You Can't Have it All, But You Can Have Cake

What if happiness and having it all is as simple as “engaging all your senses in the current moment” and being here now?

I keep thinking about an article I read a few months ago by Delia Ephron, "You Can’t Have It All, But You Can Have Cake".

Ephron was reflecting on current versions of “having it all,” leaning -in or leaning-out, having the perfect kids, the perfect marriage and the perfect career, or striving for some other equally unattainable version of The American Dream, guaranteed to make us feel like failures in spite of all the other amazing things we’ve achieved.

But what if, Ephron asked, having it all was as simple as “engaging all your senses in the current moment,” and experiencing life more deeply. For her, walking into her favorite Greenwich Village bakery and smelling “the intoxicating aroma of fresh bread, or ” biting into “the perfect chocolate brownie" at "exactly the minute she wants it” brings pure joy and fulfillment.

Reading Ephron’s article kept reminding me of the counterculture movement and what we were all searching for back in the 70’s while smoking a joint, weaving flowers in our hair and listening to Ram Dass exhort us to “be here now.” 

The older I get, the more I understand the power of those three words, and how elevating it is to be absorbed by the present moment. For me, following my breath in and out during a yoga class and losing track of time, paddleboarding across Accabonac Harbor and communing with cormorants, or eating “fresh off the boat” sushi on the docks with my daughter, Lola all fill me with happiness. It’s those magical moments, that can last for a few minutes, or (if I’m lucky) a few hours, when what I want and what I have are aligned.

Join the Conversation

Having it all, like Malibu, is a state of mind, sometimes called “peace of mind.” What are your magic moments?

What does “having it all” mean to you?