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Beyond the Filters

6 Oct , 2014,
Heidi Kumm

When the majority of your life is spent online it is EXTREMELY easy to topple over the event horizon and spiral down the black hole of “their life is SO much cooler than mine, why do I suck so much?!”. Trust me, I know this. I spend an insane amount of time online and since Twitter is literally my job I cannot just shut off the computer and walk away. I am required to pay attention to everyone else’s adventures + accomplishments + awesome lives. It’s inspirational, it’s motivating and it’s full of gorgeous pictures.

It is also extremely easy to hate on my own life because it isn’t one gigantic snow capped mountain surrounded by farting unicorns and the perfectly composed photo. On the weekends I can turn this off. I can walk away from Instagram, from Twitter, from Feedly…and just get lost in my own little mountain bubble where the mountains majestic and the weather is perfect and everything feels right.

But then Monday morning rolls around…and I get to spend hours scrolling through feeds filled with stories everyone else’s fantastic weekend full of perfect adventures and laughable mishaps. It’s so easy to let yourself tip toe over that tiny gray line that takes you from “ooh, that looks incredible, someday I’ll do that!” to “ugh, why did I even bother with my tiny recovery hike, what they did looks SO much cooler!”. It’s a sad, scary place to be. At the moment your jealous is hiding it but deep down you know you’re adventure was just a great…because every moment you get to go outside and explore is a moment worth living.

So, how do you avoid that black hole of self doubt?! You put life into perspective. You pay attention to what’s going on around you, in real life…not behind the filters of Instagram or the vague tweets on Twitter. You forget about what the internet cares about and you live.

On your drive up Lefthand Canyon on a mission to get some fall weather running footage/photos for the internet you notice the family enjoying their time together in the very river that ripped their lives apart last year [an area that was heavily damaged in the 2013 Colorado floods]. You pick up on how they are finding a way to be happy and make the most of life, even if their garage is literally a pile of sticks behind them.

You take the time to chat with someone at a trailhead and offer up the water you have in the car when you realize they were seriously banking on the “seasonal closure” of this trailhead’s water access to come a week later. Rather than be jealous of the incredible mountain biking photos they will have to post online you can give them mad respect for taking on their longest ride ever along trails you’ve only run in short segments.

When chatting up a friend about the less exciting parts of training for an ultra [such as nutrition and balancing life + running and all that jazz] you learn that their running has been a whole lot more than the smiley emoticons that show up on Instagram. This leads to a long conversation with almost nothing off limits and you walk away with a new found respect for every single one of their goals, their failures and their successes!

This is when the reality check of “oh, right…everything posted online is filtered!” slaps you in the face. And it’s not just the Valencia filter on Instagram we’re talking about here. People are posting about the exciting parts of their lives. They are sharing only the version of themselves they want the internet to see…only the parts that are worthy of double taps and RT’s and comments. Because that is what the internet is all about. That’s why we love the internet, and it’s also why we sometimes hate ourselves far more than we ever should.

With this realization you can go back to being proud of the reality that is your life, back to being happy about the adventures you managed to fit into your busy life schedule, back to being satisfied with the accomplishments you have pulled off against all odds. This is the moment when your leap away from the self doubt side of that tiny gray line and firmly plant yourself on the motivational side. This is when the internet and all of its social platforms goes back to being a never ending stream of inspiration, encouragement and excuses to get your butt outside to make your own story to share! Don’t let all of the filters make you forget about this moment…


  1. Beth October 6, 2014 at 11:37 am Reply

    It’s so hard when you stop and look back at your OWN life and realize all the places you filtered things, not only for the internet but for yourself. Sorting through the why of those filters can be such a serious growing process sometimes! It never ever hurts to remember how real those filters are.

    • Heidi Nicole October 6, 2014 at 11:46 am Reply

      Yup. Those filters go so far past IG or Twitter or a blog…and then when they are all gone you realize that you spent so much time living what you’d hoped was the perfect life that you forgot to take care of the important moments, the little things, the uncomfortable stuff. By then it’s all “hindsight is 20/20” and accepting life as it is, but man, sometimes that seriously sucks! #hugsallaround

  2. Natalie @ Free Range Human October 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm Reply

    Oh, such truth, my friend. Since my life is not currently taking place WHERE I wish it was (although I have very little to complain about), it is super easy for me to get hit with those Monday morning blues when I see all my Colorado friends talking about their playtime in the mountains. It’s a feeling I know well.

    So there’s some perspective for you-YOU are one of the people I’m jealous of 😉

    • Heidi Nicole October 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm Reply

      Yes, Monday’s are brutal when it comes to adventure jealousy!

      And I’ll tell you over and over — I’m only showing you the pretty pictures! But that’s not because I’m ashamed of the rest of my life, it’s because no one cares that I just got my closet fixed and in turn unpacked for the first time since I moved 2 months ago…and no one cares that I spent an entire day watching Netflix with a cat sleeping on my chest.

      Life has it’s boring moments, but that’s not exciting, so why share?! A legitimate reasoning, IMHO!

      • Jena October 7, 2014 at 8:50 am Reply

        An entire day of netflix is not boring - That’s real life; but that’s okay if you don’t share that. That isn’t really the essence of your blog. But, if you wanted to write about that, IMO, that’s okay too. We all have down time, times when we feel like shit, and don’t move off the couch for the entire day. Although, those days are gone with an infant.

        I LOVE your blog to pieces because I can “experience” the parts of your life that you choose to share.

        Boredom is one of the main reasons I rarely write anymore. My blog is largely a “life” blog, and no one wants to read about how many poopy diapers I changed today, or how long I had to fight with Paisley before she would go down for a nap. So while I do try to keep it real on my blog, somethings are just to real & boring to write about.

        Keep on Keepin’ on, you rock!

        • Heidi Nicole October 7, 2014 at 11:29 am Reply

          That’s true — I really enjoyed my entire day of Netflix, tyvm!

          It’s a lot harder to write when you don’t have those big stories to share — although you do an incredible job of writing about real life in a way I can relate. I think it’s because you keep all that sugar coated BS out of it. You give out reality of being a mom, a runner and a legitimate person who isn’t perfect. I love that. I think you’d be able to pull off a hilarious post about diaper changes or some parody on wrangling/bribing Paisley to sleep! You give me hope for real life moms as opposed to “internet filtered” moms!

  3. Steena October 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm Reply

    I appreciate this post! I do! Often I find myself unfriended/unfollowed for NOT filtering myself. I tweet about the struggles too, apparently that’s just too much info for some people!Thanks for posting this!

    • Heidi Nicole October 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm Reply

      …and oddly enough it’s those struggles that make you relatable and real, imho! I mean, it’s why you’ll always be in my feeds!

  4. Chris October 7, 2014 at 10:22 pm Reply

    Whew, such great thoughts that I can totally relate to. Some people I think, “Wow, they must be able to explore 24/7″…..then I find out they work at their day job longer than I do. Some people’s photos are stunning. I also get disappointed when there’s a photo I’m really proud of that gets little engagement. It’s really silly. However, I think it’s so cool that we DO get to share what we find to be important with the world (for better or for worse). I’ve learned one thing from sharing on social: It’s so easy to make the outdoors beautiful, so I get out and start sharing 😉

  5. lynne @ lgsmash October 12, 2014 at 7:07 pm Reply

    i think it’a also about feeling content about what you’re doing always. knowing you’re doing exactly what you want and how you want given your circumstance can alleviate a lot of that. sure, it’d be nice to take fancy overseas trips or to have THE MOST EPIC ADVENTURE EVER! most weekends but that’s not the reality for most of us. we all have different circumstances and situations and just because you didn’t go out and ride your bike up a mountain pass or climb the most epic route ever doesn’t mean your life/day/weekend is not as awesome as anyone elses. Social media or not, do what you love and f*ck the rest. Be inspired but not belittled.

    • Heidi Nicole October 14, 2014 at 5:16 pm Reply


      And this is precisely why we are friends!

      You’re right though — go through life with confidence in what you’re doing and do things because they make you happy. Boom, you’re instantly happier with your decisions and the adventures you manage to pull off!

  6. High Five Friday - Fall Edition - Love Life Surf October 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm Reply

    […] Beyond the Filters. If you click and read one post from this list, read this one from Heidi. She nails it and captures the tenuous relationship between our online and off-line lives. […]

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