Last week I spent three days in Las Vegas at a conference.
Las Vegas is a monument to human excess. Everything there feels oversized and artificial.
When we are in Vegas we dive face first into the path of excess. We see close up that there is always something bigger or better to be obtained or consumed. Why be content with a three carat diamond when the next store has a five carat one? If you have tried the $500 bottle of wine, you simply must try the $1000 one.
There is good in this. Most of the time, we live a life of ever-increasing wants and needs. We want a better education, or job, or house or car. But that path unfolds slowly, and it takes us much longer to learn that our most authentic satisfactions are in the doing and being rather than the getting.
In Vegas, the futility of the "if only" path slaps us in the face. It is so obvious that there is always something "better," and that if we live our lives thinking that the next thing will be the one that finally satisfies us, we are foolish indeed.
I used to frown on going to Vegas, but I sincerely enjoyed myself this time. I found myself enjoying Vegas because of the excess, because it is so over the top.
And I enjoyed coming home, too.