I Chose Must!

This year was the first year of the Hopscotch Design festival in downtown Raleigh. I wanted to share a small piece of my experience at this amazing event! So what brought me to the Hopscotch Design Festival? I recently quit my “real” job two weeks before to follow my dream of working for myself and starting my own business, Autumn Glow Design. It was scary. It was terrifying. What if I failed?  What if I couldn’t pay my bills? What if people didn’t like my work? These fears and the opportunity to surround myself by other designers brought me to Hopscotch Design Festival and I’m grateful it did.

When I arrived at Hopscotch Design Festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was really excited about the next two days ahead of me and couldn’t wait to see what I would learn and what bits of inspiration I would find along the way. I found myself in a large room surrounded by other designers when the keynote speaker, Elle Luna, took the stage. I’m not sure at what exact moment I realized she was talking directly to me. But she was. I instantly felt myself completely engrossed in what she was saying. The words that she was saying and the meaning behind them made me feel like she wrote this speech just for me.

She told us to choose Must. At first, it made no sense to me. But then Elle went on to explain. She explained that she was speaking about two roads — Should and Must. How long have we been choosing Should for? Months, years, a lifetime ? When do you finally say NO to Should? Should I go to this job I hate? Should I sit in my cubicle to 40 hours a week until all the creativity drains out of me and I have nothing left for my Must? NO! No I Shouldn’t! It is time for my Must. Elle made me realize how choosing Must was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  As Mark Twain once said, “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. I know what I was born to do- I was born to create. And when one is born to create, we will never find happiness in a Should world. Creativity is something that lives inside of us that can never truly be stuffed inside a business suit or hidden in a cubicle drawer. Our creativity needs to escape in ink, on paper, with anything we can get our hands on. I realized awhile ago that I would never truly be happy choosing Should. And Elle’s talk made me feel overwhelmed with happiness that I had a Must to choose!

At one point in the talk, she told us to identify if we had a job, career or a calling. This made me think back to a conversation I had with my Dad when I was telling him how unhappy I was with my job and that I felt this overwhelming calling to follow my dreams and do what I believed deep down I was meant to do. He told me “you’re lucky you have such amazing talents and something that you love to do so much. Most people in this world never know what they want to do. I’m turning 60 soon and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up”. These words were a turning point to me. My Must wasn’t a burden, it was a gift. How lucky are we as designers?





We are so very lucky we have a Must to choose!!

I left Elle’s talk with a weight lifted off my shoulders. I would not fail. Because choosing my Must is what I was meant to do. It was what I was born for.

I CHOSE MUST. Should you?


Thank you Elle for your talk and to all of the Hopscotch Design organizers who organized such an amazing event. Read Elle’s article, The Crossroads of Should and Must here: https://medium.com/@elleluna/the-crossroads-of-should-and-must-90c75eb7c5b0




By Tracy Maniaci
Published September 14, 2014