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At The Crossroads

When I was in D.C., I ate at this really great restaurant called Busboys and Poets that has a bookstore inside called Politics and Prose. It was full of novels, political and social commentaries, graphic novels, children’s books . . . everything. After taking in the whole scene, my eyes finally settled on a book called The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. The bright water-colored words on the cover made a great first impression, and I was not disappointed when I began reading the first page.

This book is a tangible version of Luna’s blog she published 3 years ago. In her own words:

This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot.

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This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I graduated last May with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, and while I’m happy with my decision to stay on that path throughout college, I’m facing a different reality now that I’m on the other side. I love anthropology and archaeology. But I don’t love the idea of sitting behind a desk, writing grants, giving seminars, or teaching theoretical college courses.

Since I graduated, I’ve had a nannying job (which I loved, but was also not something I could see myself doing long-term). And for the past 8 months, I’ve been working at a coffee shop. I know I’ll have to make a career decision sometime in the near future, or at least find something that’s sustainable with long-term benefits.

The thing is, I want to pursue something I love, that I’ll get to enjoy for the rest of my life, and if that means doing something a little more nontraditional, then so be it. But the hard part is getting to the point where I can benefit from the things I love (which currently include: art, ceramics, Pilates, beekeeping, gardening, and coffee).

Which brings me back around to this book. It made me feel a lot better about the plan I want to lay out for my life. Especially this section:

 

“If you find yourself peering over the edge of an enormous cliff where you can’t see anything down below, back up. Don’t make the leap!

While this journey asks that your surrender to the unknown, it does not ask you to put yourself—or those around you—at risk. To choose Must is not like Evil Knievel proclaiming he will do the unthinkable. It is not a spectator sport. Must is too important, way too important, to be chosen on a whim, out of excitement, out of intoxication. That kind of decision-making is certain death.

The most sustainable Musts happen slowly, thoughtfully, and quietly. They don’t happen impulsively but are built with a sober, calm intention.

Every decision you make counts. Ten minutes of solitude. One Must instead of one Should. Setting up your space. Writing your wants down and pinning them to the wall. Must is not a faraway land that you hope to arrive at sometime in the future, it’s not for tomorrow or another day. Must is for today, now. And as you take daily action, the cliff will cease to become a cliff. It will simply become an obvious next step along your path to Must.”

. . .

Working towards your dreams can be so scary, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. And I know that there’s nothing wrong with taking things one step at a time. It just means that I’m going about the whole process with intention and a self-sustaining attitude.

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