Life is Not Full of Rainbows and Unicorns

Rainbows and Unicorns

Rainbows and Unicorns

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A while back I wrote a post called ‘Mostly the Miles are Just Boring’, in which I noted that while I see lots of blogs that detail daily runs to some extent, that would never be something I would do. Recently I have talked about running more due to the cold weather, but once we get back to comfortable temperatures that will die off as well.

The reason I gave was that while ‘special’ runs are worth discussing, mostly the miles are just boring. I mean … really, who CARES if I tweaked my last loop to get 7.25 rather than 6.75 miles on my morning run in 30F weather. Sorry … did I doze off for just a minute?

But as I was reminded in a comment recently on my ‘Retouching Video’ post, where Laura from Fit, Fresh an Funny said:

it’s also important to remember that a lot of blogging is unreal anymore. So many bloggers only InstaGram their healthy meals, blog about their good runs, talk about their perfect days. I just have to keep my perspective on what works for me and stop the comparisons that are so easy to make. Comparing does nobody any good and it’s always apples to oranges.

Exactly.

So while I am very happy with my life, in case anyone was under the false illusion that I lived in the land of rainbows and unicorns … let me disabuse you of that notion. I’ll knock through them one at a time.

Running

I am writing this on a day where it was -9 when I went running with a -20F wind chill. Which made that the SECOND -20F day in a row, and the THIRD sub-zero day of the week (i.e. 3-for-3). It is also the 16th sub-zero day I have run in January, which has also seen temperatures approach 60F one day. That really isn’t fun – in fact, it sucks.

Running more than 3000 miles last year means doing loads of laundry, tearing through shoes ($), scheduling time, eating to keep properly fueled ($ again), dealing with all of those gross Gu-type things, and on and on.

As I finish this up, I went for my run this morning and it was -6 … but I was thoroughly annoyed because according to the forecast it was SUPPOSED to be about 15F, but it stayed clear and the temperature plummeted one last time. I was really pissed off, and even though I was cold I ran the full ‘celebratory’ 7.5 miles I had planned. The only upside is that my bad mood quickly dissipated as I sat for coffee with Lisa before work.

Eating

I have openly discussed my obesity, my weight loss, my disordered thinking and more. I have shared a few recipes, and my explorations of trying to eat a more healthy, plant-based diet. I have alluded to the difficulties due to the difficulties due to tastes and sensitivities, and because Lisa in particular has a large amount of allergies and sensitivities. I will be dealing with that particular issue in a separate post soon.

On a regular basis I have people talk to me about food and weight loss and all sorts of things. I am held up as a great role model because I am thin and fit and really healthy with a decent amount of knowledge about food and nutrition.

But I think about food …

ALL
THE
TIME

In fact, as I am typing I have just assessed how much I have eaten today compared to my morning run and am having an apple just to add a few extra calories even though I am not very hungry.

I do NOT have a healthy relationship with food, regardless of how well I can now put together a meal or how diligent I am about balancing my intake and output to properly fuel and try hard not to lose weight.

I have disordered thinking about food and I always will. And honestly, I have a strong opinion that it is like alcoholism, where you might be ‘reformed’, but you are never cured and it is something that is a lifelong journey and struggle. I mean, in my ‘in-between years’ post I talked about doing a decent job of keeping weight off for nearly 19 years … and yet in 2012 I weighed 275 pounds – the second heaviest of my life.

Marriage

I consider myself incredibly blessed and lucky. For nearly a quarter of a century Lisa has been the center of my universe … and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

But we are people, with kids as well as all of the normal stresses and pressures.

Here are some of the things we have had a fight of some type or other about: money, sex, having children, buying a car, how to spend a work bonus, having more children, using credit cards, buying a house, our jobs, who is cooking, technology, raising our children, shopping for groceries, stopping having children before Lisa died (which was what the doctor more or less said after #2), moving after my layoff, my parents, her parents, my brother, her sister, my sister, my friends, her friends, the woman (my friend) who stood in line at our wedding and pretty much said she couldn’t believe I was getting married (apparently I was more than one person’s ‘back-up plan’), pretty much every one of our nieces and nephews, computer games, TV, sleep, running, the gym, the kids’ friends, our neighbors at every house, trash, dogs, cats, food … and pretty much anything else you can think of.

Except about whether or not we loved each other.

Lisa gets annoyed at people at work who call her ‘June Cleaver’ because they see her having this perfect life – great marriage, nice house, great kids. Reality is much, much messier. We might have it good – but no rainbows, no unicorns.

Kids

I talk a lot about my boys, and I love them dearly. They are smart, funny, talented kids who will make the world a better place whatever they choose to do. BUT … they are teenagers.

There is plenty of great stuff I can and do say about my kids … but as teenagers they can often be moody (hormones), narcissistic, lazy, argumentative, moody, belligerent, demanding, moody, uncooperative and moody.

Again, great wonderful kids I would never want to replace – but no rainbows, no unicorns.

Extended Family

There is exactly one person who doesn’t live under the same roof as me who gets almost completely positive comments here on my blog – my brother. (I don’t bring nieces and nephews into it).

And there were a number of years where we really had very little to do with each other. I am really happy for the relationship we have built and the progress we’ve made over the last several years.

I read about people who have parents who are like their best friends (not!), and want to go on vacations all together. Um, yeah … no thanks. Or rather .. never again.

Sure as heck no rainbows or unicorns here!

Work

The old saying that they call it work because they have to pay you to do it is definitely true. I worked for 15 years at my last job, but by mid-2004 (11 years) I was more or less ‘done’ … and had already actively looked for a job at least twice already. Yet I festered for almost 4 more years …

And I currently work for a great company – Corning. There may be Gorillas, but no rainbows or unicorns. I really don’t want to talk specifics … but there are people involved in workplaces, and like any situation there are occasionally politics that happen. There are glorious days, totally sucky days … but mostly just ‘work days’.

So what AM I saying?

I am not here to complain about my life – because I know I have it REALLY good in so many ways.

Instead, I am here with a ‘reality check’. I am not perfect. My job isn’t perfect. My marriage isn’t perfect. My kids aren’t perfect. My LIFE isn’t perfect.

And guess what? Neither is anyone else’s.

So the next time you are reading a blog and thinking ‘wow, he/she has a PERFECT life’ … just stop. Because they don’t – no one does. We all do the best we can with what we have – but none of us is living a life full of rainbows and unicorns.

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17 thoughts on “Life is Not Full of Rainbows and Unicorns

  1. SO, so perfect! This is exactly what I mean-we get a lot of “my super sweet husband did this” or “I ran 10 miles at the fastest pace ever and it felt like a unicorn caressing the arches of my feet the whole time” but the reality is that as runners, there is SO much laundry, so many “don’t look at me!” moments as I run in and directly to the bathroom (either to hide and shower or to do those bathroom things running seems to dredge up), and so much agonizing over tiny things any non runner would rather grow a second head than think about. Marriage is awesome and everything I thought it would be-including the arguments about who spends more, who cooks too much and who doesn’t cook enough, and whose turn it is for dishes when we’re both tired.

    Disordered thinking is something I’ve been trying to find the right way to address-I have a lot to say on that topic but it’s going to take a mighty lengthy blog. I too have food on the brain pretty much every waking moment. Is there “room” in my calorie budget to have that scoop of ice cream? When is my next snack? It just goes on and on. But like I said, that’s a whole topic for a brave new day. I just want you to know I understand exactly how you feel.

    • Thanks again for the ‘poke’ in your earlier comment. I remember one early ‘running blog’ I followed the person was getting married and so were many of her friends / relatives. Everyone was ‘soul-mates’ and ‘perfect’ and so on … I look back to my early-mid 20s when lots of my friends & family got married … and now it is at ~ the typical 50% ‘still married’ rate. It made me cynical, but I hated that – but at the same time I realized it was the unreality of the ‘distortion field’ that was bugging me. Real life is messy, folks … 🙂

      ‘Disordered thinking’ is a new term to me, and I am about to turn 48 in a few months and only for the last year have I actually realized THAT is what I had. I would love to read what you have to say about it!

  2. Very true, great post. No one has the perfect life. We read a post or a FB status or see an Instagram picture and we see what our mind chooses to see, that’s not always a good thing.
    It’s easier to not compare yourself to others when you are satisfied with your life/body/relationship/etc (even while you know it’s not perfect), otherwise we have (I do) to make a mental effort to remove certain triggers from our lives.

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  4. I always feel both better and worse when I read about other people’s disordered thinking about food. On one hand, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. On the other hand, it’s depressing to learn what a common struggle it seems to be. In college, I lost over 70 lbs, largely by obsessing over food. Every morsel that went into my mouth was carefully tabulated (and this in the days before smart phone apps that made it easy). Every workout carefully marked down. I can see now, looking back, that my relationship with food was incredibly unhealthy.

    When I got pregnant, I basically said, “To hell with it!” and gained all the weight back and then some. Two kids and seven years later and I’m still struggling to get it off. I keep trying to find some sort of happy medium, a non-obsessive method of getting and keeping the weight off, but I just don’t know that there is. The thought of having to track every morsel for the rest of my life depresses the hell out of me, but when you look at people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off, it seems to nearly always come down to obsession. Which….is sorta depressing.

    It seems like it comes down to two equally crappy choices:
    1) I can either be depressed because I’m fat; or
    2) I can be depressed because, even though I’m thin, I have to obsess over food.

    • Thanks for sharing Amanda! After our boys were born my wife struggled to lose, and eventually gave up … and then about 10 years ago got on weight watchers with a couple of friends, and it was absolutely perfect for her. Like you say, it required an almost obsessive focus, but it worked, and it had a positive impact on all of our eating habits. But it isn’t easy, and what works for one person doesn’t work for others (journaling is not something for me) and so on.

  5. Great post. NO ONE’s life is perfect. This is one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. While I love my life, there are some things that are just “thorns” that I have to deal with. I have some extended-but-not-too-extended family drama that I don’t really discuss on the blog, but in my personal life I always used to be so MORTIFIED if anyone “found out my secrets” because I thought I should have a perfect family. Now, I’m much more open to discussing things like that (in person, not on the blog, mostly because the drama doesn’t have to do with me so I don’t feel that it’s my place to talk about it in a very public forum). Anyway, although I’m sorry you have to deal with your own “thorns,” it’s always so helpful when bloggers do posts like this to reveal that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns!

    • Thanks – it is weird writing this post … perhaps even weird that I blog in general, because I am a very private person in general. And I think growing up with plenty of stuff and without things you can identify as ‘bad’, you think everything should therefore be good – and that you have nothing to complain about. Wasn’t that something you wrote about – about how you felt guilty feeling bad because there is always someone worse off? That is a self-censoring tendency that most of us have, that limits our ability to reach out for help when we need it.

  6. I’m going to paraphrase the quote but “comparison is the enemy of happiness.” Something like that!! Man if I compared various aspects of my life (running, eating, finances, relationship, job), I should just stick a gun to my head. I know that sounds harsh, but really! I could write about this subject all day but I need to wrap things up so I can head down to the expo to pick up my running packet! I love people who express their imperfectness BTW. It makes them so much more interesting!

    • That quote “comparison is the enemy of happiness” is so very true – it is a destructive tendency, because there is always someone worse off and someoen better off. And if we use those things to limit our ability to actually FEEL and live, that only hurts ourselves.

  7. Great post.

    I used to cover medicine as a reporter and never forget what a dr. once said at a conference about this — we compare our insides (messy, scared, confused) with people’s external presentations (shiny, scrubbed, happy.) And that was decades before social media could make us all feel inferior, fat and broke!

    I need to lose a lot of weight (30 lbs for sure; 60 wld be ideal) but I know I do not have the discipline to never drink alcohol or eschew all sweets for six months (or forever.) Nor do I have 2+ hrs a day to burn off all those “empty” (full of pleasure, actually!) calories. The fact is that eating “healthy” is virtuous and will drop a lot of weight. I cannot get excited about yet another bowl of vegetables or another hour on the treadmill. BORING! Sorry. So it’s a very real challenge…

    • “we compare our insides with people’s external presentations”

      I love that quote – and it is so true! And it is very true in the blog world as well – so many posts that would have you think that the person is absolutely perfect, has the perfect life and perfect relationships … but you KNOW that like anyone else there are struggles galore. Well, as we get older we realize it more and more, so for younger people it can be very difficult as they are sorting through reality vs. fantasy.

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