You just can’t.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Because I really WANT to have my cake and eat it. Or if I’m having my cake I wish I was eating it… and if I’m eating it, I wish I could have it. You get the idea.

Or to put it another way, it’s pretty easy to think about the things you can’t have and not see the downside. The grass is always greener and all that.

For Example(s)
I want the freedom of the self-employed life. The ability to travel more and all that.
But in my healthier moments, I think about the trade off:
The work and stress and hours that come with being self-employed can be IN.TENSE. Especially if you want to make good money. Sure you might get to travel more… but also put in 60 or 70 hour weeks and have the pressure of finding your own work. (Props to you entrepreneurs, but I am not one of you.)

Or, for another example, I get insanely tired on the days when being a mother and tending needy toddlers is literally ALL I can do. I just wish for some peace and quiet and freedom, you know?
But in my healthier moments, I think of the trade off:
There are some people who would gladly embrace the insanity of parenthood because being a parent is their heart’s desire and it is, for whatever reason, out of reach. There are upsides to no kids of course- the freedom and the peacefulness, and some people do in fact choose to not have kids… but it’s still not ‘having your cake and eating it’. (And people who want kids but don’t have them often suffer in silence because infertility and such is just not something that enters the public conversation there on facebook right next to the belly bump photos, pregnancy updates, and ‘guess what my kid said today’ posts.)

Or, for a last example, I caught myself missing my old job at the country club the other day- the bus-girl job I had as a teen. I don’t normally miss the teen years, but occasionally I do. Coming into adulthood, getting a job, being more free to make my own choices, leading more of my own life… it was fun.
But in my healthier moments, I remember:
When I was a teen, I desperately wanted to be an adult. So badly I considered being home-schooled so I could combine my 11th and 12th grade years so I could move on to ‘real life’. I wanted to grow up, do some school, get involved in ministry, get married to Luke Johnson, and have babies. All the stuff I’m doing now 🙂 But what do I think of now? The fun teenage life.

The moral of the story?
Since you (I) can’t have your (my) cake and eat it, enjoy eating it when you (I) eat it… and enjoy having it when you (I) have it. To do anything else and focus on what you don’t have is to waste time. Appreciate the baby life when I have it… I’m told I might even miss it. Savor the ‘un-tied down life’ when you have it… don’t take freedom and travel for granted. Enjoy being young… enjoy being old. I know some ‘lots’ and seasons of life are particularly hard… but whenever possible, there is nothing to lose by finding a way to be thankful and enjoy what you can.

The other moral of the story?
Be careful about assuming other people ‘have the life’. No one has it perfect. Everyone has trials and pain. To falsely assume other people ‘have it all’ is a set up for bitterness and jealousy, not to mention it’s rather toxic to relationships.