words for 2022 & what I learned from my first trip to Las Vegas


This has always been one of my favorite photos of myself, which probably doesn't make a ton of sense to most people from looking at it. It's objectively not a great view of me. My hair's a complete mess, my hair is the shortest it's ever been in recent history, you can't see my face at all, the background isn't really visible, and at any rate, not even appealing if it were visible. I'm wearing one of my favorite shirts, but you can't see that, either.


So why do I like it?


This photo was taken spontaneously on the side of the road near the Seven Magic Mountains desert art installation that's about an hour outside of Las Vegas. I had absolutely zero desire to stop there; I didn't even know it existed. This trip to Vegas was also planned approximately a week before we actually went ("we" meaning my two roommates at the time and still good friends, Christine and Courtney). Courtney decided that she wanted to see Seven Magic Mountains, Christine is always up for a good photo op, and so off we went, about 10 minutes off our straight-shot route from Los Angeles to Vegas.


When we got there, it was gale-force desert winds. Blowing people's skirts up, getting sand into all sorts of nooks and crannies that should be strictly anti-sand, and impossible to see anything unless you tied your hair back and wore sunglasses at the same time. My part was non-existent because my hair was whipped around it so much. As far as the actual #aesthetic of the place . . . it wasn't great. The "mountains" were painted rocks stacked on top of each other. And there were - BINGO! - seven of them. Despite the less than optimal conditions, tourists were milling about everywhere.


We snapped a few pictures and hopped back into the car on our way to poolside lounging and unlimited daiquiri refills.


Christine got this photo, and it was essentially everything that the detour was - windy, unfocused, a bit sandy-looking, with what anyone else would consider a fairly disappointing batch of photos. But we were laughing the entire time. It was all in the experience. We drove 10 minutes out of our way to go see something that turned out not being all that epic, but we had fun and made memories doing it.


I was thinking about this experience when I sat down about a month ago to think about my words for 2022. I know some people choose one, but I like to choose a few - I don't feel like everything I do in a year can really be summed up in one word. So, without further ado, my words for 2022:


Vision.

Consistency.

Vibrance.


Vision, because I want to walk purposefully this year with my eyes set on what I want my future to look like.


Consistency, because discipline has always been difficult for me and I want to be able to trust myself more than I trust fleeting bouts of motivation and inspiration. Those both wither.


Vibrance, because I want my life to be full of light and color and life. I want to add unexpected things to it and reduce things that feel dull.


The 7 Magic Mountains detour was an example of something that contributed to me living vibrantly. My vision to go to Vegas wasn't shaken, and the consistency of being friends with the girls I went on that trip with is still there to this day. But the trip would have been far less vibrant if I had been convinced that I needed to stay the course no matter what. We took tons of pictures in Vegas, and we had a bunch of fun. But this photo is still the one that stands out.


What are some of your words for 2022?