I, like many, approach a trip to Las Vegas as an opportunity.
I use it to practice being someone else.
There's a reason for the slogan "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Quite frankly, there aren't many things you can take away from a Vegas vacation and have it be a positive influence on your life.
Then again, most don't attend a get-together with bloggers.
There were two questions people asked me when I told them I was going to spend four days in Vegas. They're pretty standard. What will you be doing, and who are you going with? The first was easy. I don't know, but I'm sure I'll play poker. This year I also told them I was going to see Steel Panther. You'll hear about them a bit later.
The second is a little tougher, so I just told them they were other bloggers. That's a no-no in Vegas, but outside in the normal world I think it's OK. Pauly may disagree.
I stayed up late - or early, depending on your definition, as one day sunset crept into sunrise and I went to bed as the sky turned pink and Mandalay Bay glittered in the first light. Usually I'm getting up to face a girl (or two) bouncing like popcorn in her crib and a toddler who wants to wear his Wall-E underwear today.
I ate poorly.
I ignored my running after Friday, when I snuck in a cool jaunt with KuroKitty/Pokercat Friday morning.
I drank quite a bit more.
I didn't worry when I slept little.
Mostly, though, I let myself go.
I didn't worry about what angle someone might be working on me.
I didn't care what anyone thought of me.
I didn't fret about melting into a group of people I've only met one other time in person, and I allowed myself the space to fit comfortably inside.
I chilled the fuck out.
Many of these trip reports contain blow-by-blow accounts of their weekend. Those are fun to read because of the fractured nature of the gatherings. People you know splinter and find one of the millions of possible adventures these get-togethers offer, only to come back to together and share it with us.
But that's not what you'll find here. That's not who I am. Sometimes my adventures are on display, as my half marathons and trips up Colorado's highest peaks, when I believe others will benefit from that. Other times my journey is my own, shared with a select few, and that's enough.
The memories have already been thrown in the crock pot and are simmering. I'll pull them out when I need a smile, like when a two-outer hits, when a run hurts or when one of the kids is throwing an especially impressive fit.
Thursday night at the Geisha Bar with some of the people whose talents I respect about as much as anyone's, meals and poker with some of my favorite invisible Internet compatriots, my skilled (lucky) run to 6th place in the blogger tournament (when I cashed all my suckout chips for the year by hitting two-outers three times, including two times when I hit quads on the river) NFL Sunday, and, of course, Steel Panther with Blood and Dr. Chako and The Wife and Stb and Otis' brother, will stay in storage with me for a long time. If you have any space in your heart for hair metal at all -and Def Leppard sold 10 million copies of two albums so I know you do, even if you don't want to admit it - you have to see this band at the Green Valley Ranch. As a bonus, you can play poker at easily some of the most profitable tables I've ever enjoyed after the show.
Those memories are nice, but that's not all I want to take away from this trip.
As I've said before, I am a loner in many ways. I am a private person who is generally uncomfortable around people. I rarely trust anyone. I rarely let them beyond my barriers. I see little value in small talk. I prefer to take time getting things accomplished rather than spend it "chatting" with someone.
Resolutions are about improving yourself, and rarely do we stick with them. Some do stick though. I'm a runner now. A close friend finally kicked cigarettes last year. But, like anyone, I need to improve myself.
So now I have two New Year's Resolutions.
The first is to be more patient with my kids. They're my little ones, and they're supposed to try my patience every day. If they don't, they're not exploring or asserting themselves, and they will need both those traits all through their lives. I don't want to squelch them. I want them to thrive. I will try to let them thrive more often, even if it costs me another gray hair that day.
The second is the golden nugget I will take from this trip. I will try to let more people in.
I will talk to strangers. I will call my sources far more than I do. I will try to be more of a family member when we're at Kate's parents.
I will enjoy people's company.
This is easy to say now. I'm coming off a high I get few times in my life. When I can now say that I'm not going to say bloggers, I'm going to see friends, and not just a few.
I know I will not completely change because I don't want to completely change. I love the fact that I can spend hours by myself without the need to text or yahoo or IM or call someone on the phone. I did spend some time in my room during this trip, and it was wonderful.
I know I will also relapse. That's part of the process. I'll shutter people away. But rather than just accept it because "that's just who I am," I will fight against that, for maybe the first time in my life.
Because when I fight that urge, and I let myself be free among friends, good things happen.