Last night, I attended an Alice in Wonderland art themed popup in New York City. Now personally, I am not a big art person, so I was apprehensive going to the event. Surprisingly, the giant space turned wonderland was well done. It was filled with wild colors, different props from scenes in the movie, and so many interactive pieces. 

But my favorite area was the replica of the Mad Tea Party. The colorful table was filled with playfully decorated cakes, sweets, and massive tea pots. And a saying on top of one of the cakes got me thinking. It said, “Have your cake and eat it too”. Ironic since the phrase I had always heard thrown around was that you CAN’T have both. 

I asked myself how can we have it all?  

I truly believe that we CAN have it all. It starts by defining what “that all” really means to us. What are your goals? What are you dreams? Do you have career aspirations? What do you want your life outside of work to look like? What are your hobbies?

Or, if we want to keep going with the metaphor we started with, what does your cake look like? And if you take some time to sit down and journal about this, I encourage you to get very detailed. As you will see, the small details add up to real dollars.  

I also challenge you to think about everything you don’t want. I personally, love to cook and I know that getting takeout over and over again can add up quickly for both my wallet and the status of my health. For me, I focus on saying no to takeout because I would rather spend that money on a nice dinner out with friends. This fills the area of my life I like to call “quality time with those I love”. For me being surrounded by the ones I love is so much more fulfilling than eating yet another burrito at home.  

To be able to have your cake and eat it too, you need to know exactly what it is that you want and be prepared to say no to everything you don’t want. Trust me, it’s easier said than done but like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. For some, it might mean saying no to an actual cake because they know it’ll make them feel miserable tomorrow during their marathon training. During these moments, I always pause to remind myself which do I want more.  

Caroline Tanis