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Instagram vs. Reality

Social media is a tricky thing. We want to put our best self forward, but we forget that everyone around us is doing the same thing. In reality, our lives aren’t always as perfect as they might appear.

This is something I’ve thought about a lot lately (Emily posted about this the same day I wrote the post. We share a brain). When you scroll through your instagram feed of perfectly put-together meals, intense workouts, pinterest-worthy outfits, happy couples, gorgeous scenery, you’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle: reality.

I’m guilty of it. I post a lot of pictures on instagram. During the week, I’m posting pictures of gorgeous waterfront views from my apartment, of killer workouts at November Project, of happy “throwbacks” from college. On the weekends, I’m posting scenic bike rides, “cute” pictures with KBT, decadent desserts. But that is not always my reality.

while I have amazing views outside of my apartment, there are serious problems inside. The heat doesn’t work in our bedrooms during the winter, we have issues with bugs, and the internet doesn’t always work. I love where I live, but it’s far from perfect.

while most of the workouts with November Project are awesome, not every day is the “OMG BEST WORKOUT EVER” as my photos might suggest. I contemplate turning off my alarm and going back to bed most mornings. I’m still pretty quiet, and I really stick with a few of the core members I’ve become close with. I’m not as social as I appear.

my job is not all fun and games. It’s incredibly stressful at times and I’m not super close with my coworkers because it takes me such a long time to open up to new people. I make mistakes when launching campaigns (everyone does) and I always feel awful when I do. We have a lot of perks great perks like yoga and free food all the time, but we’re worked extremely hard at the end of quarters and months.

my collegiate swimming years were far from “the glory days.” I like to look back fondly on some memories, but I was not in a healthy place physically or mentally. I loved competing but I was having panic attacks before every race and during hard sets at practice. My life now is 10000000x better post-grad. I’m healthy and happy and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

boatlife isn’t as glamorous as it looks on camera. Yes, the photos are amazing. Yes, it was the time of my life. But I also had no hot water, I didn’t have a microwave or freezer, I couldn’t charge anything due to limited electricity, I watched TV on my iPhone because I had no wifi, and I had very few friends on the island which is why I clung to the dockboys. I wouldn’t change those 5 summers for the world and it will be hard not being there this year, but my mom constantly reminds me that it isn’t this magical place I made it out to be in my head.

I don’t have the same passion for biking that I do for running. The trail we’ve been on is beautiful. KBT is great at getting me used to a road bike. I only started getting into it because it’s something we can do together. I don’t know how to use half the gears, I’m afraid to get clip-in pedals because I know I’m going to fall off, and I feel like I’m starting over with a new sport. Which is really uncomfortable when you’ve been playing the same sports since you were 6 years old and haven’t really been at “the bottom” in a long time. Bottom line: I’m not becoming a triathlete anytime soon.

I don’t eat crazy desserts all the time. I eat something sweet daily (or several times a day), but I definitely don’t order dessert every time we go out for dinner. More often than not, my dessert is a few squares of dark chocolate, not a giant slice of cake or ice cream sundae as my instagram might suggest.

my relationship with my family isn’t perfect. I have a hard time living so far away, but it doesn’t mean we get along 100% of the time. My brother and I couldn’t have a civil conversation until I was in college. We’re much closer now but it wasn’t always like that and we still argue from time to time when I’m home.

being in a soon-to-be “long-distance” relationship is hard. My weekends seem so full because we’re constantly trying to pack as much in as we can to make the most of those 48 hours we do have together. We don’t talk every day- I don’t text just for the sake of texting and neither does he. The day after the above picture was taken, I had a complete breakdown because I’m terrified of the changes coming. Not knowing how different things will be was eating away at me. It could be way worse and we’ve acknowledged it; that doesn’t make the unknown any less scary though. So contrary to what pictures may suggest, it’s not always big smiles for me. More like 98.7% of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, my boat, my boyfriend, my friends, my apartment, and my job (pretty close to that order). I’m really happy with my life the way it is and there is very little I’d change about it. But nobody’s life is perfect and we have a tendency to compare our reality to someone else’s highlight reel. So next time you’re on social media, remember that you’re not seeing the whole truth. They’re putting forth their best self just like you (likely) are.

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