Monday, December 13, 2010

a campaign to end the shoulds...................... featuring Christine Howard Sandoval

living a life that's dedicated to a creative pursuit is often not one you outright choose. you fall into it and the next thing you know you've spent 10, 15, 20 years at it and you're defined by it.

after college, i took jobs that were fun and as stress free as possible. that paid the bills and left me with lots of mental and physical time to write. every time a serious job came up, i wasn't interested in it because it cut into my writing time. that seemed fine in my early twenties, but now, some days, it takes a bit of self-talking to convince me that this choice is still okay.

i’m not sure what the issue is. after all, i don’t want for anything, i have disposable income, and fantastic family and friends. but you know what? i do know what the issue is.

it’s the damn shoulds.

i’ll blame it on tv and movies and our entire culture, but regardless of where the imagery comes from, growing up i firmly believed that the adult life should look like this: boyfriend turns into husband, turns into family with kids, house, car, 401K.

now here i am. an adult. with none of those things. (i do have a Roth IRA, thank you very much). the weird of it is, though I would like all that eventually, i have no strong desire for any of it right now. i actually kinda like my life. still it requires constant work to convince myself that i’m okay because i’m not where i should be at.

living in Brooklyn helps. intentional or not, no one here is living according to the shoulds. i wish i'd known in high school or before how many perfectly acceptable ways there are to lead a non-should aligned life. maybe i would have had more adventures, taken a few more risks. at the very least, i might not have been so stressed about my future all the damn time.

so you know what? it’s time to change the shoulds.

what follows is the first in a series of mini documentaries i’m making about people living beyond the should. if a teenager ever does find his/her way to this blog, i hope it takes some of the pressure off. i hope it inspires them to pursue a career/lifestyle that is beyond their wildest dreams. because even if it doesn’t work out exactly as planned, even though it can be pretty freakin’ scary, and your life won't match up to any image that you'll find in a commercial, magazine or movie, you will make enough money to get by, you will meet interesting people, and best of all you will feel fulfilled, liberated, and pretty damn proud of yourself for trying. guaranteed.

we only get one little life. and that's what it should be, no, that's what life is about.


  1. Awesome, sister. Completely :o) Totally powerful and moving (and way to go, Christine!)

  2. Christine! Lovely to see you in this! And Corrie, lovely and necessary initiative, I been working on changing the 'shoulds' for as long as I can remember... Keep on keeping on!