I started using Linux with Ubuntu 9.10. That was fine, and got better with 10.04 and 10.10.
Then the Canonical people decided to create their Unity thing. It was such a pile of crap, and still is. I hated it ever since it came out, in 11.04. Fortunately, with 11.04, you could choose to boot in GNOME 2. In fact, you could remove Unity entirely, without buggering your system completely (since 12.04 you can't, any attempt to remove Unity buggers up everything and leaves you with an unbootable system).
Then 12.04 came out, and with it you could only use Unity. You could install GNOME 3 on top, but it was not super stable, partly because the Ubuntu repo were not up to date (you had to use some PPA). At that point GNOME 3 was a bit weird. It was certainly better than Unity, but it wasn't yet my dream DE. So I had to live with Unity bloatware that I couldn't uninstall (or break the system), and use GNOME 3.
Clearly that was not satisfying, so I decided to look for alternatives. I played with Fedora, and hated it, mainly because of SE Linux, the ton of bloatware do-nothing-useful processes consuming RAM and CPU in the background to do nothing, and the fundamentally broken package management system and their horribly slow and unusable software installer. Not to mention the stability problems, often resulting in leaving you with an unbootable system after an update.
So I had to go back to Ubuntu (for the package mgt system and repository mainly, as well as stability). But I really couldn't get used to Unity. So I played with Lubuntu. I liked it, and still do. But their default apps are rather Spartan. And it was still not super stable at the time. Anyway, it was fine. Not my dream OS, but the closest thing there was to it.
Then I saw that, finally, people had reacted to Canonical's heresy of forcing Unity upon their users instead of migrating naturally from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3. Ubuntu GNOME was there and started to be stable and useable. So I installes Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 and upgraded to 13.10, which I'm using now.
While I love the beauty of GNOME 3, and the productivity of it (once you know how to use it), there are still two things that annoy me:
1/ the design of GNOME 3 is very integrated. That means any application has a huge and complex dependancy tree in the GNOME 3 ecosystem, so you can't cleanly remove it without breaking the whole thing. Even if you don't like and don't use Evolution (which is a buggy piece of crap), you still can't remove it. It's ok, my hard-drive is big enough for useless software, but it's annoying.
2/ simplification. In general, I agree with the philosophy of GNOME 3 of simplification of the interface to only keep what is useful and leave the useless gadgets. However, they have pushed it to an extreme, and have now (in recent versions) removed things that are really funadamental. For example, you can't browse through your applications in a structured way (like Programs->Accessories->Paint for eg.). You either have to know the name of the app you wanna use (and type or start typing it), or browse through the list of all apps installed.
LXDE does not suffer problems 1/ and 2/. I think I will go back to Lubuntu. Especially because the next version 14.04 will focus on fixing bugs, rather than bringing new cutting edge stuff (with loads of untested buggy stuff). 14.04 should bring some stability to Lubuntu, because all the apps are frozen and in bug fix only mode (they are rewriting LXDE in Qt).
Theory and practice sometimes clash. And when that happens, theory loses. Every single time.