Ten years ago, I visited Las Vegas for the second time. The first had been a few months before, when my mom and I drove out to visit my grandpa in the hospital after he had a heart attack while vacationing there.
But this time, it was December, and I was there for a swim meet. Instead of staying at a hotel on the Strip or downtown like many families on our team, my mom and I took our RV and stayed at Red Rock Canyon. It was beautiful there, but I remember wondering why people liked Vegas, and how anyone could ever live there. Nature was something I grew up appreciating; drinking, gambling, hotels and crowds weren’t.
Fast forward: five years ago, I decided to move to Chicago, a city my father wouldn’t stop referring to as “the murder capital of the world.” Even though I would be living in Evanston, a suburb far removed from the violence of Chicago’s South Side, they resisted my decision for a long time.
Enter present: I am moving to Las Vegas. I’m ditching the Golden State for the Silver State and I’m damn excited for it.
Why, you may ask? I’ll be working for four months (and hopefully longer!) at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the features department. Even though my end goal is to work in investigative journalism, the RJ has a wide audience in a city with a lot going on. This position will be the perfect way to hone my skills working in a well-established newsroom, and hopefully to learn a lot of new ones!
The past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions. Leaving college, I’d always planned to transition straight into a full-time job. I did everything I could to ensure this would happen; I interned to gain the right experience, talked to people in my field to obtain insight and advice and began applying for dozens of jobs months before I would graduate. I thought I had it all planned out, but God had a different plan.
When I graduated without a job in sight, I felt lost. On the last night of our drive home to California, I got into an argument with my dad and stormed out of the room sobbing. My mom found me outside and held me while I cried. At that moment, all the emotions of the past two months I’d been trying to shove away hit me. I had no job, so I felt like a failure. For my whole life, I’ve always felt I needed to be doing something worthwhile to justify my existence. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as I listened to the voice in my head that whispered, “You’re a waste.” As my mom held me, she told me that simply wasn’t true. God created me and made a plan for my life, and His reasons for not allowing me to have everything I wanted in my timing would be made clear.
Two months later, I can see this. It’s been a summer of learning. Learning how to live in the home I grew up hating. Learning to find peace and even joy in a place of chaos. Patience and trust have never come naturally to me, but I’ve learned to trust in God’s timing through this period in my life. Instead of moping around at home, I went to the beach, tried new workouts, traveled, deepened relationships with friends and worked to find balance. I long ago learned that you can’t always control the situation you find yourself in, but you can control your emotions and reaction toward it. I started off this summer in bitterness toward God and my situation, but I’m ending it in joy, peace and contentment. It’s been better than I could have imagined, and now I’m ready to move on.
I prayed a lot about this position. I asked God to make it clear that this is where he wanted me, and He has. From a safe place to live with a wonderful family, to a great gym to work out in, it’s all fallen into place.
It feels like I’ve been hanging in limbo forever, waiting to start a new chapter of my life. Stay tuned folks; the chapter is about to begin.