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“and I don’t even know you yet.”

Last night, I sat down to write “A Letter to My 2020 Self.” This was my final goal of January, and I officially completed every goal I set for myself for the month. I thought about sharing this letter in a blog, but it ended up affecting me so deeply and personally that I’d rather just stick it away in a folder of my computer for a snowy January day next year.

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However, I will share the sentence I wrote to close the letter:

I love you, Alexandra Grace of 2020, and I don’t even know you yet.

And that’s when it hit me.

I didn’t even know this version of myself one year ago. Looking back, I think the ‘love’ I had for myself was nearly completely defined by how others perceived me, loved me, viewed me, enjoyed being around me, or other standards. For much of that time and the months that followed, I was happy but simply going through a lot of the motions of life. In the pit of my stomach, I still felt not good enough. I felt like nothing I did was amounting to anything, a restless stream of busyness and lack of accomplishment. I had severe burnout and experienced intense heartbreak. I was in an extremely dark place, and I fought tooth and nail and crawled out of that dark place inch by inch by inch. That army crawl toughened me up like a soldier heading into battle to fight for my life and the version of myself I wanted to be.

Today, I can honestly say I love who I am becoming. I still struggle as much as the next person. I procrastinate. I’m always late. I find it hard to socialize, yet I hate being alone. I feel my emotions perhaps too deeply. I overcommit and fail at tasks. I even did my fair share of crying as I wrote a letter to myself… prophesying and praying that when I look back on this year I’m overwhelmed with pride and joy. Despite my struggles and everyday downfalls, I have worked really hard to get where I am. I’m nowhere near the top of the mountain, but damn the view gets better the further I go. There is no quick fix, no diet, no podcast, no workout, no face mask, no self-help novel that will give you all the answers. My answers for how I’m striving for better will not match yours. That’s okay. We’re all different. Find what makes you feel more alive, like a breath of fresh air has been breathed into you. As for me, I’m living life for me by saying goodbye to things that no longer serve me, devoting time to develop healthy habits, and listening to a whole lot of worship music…. and I guess I’m writing letters to myself, too.

If how I’ve felt lately is a trajectory path for the upcoming year, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I don’t know my 2020 self, but so far my 2019 self is the best version of myself that I’ve been in a long time.

I encourage you to write a letter to yourself. Maybe it’s just for next week, maybe it’s for a certain month, maybe it’s a year or 5. Write to yourself. Proclaim your hopes and dreams for yourself. For me, it was a written prayer and vision board and journal entry all at once, and it was absolutely cathartic.

always,

Alex

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a beautiful morning

I’ve been struggling for awhile. I’ve felt like a fraud. I’ve felt like I was faking a smile through the day and crying in my car on the way home. (Well, that is what I did. Several times.) I’ve been sick. I’ve been wallowing in self-pity. I’ve been yelling at God. Let’s just say… it’s been rough.

But today… today was different. Today started with a beautiful morning.

Let me start by saying — nothing extraordinary happened today. There was no winning Powerball ticket, I didn’t get asked on a date, I didn’t ace an exam, I didn’t see any giraffes or pageant queens. Instead, my day was pretty normal.

I woke up to a really sweet direct message on Instagram. The sun was shining in my window. I got a great night of sleep. I heard a good podcast. I held a sweet baby. I listened to my favorite jesus jams on my way to school. I drank a smoothie with some fruits and veggies in it. I went to tap class and had a productive, sweaty session of tapping and learning (my dance class is always the highlight of my week), and then I had a couple more classes where honestly nothing could stand in my way. I was smiling ear to ear. The day rounded out with a nap, a workout, a group meeting, dreaming of visiting Boston next week, and a much needed girl chat session with girls who are like family (over Indian food, of course.)

I think that’s why I am writing this now. My day was totally, completely, normal.

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I think that today I realized that I’ve been letting situations that are out of my control and people whom I can’t control cloud the fact that I get to be the authority figure in my life. The decisions I make every day, even the small ones, impact how I feel for that entire day. Today, I took control. I took to positivity, and love, and sunshine, and tap dance, and girl talk. I accepted the blessings in my life. As one of my favorite podcasts (SHE Podcast by Jordan Lee Dooley) would say… today I was not a blessing blocker.

Today, I felt alive. I felt like myself. I felt like the sun was shining in my direction. I felt like God was answering many prayers. I laughed. I gave some hugs. And damn, did I smile. I’ve started doing the #mytruthiestlife challenge with a friend and a large group of accountability pals online. It’s a challenge started by Lisa of ‘The Well Necessities’ that encourages us to rediscover who we are and what we want out of our own life. So far, I’m loving it. Our challenge this week was to think about our values and select our top five from a list… and then make meaningful decisions this week that are fueled by our values.

I can already feel the challenge working, inspiring me to think about myself in a different way, and to make conscious decisions that benefit my mental health, my relationships, and my overall sense of self. Maybe this is why my eyes were opened to the beauty within my average Tuesday.

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I’m a pretty positive person. At least, I hope so. When I confided in my friend about feeling like a ‘fraud’ for still trying to encourage others while I was struggling in my own life and she simply responded… “Just because you cry doesn’t mean you’re fake. It means you’re real.”

So here I am… posting my feels on the interweb again.

Today, I’m going to bed with a smile. A real one. A true one. I am thankful that a friend encouraged me to do the #mytruthiestlife challenge, and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to accept my blessings and move past the outside obstacles that have blocked my path.

Maybe tomorrow will be your day… your beautiful morning that leads to a beautiful day, a part of your big beautiful life. Maybe you’ll cry in your car. Whatever you do, don’t forget just how blessed you are and that you and only you are completely in control of your own life.

always,

Alex

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when things aren’t easy

Yesterday, I may have failed my macroeconomics test.

At first you may read that and think, “Well, that sucks.” Let me put it in perspective for you: I have never before failed a test.  This year, I’ve had to adjust. Or maybe, I’ve been adjusting all along in hopes of making myself ready to combat this crazy world. I’m used to things being easy. I’m used to studying for a hot minute and acing an exam. I like easy. Easy is fun. Easy doesn’t frustrate me.

Before my economics exam, I had to give an impromptu speech in my public speaking class. My prompt: “If I ruled the world, the first thing I would do would be…”

My statement: “treat myself.”

I am stressed. I am busy, I am worn, I am frustrated, I am imperfect, I am unbalanced, I am exhausted.

I launched into 90-second speech about the importance of personal mental health and finding the time to refresh.

Following my speech, a perfectly lovely human in my class asked me something along the lines of “How do you find resilience?” Resilience – such a strong word, it almost caught me off-guard.

My mind was turning with economic terms, so I defined it the same way I would with the aggregate supply lines on a graph – long run and short run. Resilience is getting through the tough times in the short run and focusing on the long run. While I’m sick and exhausted and heading to my third meeting of the evening without returning to my room since 8:30 a.m., I have to remember that I LOVE my activities. I love raising money for Children’s Miracle Network, and finding ways to encourage students to purchase Love Your Melon gear for a great cause, and using dance to stomp out frustrations and make new friends. I love my majors. I know that all of these activities make me who I am and will continually shape me in my future. I am resilient because I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel of a bad day, a bad week, or a rough semester. I am resilient because I know I am loved beyond measure. I am resilient because I believe in myself and my capabilities.

Lately, I’ve felt disheartened when things don’t come easily. Grades, time for myself, the election, friendships and relationships, participation, excitement – they all come at a price. I must give in.

I must also give my all.

When things aren’t easy, you must work extra hard. When things aren’t easy, you must problem solve. When things aren’t easy, you must rely on the support and love and aid of others. When things aren’t easy, you must never give up.

So today, as if I ruled the world, I am treating myself. I’m going to spend my time with my mom, I’m going to paint, and I’m going to take a bubble bath.

But when it’s Monday, it’s back to the grind. 

always,

Alex

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kid in a candy store

IMG_6246“I want to look at life like a kid in a candy store.”

This is how I captioned my Instagram photo earlier today, (@alexfarbie),  following a visit to an adorable little shop called Goodies Handmade Candies in Spirit Lake, Iowa during a little midday adventure as I visit a friend.

There wasn’t any long thought process that went into this caption, it kind of just came to me…. but it really got me thinking! It’s crazy how something profound can come around in the simplest way.

Think of it: a kid in a candy store. Eyes wide, mouth open and watering, and eager anticipation of what is to come. Bright colored jelly beans, delicate chocolates.. each of these can act as a metaphor for opportunities waiting to be unwrapped and savored.

It’s a new year, and it is now time to re-open our eyes to the world and see the beauty and opportunity that surrounds us to devour every worldly candy that is offered to us in life.

I am slowly learning to overcome fear and anxiety and to consume adventure and the happiness that can come from new places and experiences. Today, we took a detour to a small town candy store and it sparked not only hunger but deep thoughts in my mind.

Each day I am shown the true beauty of my surroundings and given the opportunity to scoop up life’s colorful jellybeans by the handful and not to pick out the icky flavors but instead learn to fill my next handful with more of my favorites. Maybe it’s time to add a few nutty friends to your fudge. Maybe the sticky taffy is life telling you to shut up and listen for a little while. Maybe that one’s sour, but the next one is oh-so-sweet. Maybe it’s time to have a salad… or mix a few candy flavors and call it one.

So yes, I want to look at the world like a kid in a candy store. I want to see the positive, bright colors and new flavors that the world has to offer. I want to devour the opportunities. I want a sugar high on life. I want to buzz with excitement for each new day. I want a belly ache from laughter, and hope, and love. I want to be a kid in the candy store.

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“A bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. “You want to be careful with those,” Ron warned Harry. “When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor – you know, you get all the ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but then you can get spinach and liver and tripe. George reckons he had a booger-flavored one once.” 

Ron picked up a green bean, looked at it carefully, and bit into a corner. “Bleaaargh – see? Sprouts.”  – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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“My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” – Forrest Gump

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“I want candy.” – Aaron Carter