Having My Cake and Eating It Too


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

If you are like me, you read Oliver’s quote and first thought, “Yes! We only have one life and we need to make it count!” Then you thought, “…um, Mary, where do I start?”


I was browsing through my LinkedIn and saw this article by the inspiring Cortney McDermott. This was one of those moments in life where the exact thing you have been needing to hear was hand-delivered at the exact right moment. Even if it was just one sentence that resonated deeply.

Choosing my path has been daunting recently. It feels like standing at the center of a bike wheel, with many different spokes jetting out each way. While I know that I can take a step down any one of these paths, I want to find the right path. And while I have been told that there isn’t any one “right” path, society has led me to believe otherwise.

Newton’s Third Law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction) feels very real right now. If I take one step forward on one path (such as moving to Sweden), then another path closes for now (such as maximizing my time with my family).

But just writing this reminds me of another of Cortney’s quotes,

“You can have your cake and eat it too, you just can’t have two cakes.”

What I want is two cakes. But the oven that is my life is not big enough to cook both – at least not at the same time. Not to mention, I probably don’t have all of the ingredients for two cakes right now. 

So maybe I should be thinking about what cake I want first, and which ingredients I have in my pantry right now? It is a much more uplifting and exciting mental frame. It is telling myself “Yes, but in a while” rather than “No, never.”

And, if I do in fact live to the average American age of 82, I still have six decades of life ahead of me. And that is plenty of time to walk down a few paths and bake a few cakes.


What feelings have been nagging at you recently? Let us know below.


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