“You Can Get Everything You Want But Not At The Same Time”

3 Sep

When bidding for apartments, I was frustrated about the choices. When I told this to a co-worker, she said “You can get everything you want, but not at the same time.” Guess what? She wasn’t just talking about apartments.

So this is Maxim #3 that I live by because it works so well for so many aspects of my life. Of course, there is a better way to phrase it, as I heard CGP Gray say in a recent video, “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.”

If you’re wondering what “bidding for apartments” means, this was back when I worked at Woodstock School, which is up in the Himalayan mountains next to Mussoorie, India. Unlike most international schools, they offer free room to their teachers because a) they’ve got a lot of leftover missionary homes to give out and b) they can pay their teachers a whole lot less. However, instead of choosing an apartment, you had to bid for them, and just like any socialist system, rank and seniority mean everything. So as a new teacher who had only been there a year, my choices were between the really nice places that involved a 15-30 minute walk to work everyday (we lived on the side of a mountain, forget driving or biking), or the close place that was smaller and had a yippy dog downstairs.

Thankfully, someone was leaving and I bid for their place (called the “Shoestring”). Plenty of space, but dingy. 15 minute walk, but it was at the same level as the school (not up or down). Had a couple of strange neighbors, but not annoying, although the turnip liquor still was difficult when he fired it up (hillbillies are the same the world over). In other words, I made trade-offs to find a good solution.

Of course, that was true about the school itself. Gorgeous location, wonderful students, free room, cheap to live there… but they paid incredibly little. When I was there (2003-5), we got paid $300/month. In the US, that’s below the lowest poverty level. In rural India, that meant upper middle class… and I mean rural. We were fifteen minutes from the edge of civilization–you walked around the corner and there was NOTHING for miles. What there was when you crossed those miles are very limited. I had two servants (who also worked for others and made a good living) and saved up enough in one year to go home to America. Of course, I had to sleep on friends’ couches, but I spent little while I was actually on site.

Later on in life, when I decided to follow the money and become a travelling consultant, I got paid a ton of money (1.5 to 2 times my previous job). I stayed in great hotels, got my meals reimbursed, and my credit score went through the roof. However, that meant I only was home with my family for 2.5 days a week. Now I work at home (have before the pandemic started), get paid far less (but more than my job would be in an office), and work far harder. But I basically get to work wherever I want… and sometimes that’s a cafe, a restaurant, or a bar. The pandemic meant that my kids and wife were with me all the time which killed most of the incentive for this job in the first place. Now I dream of an office… who knew?

So that’s when I understood that everything was a trade off in life. You want the hot car? You either earn more or get crappy everything else. You want the hot girl? You either earn more or get in great shape yourself. This is why this statement has become a maxim of mine and reminds me that I can’t have it all — I have to make decisions about what I’m willing to sacrifice to get what I deem a priority.

Do you find this to be valid? What are you willing to give up to “have it all?” Tell me about it in the comments below!

7 Responses to ““You Can Get Everything You Want But Not At The Same Time””

  1. Ramya Vivek September 3, 2020 at 9:17 am #

    Interesting post.As long as what we gain matches or supersedes the one we want to give up, the deal is set.
    I gave up my wish to settle abroad, to stay closer to my roots. This is the decision I have never once regretted in my life!

  2. lightslatitudes September 3, 2020 at 9:40 am #

    Yes I find it valid. It’s that forever balance of good/bad the universe is constantly aiming for. It works that way for most everything in life, I’ve found.

  3. Karla September 3, 2020 at 2:27 pm #

    As they say in horses: You can have cheap, broke or sound. Pick two. Cheap and sound? Great. Hope you are a great trainer. Cheap and broke? Won’t stay cheap for long paying a DVM for lameness evaluations. In the long run broke and sound is your best bet.

  4. Edward September 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm #

    A friend once told me that in college, you can study, party, or sleep. Pick two.

  5. Rob Alberts September 14, 2020 at 6:36 am #

    Wish you health and lots of luck.

    Kind regards,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The More Laws, the Less Justice | Albigensia Press - February 20, 2021

    […] I think you can guess where I stand from the title of this post, but let me be charitable with those who don’t think like me. Take that water quality standards legislation I mentioned–why doesn’t every state have Oregon’s standards? You should be able to eat 6 ounces (175 g) of fish per day without getting sick. Completely agree–however, the moment you write that into law, there are consequences. After all, “there are no solutions, only trade-offs.” […]

  2. Medication and Self-Medication | Albigensia Press - May 24, 2021

    […] I know a little something about medicating yourself. Life can be difficult to handle, and with the variety of legal and illegal substances to play with, why would you want to stay unaltered? Well, as I like to say, there are no solutions, only trade-offs. […]

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