So much can happen in just one year. This time last year, I was eagerly awaiting the return of my boyfriend from his deployment in Afghanistan. He was due home on Halloween. I also had no idea what I was doing with my life. There’s some definite backstory there that I don’t want to get into right now, because this post wasn’t meant to be that. Just know that it all turned out for the best, and that (here comes a cliche), true love will always find a way.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I live in St. Louis. But let’s get something straight… St. Louis was not my first choice. I finished my undergrad degree in Kansas City, and I love that town. It will probably always feel more like home than anywhere else I live. If the chance to move back ever came my way, I would pack my stuff and be gone.
Don’t get me wrong, St. Louis is a great city. It has more to offer than Kansas City in the way of free attractions, but it’s kind of a dirty town. And I’m sure you already know about the crime. Maybe Kansas City has sentimental value as well, as I matured and grew a lot during my time living there.
I moved to St. Louis to be with my boyfriend. Most of his family is here and I didn’t mind where we lived as long as we could be together in a city. Neither of us had ever lived in St. Louis before, so we have spent a lot of time exploring, trying to find fun places to hang out. We typically enjoy walking around with Motley and eating. :) That being said, my five go-to places focus on food, relaxation, and dog-friendly parks.
Here are five places I recommend you go to if you ever come to town.
In St. Louis, we’re fortunate to have an authentic Italian district called the Hill. The Hill is home to all kinds of great Italian restaurants, but my favorite is Guido’s. It’s a casual dining experience, so you never feel like you’re underdressed, and the people are great. I swear, there’s something in the sauce. Try the lasagne; it’s my favorite!
Ted Drewes is a St. Louis staple. Don’t let the massive crowds and lack of parking scare you away! You cannot come to St. Louis and NOT have Ted Drewes frozen custard. While I am not a big concrete/ice cream fan, Mike loves it, and we happen to live a couple miles away. They make the best concretes and have 4 different sizes, priced right. All of their flavors and mixes are good. You won’t be disappointed, but expect to wait at least 15-30 minutes during the summer, crammed between kids and adults alike.
The Hi-Pointe Theatre is the oldest working single screen theatre in St. Louis. It was established in 1922 and it still looks similar to the way it did when it opened. Mike and I discovered this gem when trying to find a cheaper place to see a movie. It’s priced much lower than bigger theatres and the experience is nothing like you’ve seen before. It still smells old.
One of the most popular neighborhoods in St. Louis, Soulard is a great place to walk your dog and grab a bite to eat at a local cafe or coffee shop. Mike and I walk it every now and then, though we’ve yet to stop and eat. No matter, this part of town is historical and puts on the second best Mardi Gras celebration in the country.
5. Benton Park
Benton Park is such a quaint neighborhood. It reminds me a lot of Soulard, only not as popular and still being cleaned up. It was kind of a dumpy part for a while, but now they have an awesome park where they put on jazz and blues concerts, and there’s lots of little cafes. The homes are beautiful. Sometimes, Mike and I will wander the neighborhood daydreaming that we will someday be able to live in an area like that.
Well, that’s my five! Have you ever been to St. Louis? Where did you go and what did you see?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 24 years, it’s to let go of your past. For many of my most formative years (age 18-23), I allowed bitterness and hate to guide my way through life. I won’t get into gory details of what happened, but I did some things I’m not proud of, and had some wrong things done to me, causing me to despise certain people I had encountered along the way.
I have hurt people, and I have been hurt, and I allowed those feelings from my past to overshadow what was happening in my present. If you’ve been where I’ve been, you know that bitterness and malice can destroy a heart and your life. It’s exhausting when your past haunts you every day. It makes life impossible to enjoy. I allowed it to paralyze me, impacting every decision I made, from the clothes I chose to wear to the colleges I chose to attend to the people I chose to spend time with.
It is not worth it.
Allowing past events or people that have hurt you in some way to guide your future is a dangerous road. You will never be good enough. You will never feel fulfilled. Nothing you do will change what happened. One thing you can do is change. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Let go. Holding on to past regrets is a poison.
I know it is not easy to let go. I harbored those emotions for years, and it took a new city, new job, new friends, and a new perspective to even touch the surface of what I had been harboring in my soul.
Even though I am not completely healed, I am far better than I was two years ago.
If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to let go of the past. It’s not worth ruining your future over.
I am sorry that I have not been present. My computer is still dead, and after trying several different solutions, I’ve narrowed it down to a bad battery. I ordered one today, so hopefully, I can be back into the swing of things soon.
On that note, I want to say, life has a way of teaching you lessons when you least expect it. I learn new lessons almost every day, but they seem small and insignificant when a hard lesson knocks you on your back. September has not been the month I meant for it to be. Priorities have changed. Everything has changed.
My dead computer seemed to be the beginning of unhappy things to come. I won’t go into detail about all that has happened so far, as I’m trying to be more positive (more on that later), but in hindsight, I’m seeing that God had a hand in every detail and works for the greater good (even if that greater good comes with tears and humility). Lessons I have learned this month have made me a stronger, smarter person, and I am thankful that God sends messages through encounters with people we never knew or thought to be significant.
I’m sorry if I ramble. This is more of a journal entry that I need to get out. In the month of September (and it’s only half over), God has humbled me three times. Twice have been direct encounters with older, wiser people. Once has been indirectly. Each one has changed my life in a significant way.
I am rarely wrong about things, and that kind of personal attribute can make you feel high and mighty. God despises the proud, so He has no problem knocking us down a few notches every now and then. Each of these humbling lessons have hit me with embarrassment and shock. It’s God’s way of saying, “You don’t have the power, so stop trying so hard to control every detail. You’re not as smart as you think you are.”
The point is… I have been weighed. I have been measured. I have been found wanting. And I have been humbled.
Therefore, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want this place to be. I want Rose Colored Water to be a place of uplifting thoughts, happiness, and love. I want my life to reflect those things as well. I struggle with this, but there’s no time like the present to start changing your life for the better. If I don’t change, I’m sure God will knock me down again, and I would rather avoid that.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you stop by again to see how things progress.
Money, money, money. I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with it. We love when we have it. We always want more of it. Yet we hate depending on it to make our worlds go round. I don’t think we try to depend on it for happiness. It just… happens sometimes. Being shackled by debt of any kind is frustrating. You can pretend it isn’t there for awhile, but eventually, it catches up to you.
I’ve been reading a lot of financial blogs lately, but I particularly love The Pursuit of Riches (no longer a blog). I just discovered it yesterday, and I’ve been hooked on reading her daily account of living in New York City while trying to pay off the massive debt she accumulated throughout her twenties. She’s an excellent storyteller. I feel like I’m reading a novel as she discusses the life changes she has made in attempts to spend less, save more, and live a sound, financial life. I definitely recommend checking it out (start from the beginning for a clear picture).
Anyways, her blog got me thinking about how sometimes, I wish I was still financially single. I love my boyfriend with everything, and there are serious financial benefits to being in a relationship, but there are some awesome financial perks to being single too. If you are still single, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, thinking two incomes are always better than one. I can tell you firsthand, managing finances as a couple is not always easy.
Here are some of the perks of financial singledom:
1. Food is cheap (especially if you cook).
Have you ever tried feeding a man? Have you seen how much they eat? Most guys eat like bears. When I was single, I could eat a bowl of cereal or make a green smoothie and be set for the night. I rarely spent more than $30 a week on food. Now that I have to feed Mike, we spend anywhere from $75 to $100 a week on groceries.
2. The debt you carry is yours alone.
When you’re on your own, it can be tough to pay the bills, especially if you have credit card debt and student loans. At the same time, take comfort knowing that you are in control of your money and how much debt you have. You aren’t shackled by a second person’s debt.
3. You call the shots.
When you’re alone, you make all the decisions. No other person can affect that. You can take advice from wiser people, but you are in charge of what happens. You don’t have to factor in someone else’s money or ideas.
4. You don’t have to entertain someone else.
This isn’t the same for everyone, but I am easy to entertain. I like to stay at home and read, paint, or put puzzles together. Those are cheap thrills! If I do decide to do something, it usually involves hanging with family or exploring the city with my dog. More cheap thrills – the perks of being an introvert. My boyfriend is an extrovert. He is on the move all the time, wanting to spend money going out to eat or to the movies, etc. That adds up quickly.
So what do you think? What other perks are there? Do you wish you were still financially single?