The Crossroads of Should and Must

I have a tattoo on the back of my neck that reads simply: Go do. It’s a reminder that I should move forward in doing whatever I desire. Even with this permanent marking on my body, I often forget.

That’s where Elle Luna’s book comes in. The Crossroads of Should and Must is captivating. Every page made me feel warm. Elle’s writing made me feel confident in my own life path, and sure that every part of it happened for the correct reason. It is the literary extension of my simple tattoo.

I finished this book in two days. In one sitting, I got ¾ of the way through it. Not because it is an easy read – although to be fair, it is. But because I connected so deeply with everything that was discussed.

But let’s take a step back. The premise of the book is unlike anything I’d ever come across. Elle encourages the readers to determine the things in their lives that they should do, and the things they must do. Through a series of exercises, the author walks the audience into dark, suppressed parts of their being. But I promise, you’ll come out brighter on the other side. With her guidance, you can finally determine the difference between what you should do, and what you must do. You should stay in the job that makes you unhappy because it provides you with a salary, but you must pursue your passion outside of the nine to five.  “When we choose Should, we’re choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves.” It forces you to determine the difference. 

When you have determined what you must do, choose it. The latter half of the book is filled with instructions and encouragement towards this lifestyle. Towards beginning an era of your life where you fulfill your own needs – your own musts.

“Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own – and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals.” Choosing must is knowing that your life may not match up to what others expect of you. It’s knowing that you may disappoint, get lost, and fail. But it’s also knowing that you’re finally living your own way. #choosemust

The writing in this book is deeply relatable for someone looking to make a change in his or her life. But even beyond that, it’s downright beautiful. Her art is the work of dreams. Lively, colorful when it should be, neutral when needed, and EXCITING. Most of Elle’s paintings in the pages of her book are of quotes, both famous and unknown. I want to print every single one out to hang above my bed, to keep in my purse, to give away as gifts. But instead, I tend to carry the book with me to show anyone who will listen.

The Crossroads of Should and Must is the perfect book for anyone who needs a little nudge or even just an outward push in the direction of Must. It’s encouraging without being overbearing, and relatable without being mundane. I know I’ll hold onto my copy for the rest of my life, recommend it to friends, and inevitably read it to future children, should I have any.  I think Elle’s message is important and strong. We should be doing what makes us happy and fulfills us. Period.