Saturday, November 6, 2010

Celebrate the Eclectic

If you are a regular reader or if you know me in real life, you know I have eclectic taste in music. My iPod on shuffle mode could yield this mix: Led Zepellin, Frank Sinatra, Kenny Chesney, Rachmaninof, Coldplay, Tommy Castro, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, the Beach Boys and Billie Holiday. It would all make sense to me. The playlist I’m listening to as I write this includes Santana, DMB, U2, Shinedown, The Cranberries and Elton John. It is not on shuffle; I made this one.

Most Boomers I know are stuck on one kind of music, usually songs they liked in high school. The funny thing is this: in the middle of the Boomer time frame, radio stations played a variety of songs almost as eclectic as my own taste. My earliest radio listening memories included a station that played the Rolling Stones back to back with Barbara Streisand.

I have always had the highest regard for people who are open to a wide variety of ideas. Eclectic is good and something that should be celebrated, in my opinion.

Music is not the only indicator of eclectic taste and openness of mind. Look around your home or work space. What is on your shelves or walls? Does your furniture match? If not, is it intentional mismatch?

My home office desk, where I’m sitting right now, is pure Office Depot, circa 1998. One lamp is a relic from the early 1960s, the other is 1930s style arts & crafts purchased last year at Target. The wall art: two poster prints purchased at the New Orleans Jazzfest a few years ago from the artists who created them.

Most of the other furniture is Scan or Ikea but there is an early 50s secretary in the corner (pictured at right). It belonged to my parents at one time. The art on the wall next to it are two of my mother’s paintings done in the 1970s and that 1920s looking portrait really is a 1920s photo of my great-grandfather. It is likely that the picture was taken in Sicily and the frame is of the same vintage as the photo.

A professional designer would likely say that none of it goes together but it all makes sense to me.

My friends are eclectic too. My closest friends range in age from 39 to 59; most but not all are female, most but not all are straight, most but not all are married. Hair color: brown, red, blond, black, gray. Geography: Maryland, Virginia, DC, Louisiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Hawaii, UK. Employment: education, media, mental health care, animal care, real estate, motherhood, retirement.

As I write about my eclectic friends and think about the variety of interests they each have, I realize one thing they all have in common: a love of music. Some of them have music tastes as eclectic as mine.

Well, that’s all for this post. No grand conclusion, other than that I encourage you to always be open to new ideas in all parts of your life. Celebrate the eclectic.

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