With the inaugural excitement over, real life intruded in a big way yesterday as I rather literally "picked myself up, dusted myself off, and set about the task of remaking America" my life. Things have been a bit surreal in Becca's world for the past couple of weeks. I've been sick, for one thing, with some strange combination of infections that have stolen my appetite, my hearing, and my ability to breathe through my nose. Despite mega doses of antibiotics, the malady lingers, morphing in and out of my body like some weird shape shifting amoeba. One day I feel quite fine, and the next I'm a quivery mass of weakness and nausea, wandering through the house wrapped in blankets and microwaveable heating pads to quell the spasms of chills that permeate my body.
In the midst of this, we set off for a three day jaunt to Las Vegas. Oh I know, you're already shaking your heads in dismay. Believe me, in retrospect I'm wondering what demon possessed me to agree to this trip. Last December, when our friends invited us to join them at their Marriot Vacation Club Resort, I was in the midst of my Christmas season doldrums and the thought of doing something completely off the wall was very appealing. And the trip was basically free - the lodgings were free, as was our plane fare, since we used frequent flyer miles. So what's to lose, right?
I'm sure there are people who really enjoy the kind of atmosphere Las Vegas provides - constant entertainment, gambling, the opportunity to indulge all the senses in every possible way. Non-stop activity, drinking, food, shopping. Anything goes, anywhere, anytime.
I'm not one of those people. And even the unique architecture of the hotels/casinos couldn't make up for the sensory bombardment. There was something just a little evil about seeing all these people carelessly throwing money to the winds when back in my home state more than 10% of the population is unemployed.
Okay, I know that sounds prudish. But I've become a lot more sensitive to egregious spending of late, and the whole Vegas atmosphere was just too much "in your face" wastefulness. I don't have money to waste anymore, that's for sure, and if I did, I wouldn't be wasting it in Las Vegas.
So the whole trip left a bad taste in our mouths - literally and figuratively. My poor husband got terribly sick our last night there, and was so dehydrated the day we returned that I had to wheel him through the airport in a wheelchair, his Vitamin Water bottle attached like an IV to his hand.
Fast forward to today.
We woke up this morning to the sound of birds singing and the gentle shush of the fountain in the pond across the street. After coffee, we laced up our tennis shoes, pulled on sweatshirts, and set off for a walk around the lake. The sky was cloudless and purely blue, we met no one but friendly neighbors with their tail wagging dogs.
No, we're not in Michigan anymore, Toto...and although I've found myself complaining about the materialistic lifestyle of the southwest Floridian's, it's a far cry from the hedonistic atmopshere in Las Vegas.
In fact, comparing today's fresh air, green grass, swaying palm trees and foaming fountains with the congestion and choas of Las Vegas or the frigid, snow packed streets in Michigan, I'd have to say I'm in paradise.
I'm glad to have this opportunity to come to Florida right now, to sort of clear the Vegas dust from my brain. Being in a place where I was totally out of my element and unhappy gave me a new perspective on the places where I feel most comfortable, and reminded me of the atmosphere that best suits my emotional needs.
My therapist used to lead me through relaxation techniques which involved learning to put myself mentally in a place where I felt most tranquil and at peace. "Visualize your favorite place to be," she told me, her voice soothing and low pitched. I lay with eyes closed in the big reclining chair, imagining myself on the walkway into the World Showcase at Epcot (which was a place filled with happy memories at that time), the gentle Disney-esque music playing faintly in the background.
Finding your perfect spot in the world is no easy task, and sometimes the place differs from one stage of your life to the next. The words of one of my favorite American folk songs (Simple Gifts) come to mind - "and when you find yourself in the place that is right, you will be in the garden of love and delight."
I'm not sure my garden of love and delight is here in Naples, Florida - or even in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan. But I feel as if I'm a lot closer to finding it in these two places, different as they are, than I could ever be of finding it in Las Vegas, Nevada.
How about you? Have you found yourself in the place that is right? Or are you still looking?