Grow Where You’re Planted

I HATE living in Las Vegas. Out-of-towners picture life here as one long, glamorous night of Strip-induced debauchery. In reality, Las Vegas is a materialistic, soul-sucking, suburban bedsore on the ass of America (trust me, I’m not being dramatic).

My husband and I met here a decade ago during my freshman year of college. When you’re a 19-year-old coed traipsing around with a fake ID (not that I had one, of course), you feel like you’ve entered the neon Garden of Eden. But when you’re 30, with your rose-colored glasses gathering dust beside your graduation tassel in some anonymous box, life here in Vegas is stark, borderline miserable.

A few years ago, after I made some snarky comment about this landfill of a city, my mother-in-law looked at me and said, “You have to grow where you’re planted.”

Undoubtedly, I smiled while mentally rolling my eyes and thinking what on earth does that even mean?

Despite my haughty dismissal, I never forgot her advice. The longer I’m here, the more I grasp her meaning.

You have to choose happiness.

It’s very possible my husband and I will reside in Vegas for decades to come. (That very statement terrifies me!) I can sow misery or joy. So, in the spirit of putting down roots and cultivating happiness:

My Ten Favorite Things about Las Vegas

  • Flowers blossom in February – While the rest of country remains shrouded in winter, we’re basking in the bloom of spring.


  • Mountains – Most tourists don’t see beyond the glittering casinos, but Las Vegas is surrounded by a breathtaking ring of mountains.
  • People Visit – Who wants to vacation in Podunk, USA? I see far more of my friends and family with the allure of The Strip compounding my own irresistible charm.
  • The Smith Center – For far too long this city languished a cultural black hole. Now, with The Smith Center opening March 12, I can attend a real Broadway show that has not been mangled to accommodate the fickle proclivities of The Strip.  
  • Rum Runner Packer-Backer Bar – Las Vegas has an awesome pool scene. This is the epicenter. (They also serve the best $3.99 burger in town).
  • Warm Summer Nights – I’m not going to lie, during the day the heat kills, but at night the warm air enfolds you in perfect comfort.
  • My Two Dearest Friends Live Less than a Day’s Drive Away – Those of you from the East might think I’m stretching with this one, but a 5-7 hour drive is nothing in the mind of a Westerner.
  • Restaurants – Las Vegas has—bar none—the best restaurants in the country (that includes you, NYC). You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
  • Quirky Attractions – We have some unique spectacles here like Area 51 and the Extraterrestrial Highway, the Nuclear Test Site, and the Erotic History Museum.


  • My Husband Loves it Here – Undoubtably, he has his own top-ten (sports-betting and poker being high on the list), but whatever his reasons, his happiness brings me joy, as well.



12 thoughts on “Grow Where You’re Planted

  1. “You have to grow where you’re planted”….I like that. Took me a couple years to feel that way about Milwaukee, but it is growing on me 🙂 (11 years since we moved here!)

    • 11 years! Wow! And you had it even harder – not only a different city but different country. I’m glad you’re liking it better. Wisconsin does have lots of pretty greenery (and great cheese!). It’s hard when you move from a place like Germany or Colorado, but there’s beauty to be found anywhere. I’m trying to keep my eyes (and mind) open.

  2. I’m so glad to read that that those words stuck with you. You never know what life will bring. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you will find yourself in situations that are not what you would have chosen for yourself. The best that anyone will ever be able to do will be to make the best of their present life. You can build towards a different life, but in the process of doing that, you will have a more wonderful life journey if you do choose happiness, as you said. It will never matter as much where you are as the attitude you adopt. Sometimes you have to struggle through things, but you will very likely find that it is those struggles that teach you with the greatest inspirations. The other part of that idea is that, by becoming part of the community, you can and will make a difference.

    I just think it is so great when words that someone says to you stay and find a way to help you. That has happened to me so often. Sometimes, they were nonsense when I first heard them, too, but they stayed and echoed back to me until I saw the power that the words had for me. When I finally accepted them, they became part of my mantra of living. I appreciate that the people who moved in and out of my life were able to give me enough of those to supply me with what I needed to keep going. I am so glad that that is happening for you, too. Sending love.

    • You are so right! It’s the that journey matters and our attitude shapes that journey! It is funny (and serendipitous) how certain words just stick with us. There’s a lot you’ve said to me over the years that I’ve tucked away. You never know when you might need a little inspiration, or when something that previously seemed irrelevant will suddenly move and inspire you. Thank you for all your wisdom.

    • The problem is I want an 19th century Victorian with crown molding, pocket doors, and original hardwood floors. But Vegas was nothing more than a Mormon fort in 19th century. I guess that could be a whole other blog post: Managing Your Expectations. 🙂

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