I heard this proverb "You can't have your cake and eat it too" when I first moved to England and since then it has tightly stuck in my head. And for better or for worse, I ever-increasingly realize how true it is. In a not so distant past I still hoped it is possible to have a cake and eat it too. It has led to disappointment though as reality often didn't align with my expectations.

During the struggles of transitioning from a naive freshly-graduated student to a still-naive-but-not-as-much young adult I realized that becoming an adult is largely about accepting that there are always trade-offs to be made, that you can't have it all and that you have to weigh options wisely and make a decision on what's the best for you. Essentially, you can't have a cake and eat it too.

I guess if one really wants the cake but wants to keep it too, then the only option is to take a small slice as a compromise. For example, if someone invites you to a party but you have a sleep routine and exercise regime you don't want to mess up, you can go to the party only for a couple of hours and drink moderately. Or if you want to create a great career or a business but also want to travel, you can find interesting local spots to visit and go exploring on weekends. This works great for some cakes but requires self-restraint and does not work for all types of cakes and people personalities. Often you just have to accept that it's either-or. And that's just what being an adult is in those cases.

Let me list some of my own cakes that I would like to eat but am restraining myself from doing so, or at least am eating only a small slice:

  • Forgoing adequate sleep, balanced diet and exercise and yet still being healthy and energized.
  • Having more freedom and yet still building a great career or a business.
  • Being in a relationship and yet still freely going on dates.
  • Playing video games and yet still having time for self-improvement, creating side projects and writing blog articles.
  • Being selfish and yet still maintaining good relationships with the people I care about.
  • Spending all my salary and yet still having enough savings once I retire.
  • Mindlessly consuming information and yet still expecting to improve my critical thinking and knowledge.

There are many more examples of cakes I want to eat but don't but these are the ones that stick out of the most for me. I am curious what are some of your own cakes that are tempting you the most? 🙂