Don’t Mistake My Highlights Reel for Real Life

I like to think that I post on social media quite authentically. If I have a shit run, I will generally share the what and the why quite honestly, but I have a tendency to try and find the silver lining or see the lesson and post that as well. Just as I will post how awesome a run was or what amazing things I saw. Thing is, this, social media, is not real life. It is a snapshot and I can colour it how I like. Whilst I shoot for honesty and authenticity, I don’t exactly want to whinge and whine and highlight all the bad things as well as the good.

As those who follow me on social media will know, our family has recently made the move across the ditch, to an amazing place on the south island of New Zealand. This is a dream come true for both my hubby and myself. If you were to just browse through my instagram you would probably think my life was filled with mountains and adventures, but these are a snapshot of maybe 40min, maybe 4hrs of my day or maybe even as short lived as a minute.

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The reality is dreams take work, lots of hard work. The last few months have been tough. They have been tough on everyone in our family in one way or another. Being a mum to three young people, adjusting to being uprooted to a new town, new schools, new country has been hard. My husband is also doing it tough, still living in Australia, working his job to help pay for this dream whilst spending every weekend getting our home ready in the hope of selling it. Not to mention finding a new job that I can do in school hours to help with all our costs. These are the things you don’t see behind the scenes. You don’t see the eldest child, constantly melting down because he is so far out of his comfort zone he just can’t cope, the middle child in tears because she misses her friends or the youngest child refusing to go to school because he doesn’t have any friends. But then again, I don’t share them because I don’t want people to think I’m ungrateful, I’m not. This was our choice and there is so much much that is great and amazing and better for our family here, but that doesn’t mean it is all easy, all sunshine and rainbows.

And then there are my goals and dreams for my running. There have been times over the last few weeks where my 40mins has been a saviour but there also times where it has been a huge stress. The fact that I am currently training for my first 100 miler is stressful enough. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love training, I revel in it in fact. I also take it seriously and want to do the training my coach sets me, justice. You see, it isn’t “just running” to me. I don’t know why, I really don’t get when it became so much more but it is important to me that I do my absolute best when I commit to these events and training blocks.

I think one of my running heroes, Sally MacRae said it best when she said “Some people say, “it’s JUST a race…or…that’s what YOU signed up for!”
But I don’t follow that line of thought- running is my masterpiece; a beautiful metaphor to life; and if I devote the majority of my time to becoming the best I can be at my craft, then I’ll never say, “it’s JUST running…or it’s JUST a race.”
It’s so much more- and I believe that’s why it stings so much when I fail.But it’s also what keeps me fired up, and coming back for more…because it’s so much more than “just running” to me- it will always be, and I’m proud of that.” in a recent Facebook post about her recent run at UTMB, you can read the full post here: Sally’s Facebook post.

I have doubts often. About my abilities, about my goals, about my speed, about whether I can finish this upcoming race, about whether I am the runner I think I can be.

It’s not only finding the time to train here that is stressful but the terrain and conditions as well. I am truly so far out of my comfort zone at times, that I am reduced to tears. On Instagram I shared this picture from a recent run to the top of one of the many amazing peaks here:

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On the descent from Little Criffel

Yeah. look at that view! Look how badass I am! But what you don’t see is me crouched on the trail talking to one of my kids advisors about getting them support. Or the hour of slogging through the snow, which should be awesome fun! Right? Except I had tears streaming down my face, stressing about what would happen if I hurt myself and my kids had to deal with that, me being the only person they have here in New Zealand and that I didn’t know what I was doing here and that yes, I was scared because its all so new and foreign to me. Then there are the emails back and forth to my coach about how to fit my actual training around looking after my kids and work. Or phone calls to my husband where I cry from sheer tiredness of being everything for everyone and trying to fit everything in. And then there is the guilt. The huge unadulterated guilt. Guilt for doing what brings me so much joy, while my kids struggle, while my husband spends weeks on end alone back in Australia, for expending energy that maybe I could pour into something for my family instead of for me. Yep, its not all smiles and pretty views.

I don’t regret our move, or how hard it is or the “stuff” we are all dealing with. I wouldn’t change our decision. Life is to be lived and making dreams happen takes time and sacrifice. But I also don’t want people to think that this is a fairytale life. Real life has ups and downs. There is so much good stuff.So, so, so much good stuff and it is in my nature to want to share that and not the harder, less happy things. But remember, what you see on social media is just the highlights reel, real life has a lot more substance to it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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