I was really excited to be sent a copy of The Crossroads of Should and Must for review; I had heard about it, and was keen to see what it was all about.
The book itself is as much a work of art as a book; it’s bound in card and the pages are gorgeous to look at, with drawings, paintings, doodles and hand-written quotes throughout.
The Crossroads of Should and Must is a really easy read; because there are so many pictures and quotes there isn’t actually a lot of text to read – and what text there is, is really straight forward and uncomplicated – which I love.
The premise of this book is really straight forward too: lots of us are living our lives by the rules of “should” – I should get a “good” job, I should have a nice house, I should follow this career path, I should get promoted, I should, I should, I should. The author of this book, Elle Luna, argues that what we really should be doing is finding out what we were born to do – our must – and get on with doing that!
Some of us know what our must is, but don’t do anything about it. Others have no clue what it might be, so they get trapped in a job they don’t really care about, doing work that bores them, running in a rat race that doesn’t interest them in the slightest but they don’t know what else they could be doing with their days. I love the idea of this book; that we should all find out what our must is, and start spending time on that.
What I also love about this book is that Luna doesn’t suggest you should quit your job and set up on your own as a travelling mime artist. There’s a bit in the book where she says if you look out and see the edge of a cliff with no obvious steps, don’t jump! Instead, devote whatever time you have to your passion – half an hour at lunch, evenings, weekends, whatever you’ve got – until the next steps become evident. This is so different from the usual idea that we should all throw caution to the wind and follow our dreams – something that’s not too practical for most people.
For those of us who aren’t really sure what we were born to do, there’s also a handy section where Luna helps you to figure out what your must might be. She suggests you look to what you do if you’re procrastinating, if you’re bored, things you see others doing that make you jealous.
I really love this book; it’s useful and practical, but not dry and filled with endless pontificating like a lot of books on this subject can sometimes be. The pictures, diagrams and quotes break the text up so that you don’t feel like you’re trawling your way through something as if it’s homework; it feels like you’re going through it really quickly, and almost as if you’re making solid plans to change your life along the way. I wish someone had given me this book ten years ago, just as I was starting out on a long and boring career in pensions administration. I was reasonably successful, with promotions and pay rises and hospitality trips to Madrid and even the British Grand Prix… but nobody grows up dreaming of working in pensions, do they! In the end I had to have a massive nervous breakdown, an abusive relationship and a baby before I realised life is about more than having an expensive hair cut and sitting in an air conditioned office all day.
This book is about that feeling, you know the one you get on a Sunday night right before you go back to a job that you might not hate, but you don’t exactly love? The one that says there must be more to life than this.
The Crossroads of Should and Must is a really inspiring book with a personal story that many of us can relate to. The artwork is beautiful and often witty and makes this book truly unique.
Thanks for reading.