You Can Have Your "Pie" And Eat It Too: A Lesson In Comparison

You Can Have Your "Pie" And Eat It Too: A Lesson In Comparison

Why saying "I'll have what she's having" leaves us feeling unfulfilled

I’m taking too long to decide. My eyes are darting around the table trying to compare everyone else’s order. I really want the homemade salted caramel pie but the rest of the table wants the white chocolate cheesecake.

There’s nothing about white chocolate that I enjoy.

The waiter walks over and in a moment of panic, I quickly blurt out I’ll have what she’s having!

A few moments later, the waiter returns with a tray of white. No richly flavored, light brown, salt-flecked pie in sight.

There’s no pie in sight because I didn’t order the pie. I ordered the cheesecake, like everyone else. Rookie mistake.

As the cheesecake is placed in front of me and while everyone is diving in with their mmmms and aaahhhs, I reluctantly take a bite and think to myself this would be so much better if the white chocolate was salted caramel and if the cheesecake was pie.

I’m going to venture to say that in one shape or form, we’ve all experienced an “I’ll have what she’s having” moment. Whether it was when you were grabbing lunch with your salad-obsessed friend and you ordered a bowl of measly, leafy greens when you knew that all you really wanted was the featured sandwich that had smoked turkey with homemade walnut pesto, fried green tomatoes, topped with goat cheese and panini-pressed between two pieces of freshly made ciabatta bread. And you love crispy ciabatta bread.

Or, maybe your moment was when you decided you wouldn’t go to your dream school because that’s not where your parents “could see you going.”

We look to the left and look to the right only to realize that we’re alone in wanting the item we want or wishing to do whatever it is that we really wish we were doing.

We feel ashamed, maybe embarrassed or less than. To alleviate this discomfort, we imitate, compare, copy and sacrifice.

We take whatever the other person is “having” and try to bully it into being our own. We neglect the truth that most (if not all) of life is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Life is a situation that is messy, wild, nonsensical, exciting and way too short to spend time subjecting ourselves to decisions that are not our own when we often have the ability to do otherwise.

The saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” has always bothered me, especially when placed next to the saying “comparison is the thief of joy.” I believe that comparison leads to imitation which often leads to self-disappointment and suppression of our intrinsic wants and desires. When we push aside what’s best for us and replace it with what someone else has decided is best for their individual desires, we are compromising a piece of ourselves. This isn’t a small piece either. We are compromising a piece of individuality that has been earned through years of cultivating character and experiencing moments that lead us to understand what is and isn’t best for us.

When the rest of my table ordered the white chocolate cheesecake, they ordered it because they knew it would make them happy and they loved what that cheesecake had to offer. I ordered the white chocolate cheesecake because I didn’t like the idea of being the only one to order something else. Heaven forbid that I draw attention to myself for rewarding my stomach with what I knew it really wanted. Isn’t simply recognizing and accepting what you truly want (despite the influence of others) in any situation an achievement on its own? I think so.

This “cheesecake situation” is merely a vehicle for a much larger conversation. Instead of deciding to order whatever it is that our stomach may want, we go against our gut and blurt out I’ll have what she’s having to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

Ultimately, we experience more discomfort after we make a decision to ignore our internal desires than we do when we make a decision to listen to them. By ignoring these desires, we end up unsatisfied and uncomfortable. When we choose to listen, although we may still heed some degree of discomfort, we are satisfied and pleased that we listened to our gut and gave it what it wanted.

Next time you find yourself saying I’ll have what he/she is having, just remember that you can (and should) have your “pie” and eat it too.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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To The Me I Was In Middle School

For showing me how to love, how to be the best version of myself, and how to be me, thank you.

Hey, Middle School Me,

Wow, has shit changed. Physically, emotionally, socially, everything has changed. The once boy-dressed, emo-looking, social-climber middle schooler has flourished into a thriving, loving, thoughtful college student that is paving the way for her future. As much as I hate thinking about how you looked and the way you acted, you were a huge part of making me who I am today. So, thank you.

Thank you for making me the loud, outgoing, passionate person I am today. Without your fearlessness to be who you are, I wouldn’t be here today.

Thank you for teaching me to always give it your all, regardless of the consequences of doing so. Without you, I wouldn’t have had the desire to want to be a member of the Executive Board of some of the most astute clubs on campus.

Thank you for being motivated and driven academically and in extracurriculars. Without you, I would constantly crumble to the pressures closely associated with college.

Thank you for finding your voice so young. Without you, I would struggle to be able to convey my beliefs and perspectives on so many controversial issues that plague the Rutgers community today.

Thank you for being fearless and passionate. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to find the heart or desire to want to pursue the degree that I am.

Thank you for always loving yourself at your worst. Without you, I would never be so confident in myself and my abilities.

Thank you for always caring about those closest to you and for always looking out for them. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to put those most important to me before myself.

Thank you for being you. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Although so much has changed over the years and I cringe at the thought of my middle school existence, I am thankful for the person that you were during that life-changing, tumultuous time. You have helped to shape me into the person that I am today and taught me lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. For showing me how to love, how to be the best version of myself, and how to be me, thank you. I will always appreciate the person that you were. In ten years, I hope to look back at myself in college just as I did now with you.

All love,

College-Girl Sarah

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Hertz

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Stop Asking "Why" And Start Asking "Why Not" Instead

You've got four years to take advantage of a college campus.

The best advice I got before starting college was to say yes to everything. It's been almost three years since then.

You don't think about it much when you start school. You're so nervous about transitioning into that next stage of life that you let some things pass you by. That entire first semester is about figuring out classes, friends, and that newfound sense of independence.

It wasn't until I got out of the blur that was my freshman year that I realized I hadn't let myself have a chance to explore all these opportunities around me. I remember being in high school and just getting involved in everything that sounded interesting to me. I took every chance I got and was so much happier for it. So why did I spend a year letting so many things pass me by?

Something flipped when I got back to campus for my sophomore year. I decided to say why not. Why not start working for the wrestling team, or join a "Survivor"-based organization, or use university funds to go on a service trip to Oklahoma? I could do all these things that I would end up loving and there was no one to stop me.

As a freshman four years of college sounds long and daunting. I'm now nearing the end of my junior year and it keeps hitting me how short this all feels. We get a four year buffer between living with our parents and having to be a full-fledged adult. That's four years to take opportunities and do things I probably won't have the chance to do after I graduate.

I've gotten to continue working for a sport I love and be a part of a student organization which both have nothing to do with my future career plans. But these two things have brought me people that I know won't be out of my life anytime soon. I'm not going to get the chance to go learn about culture and build ramps in the Cherokee Nation again. I'm so lucky to have gotten to do it twice now.

Everything that I've ended up loving in college has come from just saying yes to that blind leap of faith. I've had all these amazing experiences and met some of my favorite people through this one simple word.

There's so many opportunities being thrown at you in four years. Stop giving yourself reasons to say no.

Just say yes.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Tremblay

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