it was one year ago today.

One year ago today, I loaded my cat Dino and a few belongings into my Chevy Equinox, kissed my mother goodbye, hopped in the car and began a three-day, 2,087-mile excursion to my new job, new home, new city, new everything.

How time flies, really.

Timestamp: Jan. 11, 2014, South Bend, Indiana. Pulling out of the driveway and hitting the road for Vegas.

Timestamp: Jan. 11, 2014, South Bend, Indiana. Pulling out of the driveway and hitting the road for Vegas.


A Year Ago
Gas was $3.45 per gallon on the day I drove out of South Bend and out of Indiana for the final time. While the price of gas has changed pretty dramatically, a lot of things have finally settled down and remained constant: same job, same home, same car, same Dino. Given the peaks and valleys of the previous 18 months, steady and predictable is nice.

The saddest difference from a year ago is my grandmother died not too long after I moved to Vegas. She was 89 years old and still sharp as a tack. I saw her last Christmas for the last time and spoke to her about a day before she died. That’s when she told me to stay home, if you can wrap your head around that for a moment.

Another big change that affects me tangentially is my mother moved back to our hometown of Bay City, Michigan. After about 27 years of living in South Bend, she decided it was time to move back, and it’s been one of the best things she’s ever done. She and my dad moved to South Bend in 1987.

Adventures in Driving
I also drive considerably fewer miles than I did when I lived in Indiana. How considerable? I had my car for two years and two months when I left for Vegas last January. My odometer read 40,474. If you start the count from the day I arrived in Vegas, I’ve driven 10,486 miles. That’s an average of about 874 miles per month. In the 26 months I lived in Indiana I averaged 1,557 miles per month…wow!

That makes sense, though. I was on the road between South Bend and Indianapolis a lot. I also drove to Michigan a few times (including up to the UP). But even without that, it seems I do less local driving in Vegas. Truth be told, it’s not a very big city. Sure, lots of people live here, but it’s spread out into lots of ‘burbs. And I don’t need to be in too many other places other than my ‘hood.

Moving in. Dino was no help at all.

Moving in. Dino was no help at all.

My Report Card
So how would I rate my first, full year of living in Las Vegas? A moderate success: C+. And I can explain how I arrived at that grade. When you relocate, you spend the first few weeks and months just trying not to get lost. You’re trying to settle into a new routine for work and home. And somewhere in the middle of all that, you want to socialize and have a bit of fun. Given that I was also coming off a year and a half of one of my lowest points ever, I was also just looking to level off and stabilize.

Seeing Queen at the Hard Rock this year was, easily, the highlight of 2014.

Seeing Queen at the Hard Rock this year was, easily, the highlight of 2014.

I think I got the work/home thing pretty well dialed in. I had that dialed in pretty early on, actually. Between family and friends visiting, I’ve had ample opportunities to hang out and goof off on The Strip, which is nice. I’ve gotten out to a couple fun shows (Bill Maher, Queen + Adam Lambert). So, yeah. I’ve had fun. But I didn’t get “local” enough for my liking. I leveled off…and coasted. That’s why I wouldn’t grade myself higher than a C+.

In My Defense
After the tumult of half of 2012 and virtually all of 2013, I needed to string together a few weeks and months of calm and stable. You have no idea how gratifying it is to be able to come home on a Friday night, relax with something on HBO knowing you’ve got money in the bank, your bills are paid and you can sleep in, knowing you’ve got somewhere to be on Monday morning. But that day is done and it’s time to step it up again.

What’s Next?
It’s been a quiet, modest year (mostly by design), but it’s time to shake things up. I enjoy the pace of life I’ve carved out for myself. But that needs to change. Complacency is never a good place, if you ask me, so I intend to spend 2k15 matriculating the ball downfield. I was happy to level off and break even, if you will, for 2k14, but this year will be a year of truly changing things; a year when I check off some big-ticket items off the Bucket List (a term I normally hate, but I’ll go with it, for now).

What are those items? I’m afraid I won’t tell you that right now. You’ll know when you know.

Ready or not, 2k15, here I come.

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