The Misery of Waiting…

The last few weeks have been awesome and terrifying. Keola went to Utah a couple weeks ago to interview at two universities there to hopefully make a good impression and get admitted into their PhD program. He enjoyed his time at both schools, but by the time he came home, we hadn’t changed our minds about which school we’d rather attend. As “luck” would have it, the other school he didn’t like as much rejected him anyway so I guess the feeling was mutual. Since then he’s been rejected by one school and waitlisted by another school, which leaves our #1 school left. We haven’t heard a yay/nay yet, and we should be finding out within the next day or two, or by next week at the latest.

You know what’s worse than a rejection? Not knowing.

Last night I was telling Keola that this feeling reminds me of the week that I’m due to give birth. Every morning I’d wake up thinking “Today’s the day! We’re gonna have this baby!” And by night I’m dejectedly pouring myself a bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch and slumping on the couch, convinced that I’ll be pregnant for the rest of my life.

Sometimes it seems like we’ll never find out. We’ve jumped through every hoop but this last one, and just like waiting for labor to start, it is taking FOREVER. 

It’d an odd place to be in – stuck between life changing drastically, or life not changing much at all, and youʻd think Iʻd be used to it by now since it feels like 80% of our marriage was spent in this space, but I’m not finding it any easier.  So I’m trying to keep busy with work and…I donʻt know…mindlessly scrolling Facebook so I donʻt have to think about it, and watching Trolls on repeat because itʻs Leoʻs absolute favorite. Somebody put me out of my misery already. 

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Welp, 2016 was officially my worst year for blogging with a whopping FIVE posts, most of which talked about how I don’t really blog anymore. Another blogger called 2016 a “year of rest” from her blog, and I guess mine was on an unintentional sabbatical as well. I can’t say I’ll do much better this year, but I’m going to try to make more of an effort. For example, I switched my website back to an actual blog, so now my writing will be front and center. Having three kids is no walk in the park, and my life has been consumed by so much this past year that blogging necessarily took a back seat. This year looks even busier so we’ll see how things go, but first a quick run-down of things that happened last year:


Printing and shipping shirts and attending events was starting to get overwhelming, and I wasn’t happy or being very creative, so after months of trying to get clear and honest with myself, I came to the conclusion that I had to stop. I began selling everything off, including my heat presses. I’m still not done yet, but most things are gone.

I started taking on more graphic design jobs.

I started my own 100 Day Project, and designed 100 nature inspired patterns in 100 days. I put my favorites onto Society6 and am working on getting them onto Spoonflower as well.

I also randomly started writing psychological reports for a psychologist friend in the last quarter of 2016. It’s fascinating work and it gives me something fairly steady while I work on creating new patterns and building up my Society6 and Spoonflower shops.


Welina turned 1! Whaaaat?! I seriously feel like I JUST gave birth…AAAANND I look like it too…

Leo was diagnosed with autism. We were able to get her into DOE preschool right when she turned 3 in August. So far, she’s thriving there and seems very happy, and we’ve noticed quite a bit of progress socially, though she doesn’t speak (yet.) It’s been an adjustment, and yet it hasn’t, because she’s still our Leo. I’ll probably talk more about this later.

Noweo represented Kindergarten as one of the May Day princesses at school. She looked and did an amazing job and made us so proud!
Noweo represented Kindergarten as one of the May Day princesses at school. She looked and did an amazing job and made us so proud!

Noweo started 1st grade, and started losing teeth this year. Again, Whaaaaat?! What happened to my chubby baby? She’s bright, intelligent, responsible, articulate, and also a crazy 6-year-old. She loves school and has great friends. She’s amazing and I really don’t feel like something as awesome as she is could come from me. 


Having Keola home with me has been great. We’ve learned a lot and have done a lot to support each other, and I think we’ve gotten into a good groove, but we both want him to have a career that he loves, and nothing he’s done so far has really felt like his thing. Ever since he finished his Master’s he’s wanted to get a PhD and become a professor, and we’ve made half-hearted attempts at getting in somewhere, but it never worked out. So, last summer we sat down and decided we were really going to give it our very best effort, and so for the second half of the year we worked our butts off on applications, studying for the GRE, and talking with professors he would like to work with. His application has never been stronger, his scores never higher, and his chances never better. We feel like this year is THE YEAR. Applications are in now, and we’re just waiting to hear back, but if all goes well, we’ll have a white Christmas this year and every year for the next 3-5 years in either Utah, Washington or Oregon. Yay!? Coming to this decision makes it all the more logical to stop selling a physical product for the time being (and probably forever because I like being able to work from anywhere and buying inventory sucks.)

And, to finish off the year, my little brother got married in December! His new wife Mandy is literally the sweetest person you will ever meet. EVER, and we’re sooooo happy for both of them and can’t wait to see what their next moves will be.

Overall, 2016 was a year of reflection, growth, and change. I think we got really honest and clear about what we want (and don’t want) and started to take some real action on it. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings. Hopefully I’ll make the time to blog about it. I’ve missed writing here and I’ve felt the urge to write lately, so I’ll likely be riding that wave in the coming weeks. Talk soon!


I haven’t officially announced our daughter’s birth on the blog, and now she’s almost two months old. Time flies faster the more kids you have FOR SURE. Little Welina (pronounced VEH-LEE-nah) joined our family on July 31, 2015. She made me wait a week past her due date but holds the record for the shortest, most drama-free labor EVER. I have the best L&Ds and I feel a little guilty about that. Anyway, here she is! She’s amazing and perfect and she fits right in. Once again we are wondering how we ever lived without her, and we’ve already forgotten what life was like before her. Our family feels wonderfully complete (for now???) and I couldn’t be happier with our little brood of girls.


Welina’s Birth Story

This needs to start with a virtual apology to Leolani, whose birth story I haven’t written! Poor, poor middle child. I WILL get around to it one day soon.

Though I had a textbook pregnancy with Welina (just like my other two), I was desperate to get her out and get back to normal. Being heavily pregnant with an almost two year old during the HOTTEST summer on record was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. I may or may not be exaggerating, but I’m sure my Facebook friends were sick of my whining.

I thought for sure she would come early. I mean, come on. This was my third baby and my uterus must be all stretched out like an old sock right? Shouldn’t she just FALL out? It often felt like she would, but in actuality I dilated very little in the weeks leading up to her due date, July 24.


The big day came and went. I don’t remember what I did that day but I can assure you I was a total grouch. Every day after that I’d wake up energetic and hopeful, grateful that I was rested and hadn’t gone into labor overnight. Slowly my energy would wane as the day wore on, and by dinner time I would be utterly deflated that I hadn’t gone into labor and I’d go to bed hoping that it wouldn’t happen at night.

My OB called me in on Thursday, July 30 – 6 days overdue, to talk about induction. He told me that the longer I wait, the less safe it is for the baby, and since our local hospital is not fully equipped to handle a birth-related emergency, he felt it would be safest to induce on Friday. I wanted to wait until Monday, but he was off that day and I didn’t want anyone else to induce me. Tuesday felt too long, and (this might sound silly) but August 1st is the cutoff date for Kindergarten so if she was born on Saturday she’d have to wait an entire extra year to start school. So, reluctantly we chose Friday, July 31st to be induced with pitocin. I asked my doc if he would be willing to break the water first and then give me a couple hours to get into labor before starting pitocin, and he agreed.

We went home, got the kids ready and sent them to my parents’ since I was supposed to check in at 6am Friday. I spent the rest of the day trying to get into labor naturally, but nothing happened. Finally at 1:30am I woke up to a strong contraction. The minutes between contractions are some of the longest for a woman wanting to expel a baby. I waited hopefully for the next one. It came and I became a little more certain that I was indeed in labor. Then I went to the bathroom. Sigh. I don’t know how many times I’d mistaken labor for the need to go. After taking care of business, the contractions were weaker but they were still there. I spent the entire night walking around trying to get the contractions to strengthen, but by the time we left for the hospital, they had disappeared completely. It looked like pitocin was in my future, and I was heartbroken. I had had two natural births and perhaps asking for a 3rd was really pushing my luck. I had a good run right?

I was bummed all the way to the hospital, but when we got to the hospital, a little miracle happened. My contractions started back up! They were steady and well-defined and getting stronger with each one. By the time I got set up in bed and hooked up to the monitor, I was definitely in active labor. At this point it wasn’t that bad, so I joked around with the nurses (I had the BEST nurses) while they asked me intake questions and got me set up. My doctor came in and saw I was in labor. He broke the water which was clear – no signs of distress (whew!). The nurses asked if I wanted any pain killers. I hesitated because I had a bit of a traumatic experience with Leo where I freaked out at the end and I didn’t want to lose my cool again, but Keola assured me that I could do it, so it ended up being “No pain meds, thank you.”

Usually I like to get in the shower and rock back and forth but I was so exhausted from being up half the night and walking all over the place that all I wanted to do was lie on the bed and let the contractions come. Keola sat next to me and held my hand through the contractions, coaching me to breathe. I remembered a piece of advice that I hadn’t heard before: Keep your jaw relaxed. If your jaw’s relaxed, your bottom is relaxed so I concentrated on keeping my jaw loose. I also kept my hand that Keola was holding loose too, since hands are often clenched when we’re in pain. Keeping them loose helped me stay in control of my reaction to the pain. I also stayed completely quiet – something I never did before. As the contractions got stronger, I would close my eyes, reach for Keola’s hand and tell my body to go completely limp while my mind went somewhere deep in my brain. It’s hard to explain, but the pain was managed very well this way.

My contractions were far apart – more than 5 minutes but whenever I had one, it was stronger than the last. No one thought I was close to pushing, until my body started pushing involuntarily. It was 7:45am, an hour and a half since we arrived at the hospital and I was at 8cm. The nurse told me to push to see if that would get me to a 10, so I pushed, and she felt the baby move down the birth canal.

She ran for the doctor, who was actually standing by to help with a scheduled C-section that was running late, and he came in to find the baby almost crowning. They quickly got set up and I started pushing. I remember feeling like this was all happening way too fast. I couldn’t believe it was time to meet my baby. I almost wanted to be in labor a little longer. I didn’t feel ready, but ready or not, she was coming, and FAST. I pushed, and her head came out. Another push, then her shoulder. One last effort and the rest of her followed, and then she was on my chest in all her slimy glory, announcing her arrival with a strong, shrill cry. It was 8am, and we hadn’t even been there for two hours.

Of all my birth experiences, which were all special in their own way, this felt the most empowering to me. I had successfully relaxed into the pain, remaining completely calm and silent. In my surrender, I found control. Because I experienced panic with Leo, I didn’t quite trust myself this time, but I discovered that relaxing through the worst of it allowed me to control and ultimately dispel the fear, even though I had no control over my contractions. I don’t meditate, but this time I managed to find complete stillness and peace in the midst of this great effort, and since then I’ve been able to recall that place and that feeling. What a gift.


“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

– 2 Timothy 1:7

Celebrating 9 Years of Love

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I still remember the moment I knew I was going to marry Keola. We were driving around Kahana Bay on Oʻahu in his little maroon pickup. It didn’t have AC, (or a working gas gauge for that matter) so the windows were open and blowing my frizzy hair absolutely everywhere except where I wanted it to be. It was sunny, but the leaves on the trees that lined both sides of the road cast blotted shadows in a rapid game of peek-a-boo between the sunlight and our faces. I had just finished my usual gaze at the “Sleeping Giant,” the profile of a large sleeping man visible from the north wall of the valley, a natural formation but I always wondered what his story was. It’s one of the markers that as a little girl, was a sign that we were 15 minutes away from our grandparents’ home in Lāʻie – one of my very favorite places on earth. The road unfolds over the river, temporarily turning into a too-skinny white bridge and serves as a man-made divide between the valley on the right and the bay on the left. A carpet of needles from old ironwood trees blankets the sand, hiding pinecones like little grenades should you be unlucky enough to step on one with your bare feet.  The river mouth that met the ocean always looked dirty to me and I never had any desire to swim in it, but that never stops the local kids in the area from passing every free daylight hour (and beyond) in its’ waters, splashing around on old dingies, canoes and makeshift rafts, swinging from branches, seeing who could make the biggest splash. It’s one of those places that never seems to change.

We were just passing the river mouth as I leaned my head on his shoulder. I glanced up at him (probably belting the wrong lyrics to whatever was on the radio) and I just knew. This was it. This was the guy I wanted to be with. My best friend, my partner. I wanted to feel the peace of that moment over and over again, and somehow I knew that I would. I kept that moment to myself (not wanting to freak him out) but I knew we would be together always.

I don’t exactly remember when I had that epiphany, (probably sometime in late 2004) and let’s face it, trying to remember ONE anniversary is hard enough. But I do know that nine years ago today (technically tomorrow since I’m writing this the night before) we made it official. We took a giant leap of faith and never looked back. If I thought hard enough (alas, it’s too late at night for my mushy brain to attempt such a feat) I could probably tell you how many times we moved, how many jobs we cycled through, how many cars we’ve owned. But those are just statistics, little mile markers that remind you of what life was like back then that you’ll find in every marriage. Those things don’t define our marriage. It’s just stuff we had, stuff we did to earn money, places we lived because we had to. Now when I look back on our nine years together, I think about the decisions we made and why we made them, the tough conversations we’ve had, the moments of total honesty that led to greater connection, the periods of struggle where every day felt like a marathon, the times he held me up, the times where I held him up, the moments of complete, wide-eyed wonder and beauty that accompanied the birth of our children, the mornings where all we wanted to do was throw the covers over our heads and hide…

It’s been a messy, bumpy, stinky, noisy, sticky, chaotic ride, far from that initial moment of clarity I had all those years ago. We are not without our troubles. Sometimes it feels like we’re just trying to find our way through a dense fog. The honeymoon is DEFINITELY over. Heck, I’m lucky if I get half an hour with him tonight before I pass out on the couch. But memories are wonderful things, little time machines that transport us to different versions of ourselves if we need it. And when I need it, all I have to do is picture that winding road with the trees filtering out the sun, the ocean, and a cute boy, singing his heart out. That feeling of completeness comes rushing back, and I know, even nine years later, that I’m still right where I should be.

Happy Anniversary Hun.

Hi Again!

Where do I even start? After all these months of not blogging…I don’t know where to begin. Life has been so full and crazy and BUSY. I guess I’ll just start with an update and move on from there.


1) If your only contact with me is through this blog, then you surely don’t know that I’m PREGNANT! I was trying to find a photo of my belly and I realized I have ZERO belly shots this time around. Oops! Our third girl will be joining us sometime in July (unless she wants to make me suffer and stay in there till August, which is totally possible because she’s due July 24th.) Let’s hope she’s nice and doesn’t make me wait. It’s been tough being pregnant with a 1 year old. She’s constantly climbing all over me and begging me to carry her, etc. (see above). BUT on the flipside dealing with a 1 year old has kept me in pretty decent shape considering I don’t work out AT ALL. Still, it isn’t easy and I get tired a lot.


2) Noweo finished up her first year of preschool and is on to Kindergarten. Here she is stamping the shirt she wore for their little “graduation.” What???!!! Yeah. It’s crazy how old she is. I’ve been doing this motherhood thing for five years???? Half a decade???? Unbelievable. It’s certainly true for me, that the days are long, but the years are short. I considered home schooling…a lot. I’ve read so much about it and wanted to try it out buuuut ultimately we decided to try Noweo at my old elementary school, where my mom also works. It’s an excellent school and much smaller than the one she’s supposed to go to, so I think she’ll get great attention there. I’m looking at her education as a grand experiment where none of our decisions need to be final. We will probably re-evaluate schooling for our children every year and make adjustments as necessary. That took a big weight off my shoulders because I was seriously agonizing over this and putting it off for months.


3) I worked really hard on SoPupuka for the first half of this year, but now I’m kind of running out of steam because I’m very pregnant. I’m constantly at a loss as to what to do and where I should best focus my time/energy/money. This first half of this year was by far my most successful ever, and I’m so happy about that, BUT it’s also quite a lot of work because I’m printing and tagging and packaging and doing it ALL myself. After a long day of wrangling the kids and then working after they went to sleep, my body would be screaming for rest so I’ve had to slow down. I’ve noticed through this whole process that I’m such a control freak and perfectionist that I have a hard time asking for help. I think I need to do that more, and find ways to work smarter, not harder.


4) Keola is facing unemployment again. We’re not sure if his job will receive funding but we are at the point where we’re tired of having our lives dictated by whether or not some nameless feds sign a piece of paper to reinstate funding. There’s simply no security in it. He’s worked his butt off and we’ve all been raised to think that we’ll be rewarded according to how hard we work but that simply isn’t as true as it used to be. The photo above is from a conference he spoke at presenting his own program that he built from the ground up. He’s worked hard and still some stranger has the power to take away everything he’s worked for with the stroke of a pen? How messed up is that? SO, we decided we’d rather try to make it work on our own. Is it scary? You bet. Especially with another little one on the way, but today we talked to a friend about what are plans are, and he said he thought it was cool that we’re going all in and betting on ourselves. I never thought of it that way, but that’s exactly what we’re doing, and the truth is, if you can’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Are we as ready as we’d like to be? No, but we’re a good team, and we’ll figure it out.


5) Keola’s writing a book! It’s actually a REALLY cool concept but he doesn’t like me explaining it because I always do such a horrible job. The basic premise is what if Hawaiian deity were actual people who lived and worked among us? …AAAND that’s all I’ll say about that. The characters have amazing depth and I feel like if I started talking about the actual story, I could go on forever. I’m so excited for him and for this idea. Serious.

And that’s about it. I know I said I wouldn’t blog here anymore, but I had to make changes to SoPupuka which eliminated the blog I was supposed to be writing over there so here I am again. I want to blog a lot more but at the same time I just want to be chill about it and make sure that I’m enjoying what I’m writing and not putting too much pressure on myself.

Talk soon!

Happy Birthday Leo!

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By the time this post goes live on your birthday, a hurricane will have swept through our island. It’s already done damage to nearby areas. I’m so glad I’m not about to have a baby like I was  year ago when you joined our family Leo. What a way to end your first year! That means your birthday is likely gonna be lame, but we’ll do our best to make it fun for you.

Unlike tonight’s weather, your transition into life on the outside has been mostly smooth and blissful (at least that’s what I remember now.) Giving birth to you was intense and quick. You ate and slept really well from the get-go. You sailed through crawling, decided that didn’t get you around fast enough and graduated to walking a couple months later. You eat EVERYTHING. You can’t get enough. You eat more than Noweo.

You are mischievous, you have an amazing sense of humor, the most infectious laugh that’s part scream. You give big open mouthed wet kisses. You like to grab my face. You dance to Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, Iggy Azalea (Fancy) and the Everybody Loves Raymond theme song. Your smile. It drives everyone nuts it’s so cute.

You and your sister love each other to pieces. The other day you let yourself fall backwards and the back of your head hit her in the face while she was lying next to you. It hurt and she cried and your daddy jokingly asked Noweo if he should give you a spanking. With very serious, tear filled eyes she looked up at him and said “No Daddy, because I love her!” My heart just melted and I was so proud in that moment. I know you don’t have your words yet, but your eyes say it all, and I know you love your sister back.

I used to wonder if I could love anyone as much as I love Noweo, but you taught me that as our family grows, so does my heart and capacity to love. Loving you is effortless – like breathing. I’m sure you’re going to test that love over and over again as the years go by, and we’ll drive each other crazy and that’s just life, but I’m so glad it’s you.

Happy Birthday Leolani.

Living Your Dream, Right Now


“The absolute, most sure-fire way of physically moving in the direction of your dreams on a day-to-day basis, without messing with the “cursed hows,” is living them, now, to any degree that you can.”

This quote showed up in my Facebook timeline the other day, posted by a friend of mine. It articulates perfectly some of the things I’ve been thinking about and feeling lately. I tend to be the type of person that thinks like this: “If I can’t have it all, and if it’s not perfect, and if I can’t have it RIGHT THIS INSTANT, I don’t want it.”


It’s a character flaw of mine I suppose – not being patient and working diligently towards a goal. Of course, that’s not entirely true. I play the piano (though I’m out of practice), I play the flute, I graduated from high school and college. I taught myself graphic design and started a business and had (and stopped, and started and stopped hehe) and had two kids who I’m proud to say are still alive. All those things take diligence and patience and hours and HOURS of work. But lately I’ve been feeling like time is passing by faster and faster and faster and getting from 0 to 100 takes too long. I have dreams. Keola and I have dreams. We have things we want to do. We can see the life we want for our family, but it seems so far off and almost unattainable that it’s almost easier to just hold on to what we’ve got – except we know we can be greater than what we are.


The solution to our dilemma is found in that quote, and lately, we’ve been doing just that – little things that are moving us toward the life we want to be living. We’re both former athletes. We want to be more active as a family – so we started exercising together. Noweo and I like to run together, and I can totally see that becoming our thing. We went on a hike last week to a cinder cone (where lava used to shoot out but it’s dormant and now it houses an ancient forest) so we can get some exercise, re-connect with nature, practice photography and explore a cool new place that our kids have never seen before.



Keola wants to publish a novel, so he’s been working on it a little every day. I of course am working on new designs and expanding my product line and looking into new methods of production. I’m also looking into ways to gain more skills and education in the world of graphic arts.


One day, we’d like to be working for ourselves and having our kids working and learning along-side us. We’ve always been a family that loves being together and we’ve hate that Keola has to leave us for 8 hours a day and go to work. We haven’t realized that goal yet, and all the work we have to do to get there seems daunting, but when I think about what we’re currently doing, we are actually living much of our dream right now. It’s not everything, but it’s what we can do today to move us in the right direction, and it’s already making a difference.

What do you want for your life that seems too far away to ever happen? What can you do TODAY to make that dream happen?

Looking forward to August


It’s been a while since I came up with goals for the month and I thought that since I have a ton of things I want to get done in a very short amount of time, I’d better get more organized about how I divide my tasks and spend my time. Luckily, the perfect post landed in my inbox this morning with some great tips, many of which I used to plan out August. I’m not going to re-write what was already shared, except to say I filled out my editorial calendar, I made a list of projects I’m planning to push this month, I broke down each project into small tasks, and I wrote them all in my planner. Now instead of wasting time on Facebook or Instagram because I’m not quite sure what I should be doing, I should be able to look at my planner and say “Oh. I’m supposed to be ordering decals right now,” and then go and do that.

Besides business-y stuff that’s happening, Noweo’s starting preschool. She will be there all day and I’m not sure how I’m gonna cope. I think she’ll be fine, but I don’t know if I can handle her being away ALL DAY. Part of me is looking forward to it and all the extra stuff I’ll be able to get done without her around, and part of me is really sad that she’ll be spending more waking hours with other people than with me. I can always pull her out of extended day so we’ll see how it goes.

Leo’s turning one in a week and we haven’t planned anything. Just a day together as a family and then a simple dinner with our extended family. We’re pretty low key that way.

So, without further ado, here are my goals for the month:

1) Run test prints on several new products I want to add to the shop

2) If all goes well, list and start selling those products

3) Exercise every day


5) Go on a hike

What are your big plans for this month?

Around Here

It’s been a few days since we returned from Maui. It’s taken us that long to get back into the swing of things but we’re well on our way to Normal Life, especially here on the blog. Maui was wonderful in so many ways. We saw friends, enjoyed good food, celebrated our anniversary with a night a Lahaina (the first time EVER we’ve both been away from our kids overnight!!), explored new beaches, and hung out with the family.

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It was wonderfully refreshing, and I miss it, but now I’m ready to get back on the horse. I’ve had so many ideas spinning in my head and this post is mostly a brain dump for those new ideas.

Thanks to my new camera, I re-vamped, re-photographing and listing everything. I added some new Mahalo cards and a some Honi Honi decals (I have very few of those and will probably need more) so now that’s up and running. It’s not perfect but it’s better and I’m done endlessly tweaking things.

I want to add a few new trucker hats to the mix, some new decals and some tote bags. No ETA yet, but that’s in the works, along with a new @sopupuka Instagram. I’ve decided that’s my platform of choice for the shop and so that’ll be up and running in the next few days.

I have another crazy idea that I’m working on. I could either really love it, or really hate it, but since it’s been something that hasn’t left my mind for along time I think I’m gonna move on it. There’s no harm in trying it out, and I’ve learned that as far as my business goes, there’s no reason I can’t try new things. I used to think that once you start a business, you’re obligated to do whatever it is you started out doing FOREVER, but in looking at the examples of other entrepreneurs, that hardly seems to be the case, and I feel an immense freedom now at the ability to do whatever is speaking to me at any given moment.

BONUS: This podcast episode about thinking productively about your passions falls exactly in line with what I’ve been thinking about lately.