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NO, You Can’t Have It All.

at-home-with-the-skinny-confidential-28b-by-the-skinny-confidential{ neon sign from our condo }

Fresh off a 45 minute spin class & mixing it up today just because.

Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing? A random post?

Anyway, as you can imagine between planning a wedding in a month ( no really, I’m planning a bachelorette, bridal shower, & wedding in a month – YES I SWEAR ), working, housesitting, traveling, working out, life, etc – my body CRAVES a daily workout. I need an hour to myself to just sweat. So spin was needed.

A spicy post is just a cherry on the top of today.

Here’s the thing. You guys know when I find an article I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, I kind of have to share. In fact, I can’t keep it to myself. If something really resonates, makes me stop & think…I gotta share. There’s so many bullshit, fake-ass Facebook articles that it’s nice to read something with depth.

I think we’re all on the same page here: we like articles that make us think. Ones that force us to question ourselves. Make us question what society says is ‘the right way.’ Even make us uncomfortable? Well, I like to be uncomfortable sometimes. It feels………I dunno, good?

Anyway, this article did just that SO read it for yourself.

No, You Can’t Have It All:

I saw a story on Facebook the other day. Like most stories that get passed around Facebook, it’s probably only 38% true and written by a 16-year-old. But regardless, I found it cool, and at the very least, thought-provoking.
It was about a man named Mohammed El-Erian. Mohammed was the CEO of an uber $2 trillion bond fund called PIMCO and earned upwards of $100 million per year. In January, he unexpectedly resigned in order to spend more time with his 10-year-old daughter.
Now here’s the bad news: A decision like this is apparently a big deal in our society. Totally unexpected and against the cultural grain of “make billions or die trying” that we’re all used to. The article has been making the usual rounds on social media, getting shared and talked about quite a bit.
Apparently El-Erian’s decision came after a fight with said daughter. He was yelling at her to brush her teeth. She refused. He pulled the classic “I’m your father and you will do what I say” routine, to which she said, “Hold, please.” The girl retreated to her bedroom and proceeded to write down 22 important moments of her life that her father had missed because of work — birthday parties, school performances, hare krishna conventions, and so on. Presumably, this crayon-scrawled list gave El-Erian a bad case of what the internet has dubbed “the feelz” and the next day Mohammed was hanging up his hedge fund hat for good — Mohammed “Wow, That’s A Lot of Fucking Zeroes” El-Erian was now a full-time dad.
If you’ve ever taken an economics class, one of the first things you learn is a concept called “opportunity cost,” an idea often illustrated with the quote, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Opportunity cost means that essentially everything you do, no matter what it is, costs something, even if indirectly. The classic example is when someone takes you out for a free, hour-long lunch. Despite gaining the value of the lunch during that hour, you are still giving up all of the other productive activities you could have potentially been doing.
Man sleeping on computer.
So you give up doing an extra hour of work. An extra hour of sleep. An extra hour of sales calls that could net you a new client. Or, as in the case with El-Erian, an extra hour with your 10-year-old daughter.
In our culture, we regularly celebrate people who become rich by doing exceptional things. But the nature of those “exceptional things” often requires extremely high opportunity costs. Bill Gates famously slept in his office five days a week and remained single well into his 30s. Steve Jobs was a deadbeat father to his first daughter. Brad Pitt can’t leave his house without being bukkaked by flashbulbs and cameras. The man has stated that he’s gone through periods of depression due to the social isolation caused by his extreme fame.
The point is that doing anything truly great requires some sort of inherent sacrifice that may or may not be immediately obvious. You know, like missing a series of your daughter’s birthdays.
(If you’ve read a lot of my stuff, you’ve seen this idea in other forms before, particularly here and here.)
But here’s the problem. Modern society multiplies our opportunities. Therefore, modern society also multiplies our opportunity costs, making it costlier and more difficult to commit all of our time and energy to any one thing without feeling some form of remorse or regret.
Enter the concept of “FOMO” or “Fear of Missing Out.” We live a life that is constantly pelted with reminders of everything we are unable to become.
Back, say, 200 years ago, people didn’t have this problem. If you were born a farmer, you likely didn’t have many opportunities beyond farming. Moreover, you likely weren’t even aware of opportunities beyond farming. Therefore, devoting everything in your life to becoming an expert farmer involved next to no opportunity costs and next to no FOMO. After all, there was nothing else to miss out on.
In a bizarre and backwards way, people back in the day could “have it all.” They had it all simply for the fact that there was nothing else for them to have.
Last month I wrote an article about life purpose. Something like 800 bazillion people shared it on Facebook and told me I was a cool kid. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love even thought it was neat. But this whole business of “life purpose” didn’t even exist until a few decades ago. As a question, it didn’t make sense.
In a way, your so-called life purpose crisis is a luxury, something you’re allowed to have as a result of the amazing freedoms the modern world has bestowed upon you.
I get emails all the time from people who complain about work/life balance. There are articles all over the mainstream media debating whether it’s possible to “have it all” — i.e., is it possible to be an all star in your career and have a healthy family life and have cool and fun hobbies and be financially stable and have that sexy bikini body and cook organic soufflé in your underwear while buying beachfront property on your new iPhone 6, all at the same time?
What’s changed is not our inability to manage our time or “balance our lives” between work and play. What’s changed is that we have more opportunities for work and play than ever before — more interests, more awareness of every potential experience we’re passing up. In short, we have more opportunity cost.
And we’re made aware of this in a terribly connected way each day. Every person who decides to sacrifice their dating life to advance their career is now bombarded constantly by the rambunctious sex lives of their friends and strangers. Every person who sacrifices their career prospects to dedicate more time and energy to their family is now bombarded with the material successes of the most exceptional people around them at all times. Every person who decides to take a thankless but necessary role in society is now constantly drowned in inane stories of the famous and beautiful.
So how do we respond to this new, overly-connected culture? How do we manage our FOMO?
The conventional answer, the answer you’ll find in most bookstores and at most seminars is some variation of “do more with less,” “practice time management,” or as Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “sleep faster.”
El-Erian stated in his dad-of-the-year Facebook article that he spent years justifying missing his daughter’s birthdays to himself — he was busy, work was too demanding, his travel schedule was insane.
This is the typical work/life balance, woe-is-me complaint we always hear: “I have all of these things I want to do and not enough time.”
But what if the answer isn’t to do more?
What if the answer is to want less?
What if the solution is simply accepting our bounded potential, our unfortunate tendency as humans to inhabit only one place in space and time. What if we recognize our life’s inevitable limitations and then prioritize what we care about based on those limitations?
What if it’s as simple as stating, “This is what I choose to value more than everything else,” and then living with it?
When we attempt to do everything, to fill up life’s checklist, to “have it all,” we’re essentially attempting to live a valueless life, a life where everything is equally gained and nothing lost. When everything is necessary and desired equally, then nothing is necessary or desired at all.
This past week, I received an email from a man who was distressed about his life situation. He had a job he hated and had become disconnected from the friends and activities he once cared about. He said he was depressed. He said he felt like he had lost himself. He said he hated his life.
But, he added at the end, he had become accustomed to the lifestyle his job afforded him. So quitting his job was out of the question. He then asked what he should do.
In my experience, the people who struggle with the so-called “life purpose” question, always complain that they don’t know what to do. But the real problem is not that they don’t know what to do. It’s that they don’t know what to give up.
El-Erian’s priority was $100 million per year. His priority was CEO. His priority was private helicopters and stretch limos and bankers jerking off all over his balance sheet wherever he went. And to earn those things, he chose to give up being present in his daughter’s life.
Until one day, he chose the opposite.


For me this article rings very, VERY true. There’s been many things I’ve sacrificed that people maybe don’t see. It’s not a poor-me thing, I have made the conscious choice to do one thing & not the other, you know? There’s just been a lot of events/birthdays/Friday nights/parties/weekend plans/networking opportunities that I have passed up to work on my business.

Obviously I love working on my business. It’s very important to me. A top priority, clearly. But sometimes that priority causes me to miss out.

Ultimately, I recognize that life is about where you put your energy…& “having it all” is kind of fucking subjective? I mean what does that even mean? Having it all? What’s the “all?” Who has it all? Does Angelina Jolie have it all? Did we think she did? Hmmm. Having it all is a YAWN & I call bullshit. What a hamster wheel. I picture an octopus with all its hands out grasping at everything ( what a tired octopus, HA! ).

SO I certainly don’t have it all. But I am happy. I strive for balance but frequently screw that up…in today’s world, the word balance is over-used. I feel like a few years ago I was guilty of over-using the word too ( a great word, just used too lightly maybe? ). I had to stop myself & think the of meaning…because balance is AMAZING…in balance.

Love your job? Obsessed? Can’t stop working? Your time with your significant other will most likely struggle.

Photography is your RIDE OR DIE passion? That 9 to 5 may slack.

Fixated, IN LOVE, so focused on your relationship(s)? Don’t be surprised if you don’t see your family and friends as much.

Bottom line: the grass will grow where YOU water it. You’re in charge. & it’s OK if you can’t water all the grass at once. In fact, it’s normal. And on that note, you can’t tell someone else where to water THEIR grass.

Food for thought?

Where are you watering your grass? Which spots are the greenest?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about where I water my grass & where those brown spots reside.

……..Like I said, I love an article that causes reflection.

Ok, would love to know your thoughts, opinions, good/bad/ugly – as always.

Signing off, lauryn x


+ if you’re interested in going deeper into subjects like these and more business, I AM HOSTING A FREE WEBINAR TOMORROW!! At 5 PM PST. Sign up in 3 seconds here. Come hang out, bring a friend, & maybe some champagne. See you tomorrow at 5 PM!

+ Listen to Mark on the Him & Her podcast & read his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.



  1. This is so true. I feel like all the social media around having it all actually makes it work for people. Look at parents who care for their children, move up the corporate latter (or grow their own business) as well as clean, cook, and try to organize ‘family activities’!!! Its impossible to do all those things and still have an amazing sex life! People need to give themselves a bit of a break sometimes too 🙂 Thanks for sharing this Lauryn! Always a pleasure reading.

  2. The issue of choosing between focus points resonates so well with me!
    I had a period where I had a full-time job (45 hours), while writing my Master Thesis on the side. As soon as I accepted the job offer, I let friends and family know that the next 6 months I would not be able to make it to many social arrangements. This freed up so much of my ‘mental space’, knowing that it was a tough period, but it was the right priority. And I came back with a real desire to see my friends and family afterwards.

    I have continued this even after finishing my masters – being an introvert I naturally gravitate towards less social arrangement, but have a lot of creative projects – I focus on getting through the day on the job, but loving my dancing classes after hours, and finding a dream job that will make me happy in the 9 to 5 with the help from friends 🙂

    Thats my priority and it works very well – especially when you say it out loud to people. Voicing your priorities makes it very strong, and also makes it much easier for yourself to see the priorities straight.

  3. What a fantastic article. I agree the word balance is over-used.. but I also think it’s not defined well. I think people focus too much on balance being a state that is achieved and then you STAY in that state forever. Well that’s just not realistic!! Balance, to me, is checking in with yourself CONSTANTLY to make sure that you’re doing ok. That your priorities feel right. That you’re not too tired. That you’ve hung out with your friends recently or you’ve had a good workout recently. Take stock of yourself and implement little tweaks to your day/week accordingly! That’s something I’ve found helps me to achieve “balance” on the daily.

  4. one of your best posts!!!! i can definitely relate to this. (but side note–the links didn’t work)

  5. I love Mark Manson, he changed my life with his Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck article and I think about it every day. My boyfriend (don’t know what we are actually) just had this type of crisis as he is a Chef and just opened a new restaurant with his dad. He had a mental breakdown in August and pushed me as far away as possible because, he’s not going to just leave his Dad and everything he worked for (even though it is making him miserable) but with his current mental state he could only water that grass. I have the complete opposite work from home, put myself first, watering that grass not letting work get in the way. It’s been hard but I can’t force him to water his grass a certain way. Thanks for sharing this Lauryn.

  6. Love this! It resonates so much in my life. Cant stop reading the line about the grass growing in areas that I want it to. Thanks for sharing!

  7. So I read this, went back to work, and it stayed with me for a bit. Because recently I have asked myself about: Balance, sacrifice, desire, ability (is what i am doing enough). And then I make a list of everything and see what needs to be done. I work out for feeling great in clothes but for my mind and then I sit….Meditate; has been a popular word lately, but for me…I pray…release everything, (not a super religious person) but i believe. Once you believe in something bigger than yourself….everything else seems so much smaller and you find nothing really to complain about.

    I’m 31 years old…divorced (happily divorced) my ex and I will facetime and watch shows together. Your other half, Michael talks about being Mentally tough. I know that I am because I have survived what I thought might kill me. I had to learn to appreciate the 4 walls that give me shelter and find peace with what I have… I love beautiful things, clothes , travel, but you can’t have everything you want all the time…. so you read, exercise, look for others to give you motivation, look for experiences with those you love (my friends) JUST started thinking about LIVING and not WANTING and through that comes so many other findings….as Lauryn likes to say, JUST pure REALNESS.

    Which is why i gravitate towards her bc she is REAL and thought provoking and loves health, fitness, beauty travel……all the things that I find interesting and even more so…..People.

    A great post today….thank you xoxo, Tiff

  8. Love this article and this is so true!! People have no idea how important balance is and it is so aggravating! lol As a personal trainer i see it all the time, people will make the classic mistake of being so fixated in one fitness goal that they forget about all the other goals or other aspects of their lives and all of a sudden their life revolves around that one thing. Of course I am trainer and i love to workout but you will never see me working out every single day for 2-3 hours. And believe me i have made this mistake before, no one is perfect BUT I have become pretty dang good throughout the years about balancing everything in my life 🙂 or at least i think. Your article nailed it!

  9. Lauren thank you for this.
    This article is exactly what i needed, i currently am inside of such a hamster wheel, where i try to DO it all, which i can’t, leading me to be sick…
    I think living in this exact moment is the essential key to live a happy life.

    Thank you,
    xx Lisa from Vienna

  10. “the grass is going to grow where YOU water it” LOVE LOVE LOVE this, it’s so true and there’s something about visual imagery like this that really hits the point home. I try to embrace JOMO (joy of missing out 😉 ) as much as possible. Plus, why try to do a million things sort of well when you can do a couple of things and be the best in the game? Thanks for another great food for thought, Lauryn! xxx Olivia

  11. These are the kinds of posts that keep me coming back over and over to this blog. I fell in love with your blog a few years ago, and have since kept up with every post, podcast and video you’ve put out. I totally love Michael now because of his Snapchat; basically of this to say that I am a FAN. However, lately I have found it difficult to connect on some of your posts. Please don’t take this the wrong way (I am not a hater!), but I have been coming back to the blog less frequently. But this post reminds me what I love so much about you and your brand. Your authenticity, when you really and truly connect on an authentic level is when you KILL IT. This is a great post because it lets us in on who you are and what you value, it’s real, it’s honest and it’s relatable. Just my two cents 🙂

  12. Couldnt be more perfectly written! Mark Manson is literally my ABSOLUTE FAVVVORITE writer! I love that he calls bullshit on so many topics. Just because we see it as “normal” doesn’t mean it is! I try to surrond my life with these type of ppl, the “bullshit callers”. I was raised as a “bullshit caller”, and now I choose to live my life in such a way. I don’t like pulling the wool over my own eyes, so to speak. I think whatever or however u choose to live, you should own with pride! As Lauryn has said MANY times, “stay in your own lane”, don’t compare yourself to others, and focus on YOU! Your ultimate goal is very different from others, so the social media comparing we all do needs to stop! In fact I’ve been spending less and less time scrolling on Insta, and more time with my family. Picture perfect, “have it all” lives are bullshit anyways. See what I did there, lol? Anyways, those are my thoughts! Great post Lauryn, keep em’ coming! ?

  13. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article. It’s almost like social media glorifies those who have no time, are too busy, are too overworked, and those who say no to every commitment that doesn’t further their own personal gains. Hey, I get working hard, but sometimes it’s not actually about working harder but working smarter; being more mindful of how you spend your time, being more smart when it comes to planning your engagements. You are totally right about the word balanced being over used. I am guilty of this too, but there is no way to achieve perfect balance. I think this because if you are constantly in a state of balance – is your life really changing? Are you growing and developing your mind and passions? Food for thought!

  14. This was such a good article and i can totally relate to it. And i definitely see where I have given up certain things to do others and some i am happy with and some i think i need to work on. Love these post so different from your others but definitely needed!!!


    love you lauryn!

  15. I completely agree and I am so glad you did this post, it really helped me and I know it will help many other people.
    I love this kind of post that causes refletion, thank you!
    lots of love,
    LariNovello from snapchat – the girl that told you about the *here* and *here* thing

  16. Lauryn, this article is phenomenal and honestly, just what I needed to read. I love the idea of not having it all and picking and choosing what is “all” to you. I feel you on the sacrifices and I love hearing about them from other people (especially in the comments below) – and it’s nice to know we are not alone, just so focused on the big picture. The wanting less is spot on, and it’s funny because I find it allow you (generally speaking) to really savour the mini celebrations. It’s a funny social media world we live in, these days! Keep these articles going – the other one you linked of the most important question was life changing for me. Thanks again! xx Shannon

  17. Such a good read, thanks for sharing! I’m currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck a book and I’m loving it, again thanks for all the awesome reading recommendations.

    I’ve always struggled with figuring out my “life purpose” and learning how to handle all the shit that I have going on in my life: boyfriend, full time job, spend time with family, and finally get around to creating my own blog-launch fast right?! Articles like this help me gain clarity & make the whole living thing a little easier.

    Also, thanks to you and Michael for cracking me up during my commute. I’m super thankful!


  19. This was a great read! At first the headline got me thinking ‘Whaaaaaat?! Lauryn, YOU have it all, you can totally have it all!’. Ahh an outsiders perspective right?! I can apply this to my current job. My friends see me making a lot of money, and having freedom to go where I please, and not look at price tags when I buy stuff. Yes, thats all true BUT what they don’t see is that I work 21 days a month, straight, like in a row. And I don’t have an option to call in sick or take a personal day. I HAVE to be at work no matter what, theres no one to fill in for me! I have missed weddings, funerals, birthday parties (friends and my own), events etc. for the last 3 years. That is a sacrifice I knew I was going to have to accept when taking this job. I work in a male dominated field (16 guys, and me, everyday), so yes there isn’t any lady drama BS but it gets kinda lonely sometimes! All things my friends don’t see.

    I took this job to work my ass off, save money, pay off debt, buy a car and get ahead financially. Now that that is done I am starting to shift my focus on what my next career step is going to be. This job is not a forever thing. So now I am “watering” my side business. My yoga practice, my travel blog, my social media presence, my collaborations etc. My sleep might be taking a back seat but right now, thats okay with me.

    Can’t wait to see whats next Lauryn,
    xo, C

  20. Thank you for sharing this…you’re right, it was completely worth the read. I don’t think I’m alone in this, but sometimes I just get so caught up in life and “how little time I have”…because I try to do everything and make everyone happy and never say no. I always think this will in turn make me happier, but it doesn’t. And it’s crazy because I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have a wonderful family, a loving fiance, a stable job, etc….but sometimes when you get so caught up in that race of having it all and achieving…SOMETHING, even though it’s never quite clear what that is… lose sight of all that.

    Really powerful thoughts here! Again, thanks for sharing.

  21. Loved this one! I feel like that ALL the time whereas before I felt like I could have it all, I now see the areas of inbalance.

    Always love when ya get deep mama.

    Have the best week at your bachelorette!

  22. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best, especially in our careers. Unfortunately, this can affect our friends and families. I’ve been torn between career climbing and putting my family demands first. Lately I’ve come across many signs that point me towards my first priority-my two small kids. Like a quote from Oprah, “you can have it all. Just not all at once.” This simple message has become my mantra, taking a lot of pressure off trying to be the best at everything all at once.

  23. I love this! It gives me goosebumps. Nothing in life comes for free and if you ask some of the most successful people in the world if they have any regrets they will always say they missed out on something. What could possibly be more important than being there for your children when they need you and want you? Sending them a $500 gift is not the same. They would appreciate a hug from you so much more but you will never know that if you are flying off to the other side of the world to “provide” for them. Bullshit!

    Sometimes you have to take a step back to take 2 steps forward. Write down what you really want and need out of life and cut all the crap in between that is stopping you from having it. If what you really want is money and a millionaire lifestyle, fine….but don’t expect to see your family and friends often.

    At what point will it become too late to get those precious moments back?

  24. Hi, I just read this post because I found out your website lately and started reading backward…
    Actually, I don’t think the article is fantastic or amazing… The man had the opportunity and he could quit, he already made multi-billions… He could have taken some time for his daughter and sacrifice a couple little millions, but he was too greedy for that, and now with billions, he quit his job and he’s a hero? No way…
    Don’t get me wrong, I totally respect his ability to make that kind of money but if we look at the bigger picture, so very few people have the chance to quit his job, so many can only manage to earn their rent working 16 hours a day… so, sorry but, I don’t think he’s a hero… Though I totally agree with the concept of wanting everything is the problem and understanding that choosing and not having it all matters…
    So thank you for your inspirational posts… I’ve been reading constantly… Best…

  25. Hello,
    You are absolutely right. I feel like to say now a days it’s the age of social media. Maximum people are engaged in this site. Thanks for sharing like this learning post.

  26. Hello,
    I think you are right. Now-a-days everything depends on the social media. I also like your speech- “Love your job? Obsessed? Can’t stop working?”. Thanks for sharing this.

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