kinder. Wiser. More loving. Everything in this life is a learning experience, and I don’t know about you, but I am at my best when I am learning. It doesn’t matter the size of the problem or the depth of the unhappiness. I will overcome it and if for some reason you or I can’t find a way to, well….

We’re still alive against million to one odds, and that’s enough to be thankful for, isn’t it?



I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I hope that you got something from it. The night is almost over, and dawn will be arriving soon. You’ve spent a long day building with me and I’m thankful that you’ve been here. Let’s make tomorrow even better than today, shall we?

Don’t forget that a fire has started inside of us. Harness that heat and use it wisely. Don’t say things without meaning. Don’t be bitter and cold. There is enough of that in the world already. Stay steadfast to the flames that guide your soul.

Seek to help someone today.

I’ll see you next week, in the meantime don’t let the tides drag you under.


Instagram + Twitter: @alvatobiasbooks

Facebook: Alva Tobias

I’ve got something cooking up on Instagram, if you want to check it out. The dawn is coming.

Life is not meant to be awful.

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