Vegas Grief

As y’all know, I get really emotional in the days leading up to and following a Vegas trip. I’m a big believer in being real, with Vegas but also with personal life and mental health. And I’ll be honest: I’m struggling right now.

As physics taught us, each action has an equal and opposite reaction. Just as a good night is followed by a hangover, the excitement, elation, and optimism in the days leading up to a Vegas trip inevitably are paralleled by a sense of letdown, longing, and sadness as the reality of daily life sets back in post-Paradise. I struggle with the conflict between these intense emotions. To an outsider, it may seem that I didn’t enjoy my trip, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not that it wasn’t fun, but that it was TOO much fun; it’s painful to relive the carefree memories so soon, especially as I’m faced with a return to work, bills, and responsibility that I managed to escape for only a few fleeting and magnificent days.

To be honest, I normally don’t cope with the days after Vegas well. I withdraw from friends, and sulk for a good 3-4 days as I wallow in self-pity. I usually detach completely from Vegas Twitter, quit listening to Five Hundy By Midnight for at least a month, avoid photos from the trip, and generally try to repress the memory until it quits being painful. Then the memory kinda fades away; save for a few photos and drunken memories, it’s never recorded and is simply added to the bank of Vegas fondness.

I’ve often called this feeling the Vegas Hangover or Post Vegas Depression, but I’ve realized that it’s more a sense of Vegas Grief. The intense, and often contradictory emotions you feel after a Vegas trip are like grief in the sense that you can’t truly understand it unless you’ve felt it — and even then, it’s different for everyone and it doesn’t always make sense. But recognizing that this is why I feel the way I do is liberating.

As I reflect on my trip, as well as my post-Vegas fugue state, I realize that I’m not only grieving the loss of the actual trip, but also of my hopes for the trip; the dream of hitting a Royal, the potential of finding another favorite place, the chance to meet a new friend, the thought that a wild story lurks around any corner, momentary escape from reality, and the overall sense of sense of opportunity and possibility that only Las Vegas can provide — and that this trip, and in a sense no trip, can fully fulfill.

Turning inward, I’m painfully reminded how idealistic I am, and how quickly that same optimism and passion that can be so contagious and exciting to others can leave me feeling empty when the wind is taken from my sails.

I feel a sense of regret at the missed opportunities to make all of my Vegas dreams become reality. While some of them were unlikely (can’t win the Megabucks if you don’t play), some of them seemed far more attainable. I can’t help but second guess some of my decisions and wonder what could’ve went better had I acted differently. As a perfectionist, how can I not ask myself what could have made it a more perfect trip?

I also feel a sense of guilt; I do my best to bring followers along and help them live vicariously through my fun, so I can’t help but feel like I let you down losing steam with my gambling losses and coming home a loser.

I’m doing my best to power through these emotions this time. Not just for you, my adoring followers, but also for me. I owe it to myself and my mom to pick myself up, dust myself off, and give our trip the respect it deserves. (I also hope that this rambling will help me reconcile all of the intense emotion I feel from the trip so that I can fully embrace all of the fun that we had.)


Make no mistake. This trip had a lot of fun — which brings with it a lot of Vegas grief for what was (and wasn’t):

  • As I wait at McCarran, desperately hoping for a miracle with my final bets of the trip, I’m reminded that the trip is nearing its end and the initial optimism of the trip is over.
  • As I begin to sober up on the flight to COS, exhaustion sets in as my body finally recognizes the constant titration of alcohol is over.
  • As I call my mom to let her know I made it home safely, I feel so much further apart having been so close just a few days ago.
  • As I come home to my empty house, I long to hug my mom and feel her love fill each room as it did the night before we flew out together.
  • As I put away my near empty gambling wallet, I am painfully reminded of the sting of defeat and that feeling of relentlessly chasing a break-even and never hitting it.
  • As I walk into my home office the next day and see the deflated air mattress where my mom slept, I feel a similar sense of emptiness and deflation as I put it away, knowing she won’t be back for a while.
  • As I deposit my $200 back into my Vegas account, I grieve the sense of optimism and hope that — however slim the chances — this could’ve been the trip where I won big.
  • As I flip through my photos and see winning hands, I am frustrated with myself for my inability to stop at the right time… although I had no way of knowing that at the time.
  • And as I do all of this, I mourn the loss of all of the potential of this trip.


But there is also some good:

  • As I go to bed, I don’t have to chug water and desperately pray that I won’t wake up hungover.
  • As I wake up in the familiar comfort of my own bed, I am free of a hangover and well-rested after a sober and deep slumber.
  • As I return to my morning workouts and healthy eating, my body is nourished.
  • As I resume my Yoga practice, I once again find time for mindfulness, solitude, and quiet introspection.
  • As I look to my calendar, I’m reminded that I’ve got a trip to Vegas on the books for the 4th of July.
  • As I gently scrub my healing tattoo and apply ointment, I’m instantly transported back to Downtown Tattoo and the fun times with my mom and Drew.
  • As I unpack my suitcase, the memories of my rompers and the compliments I got come flooding back.
  • As I make a sports bet to take advantage of a +EV play, I realize that I’m still a degenerate.
  • As I return to work, which I dreaded so much, I am encouraged by the realization that 5% of my paycheck will replenish my bankroll and my mind begins to wander to where I’ll spend it…
  • And as I do all of this, the memories come rushing back, and I realize that it may have been the perfect trip after all.


And slowly, my eternal Vegas hope is rekindled for the next trip.


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