Monday, December 31, 2012

Self Improvement

I found myself in the "Self Improvement" section of a chain book store today (I still refuse to call it a "bookstore"), and was surprised to see how much the section had grown since I was last there. Along with the books about the colors you should wear and how to decorate your house so that all your stuff is in harmony, there were books about how to adjust your body language to present yourself as a good job candidate, and books about how to completely change your brain. There were books about changing your appearance, and books about improving your memory. There were old classics revamped for modern times, and guidebooks to life written by famous people. There were books recommending religious paths, and books that suggested paths that required disciplines that were not religious. There were books about how to un-clutter your life, how to get things done, how to become more self confident, how to have more self control, and how to have more self esteem. In some cases whatever you might want to change could be a mere seven steps away.

I'm all for expanding life's possibilities and for learning new things, but it seems that the road to any sort of happiness is paved with a good dose of self acceptance. It is fine to "move on" and slough off the skins of ages past, and it is always a good idea to allow grudges to fade and to allow problematic relationships to become less important in the grand scheme of relationships (which sometimes means not having contact with people who make you feel lousy for a while).

I have learned, particularly this year, that people can change and grow for the better, but that each person changes and grows at an individual pace. I have also learned that relationships are complicated, and that everyone involved in any kind of a relationship (including familial and professional ones) has individual nuances to and nuisances in their lives that can cause unwelcome friction (particularly in an election year).

So my resolution this year is one of self-acceptance and a willingness to embrace the old as well as the new. I also intend to stay far away from the "Self Improvement" section of the book store.

So, as part of my resolve to accept myself as I am (and as I have been), I will share this video I made with my family last night. Rachel is singing in the style of the young Michael Jackson, Michael is playing the guitar, Ben is playing an electronic keyboard, and I am playing the flute. It came out of the drawer for the occasion. Even though hearing my "flute voice" makes me cringe a bit, I did play the instrument seriously and constantly for about 15 years before expanding my horizons string-ward.

Enjoy the Motown-style fun, and have a happy 2013!


Carl said...

Hot! Love the flute! Happy New Year to you, Michael and family.


Stephen Owades said...

Clearly the flute merits a bigger place in pop music, and you still sound very good on it. Good to hear you again!

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks Carl and Steve! I still feel kind of like an impostor playing pop music (or maybe--gasp--a person in her 20s, like my kids), but perhaps the compounded-impostor nature of my relationship with the flute makes all things equal in the end.