7 useful (and not-so-useful) things I’d like to learn


Here’s a fun game: I’ll list a few things I’ve always wanted to learn how to do, and you do the same in the comments. They can be useless, mundane, or strangely obscure and might range anywhere from this is something I could actually learn starting today to it’s cool in theory, but I probably won’t ever do it.

So here are just a few of mine. I’d love to learn…

How to play the drums. Or piano. Or  both. And the mandolin, primarily so I can play along as I belt out the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”: And I DON’T want the wo-orld to see me /’cause I DON’T think that they’d understaaand /when EVERYTHING’S MADE to be broken /I just waaa-ant you to kno-ow who I am. Oh, 9th grade angst!

Web and graphic design. I say this with hesitation because customizing this layout here was a royal pain in the ass. But the reward (my pretty blog!) felt so so so good that I might just be masochistic enough to keep learning.

How to speak Spanish with some level of coherence. I mean, you’d think after eight years of Spanish classes I’d have some grasp on the language. And yet, it’s all I can do to correctly recall the conjugations for simple present tense verbs. Also, knowing the difference between the words sopa and jabón.

How to hula hoop. Seriously, I can’t hold that shit up for more than five seconds.

How to write using calligraphy. Guys, my handwriting is atrocious. You should see my 5 Year Diary! You may say the art of calligraphy is antiquated, and I would say that you are NO FUN. I’d love to have a signature that actually looks pretty. As opposed to one that looks different every time I sign a credit card slip. (My dad says this is a sign I might be a sociopath? Okay, dad.)

How to develop film. Another dying, outdated art? WRONG. Film photography is still going strong, and I’d love to be able to navigate a dark room and blow up my own photos.

Self-defense. For obvious reasons. My weak punch could use a little work, and literally no one (including babies) would be intimidated by my skinny arms. But we all know a woman’s physical strength is primarily in the legs, and I’d love to learn how to flip a potential attacker on his ass using lower body strength and pure adrenaline. (Kinda like this.) Don’t. Mess. With this.


All right, it’s your turn. What random practical or impractical things have you always wanted to learn? These days, with so many free resources available online, there’s kind of no excuse for not learning stuff you’re interested in. So I’ll be up in my room on YouTube learning the best way to kick a groin if you need me.

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  1. I share a lot of yours, actually! I took six years of Spanish and am completely useless at it now. I want to take a class and brush up.

    Calligraphy is fun. When I was about 12 I taught myself and went through a phase of writing in calligraphy!

    I want to learn web and graphic design SO MUCH, for multiple reasons, but the cost of Adobe Creative Suite is prohibitively expensive.

    I also want to learn how to sail. And I know how to ride a bike, but I’m terrible at it.

    • You can easily get started in web design with a copy of Photoshop Elements, a free code editor like Adobe Code and (possibly) a $30/mo subscription to Typecast. WordPress is free. Start there. The big tools can come after you’ve decided if you want to pursue it as a career. And then it becomes a write-off 😀

      Or, enroll in a community college design course and buy the student version for a ridiculously good price.

      Just don’t let something as silly as money stop you!

    • Ever thought about a Adobe “creative cloud” subscription?
      You’ll get all the tools from the creative suite plus nice little extra stuff for a monthly fee.

      I think I also read that one can subscribe just for photoshop or any other tool one might need.

  2. Learning French is at the top of my list just now. I’d also like to learn some carpentry skills so that I wouldn’t have to call my dad every time I need something bigger than a postcard installed in my apartment and I could one day buy a fixer-upper home and then fix it up.

    I thought I wanted to learn web design too, but I took a course and discovered that I just straight up loathed it. So, as useful as it might be, I think I’ll leave that one to braver souls like yourself!

    Oh! And I want to re-learn to salsa and swing dance.

    Oh god, Cassie, you’ve just upped my to-do list by a zillion.

  3. I’ve always wanted to learn and be proficient at a musical instrument. Some that I’ve tried include piano, guitar and violin. I have a terrible time at letting myself suck, so I’ve never really gotten past the basics on any of them.

  4. 1) I really want to learn to play guitar. Really badly.

    2) Ride a bike. It’s pathetic that I can’t.

    3) Make friends. Like real, honest to goodness, can call them up at any point and time for anything, that will be in my life forever.

  5. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play cello, speak and read Russian, and how to do pottery. None of these have any bearing in my real life.

  6. Oooh, I like this. I’d like to learn Portuguese (and French and Norwegian and Italian, but let’s not get carried away here), take some kind of filmmaking class, totally agree with you on the learning how to develop film thing, and I really want to learn how to make cheese. To name a few. =]

  7. 1) How to make pottery using a wheel (throwing, as they call it)

    2) I want to learn how to surf

    3) I’d like to learn how to play the piano or guitar

    4) I’d like to learn to knit better – like be able to follow patterns and stuff. I can only make simple scarves right now.

    5) I’d like to learn to speak better French – or re-learn.

    6) I’d like to learn how to use Photoshop better

    7) I’d love to learn to snowboard – it looks so fun.

  8. Five seconds with the hula hoop isopod compared to what I can muster. I used to blame my lack of hula hoop skills on my lack of hips, but lately I’ve been developing some decidedly child-bearing hips, so maybe I’d be better at it now? I’d live to really learn French, sewing and cake decorating. Also, how to catch a football.

  9. Haha. Love your list! And the idea! Made me think. What I always wanted to learn:
    1. Arabic
    2. How to chop vegetables really quickly.
    3. To surf.
    4. To give massages

    Can’t think of anything else! Lots of things I want to get better at though!

  10. Learning Korean is at the top of my list… I’d also love to learn how to play guitar.

  11. I’d love to properly play the guitar or the piano to play along as I sing my heart out to Iris or Wonderwall.

    It would also be nice to put those 5 years of French-langauge classes to good use and actually be able to speak it properly, or Swedish, I miss hearing Swedish babble around me.

    Taking an improv-class scares me to the bone but I’d love to find out if I can do it. Not that I would need this skill but it won’t hurt either.

  12. I’ve always wanted to be kick-ass at lettering too, so I’m taking this class in May: http://www.skillshare.com/Illustration-and-Lettering-A-Hands-on-Approach-to-Label-Design/463036035/1209248592/classroom

    I also really want to learn to drive a Bobcat so I can go on a beer run and drive it home with a 12 pack in the dirt bucket thingy.

    And while I’d love to learn to play guitar, I don’t think my carpal tunnels would appreciate it :s

    • Cool class, thanks for the link!

      And you win the favorite comment award. Now that you mention it, I can think of no better skill than learning to drive a Bobcat. It’d make beer runs a hell of a lot more interesting.

  13. I’ve actually already crossed a few things of your list off of mine 🙂

    Things I want to learn?
    – How to surf and kite surf! (haha, I just went back through the comments after writing this and realized it’s a pretty common goal)
    – How to make good decisions!
    – Really improve my ukulele skills.
    – How to just eat one piece of chocolate, not the entire bar.
    – How to walk in high heels.

  14. Yes to Spanish! I took Italian for five years, but I think Spanish is more useful. I actually got a Rosetta Stone knock-off for Christmas because I am determined to learn the basics. For awhile I was gungho about auditing a Span 101 course at the school I work for, but the times that class is offered always conflict with the 9-5. Sigh.

    I love the hula hooping one too. Do you know anyone with a Wii? The Wii Fit has some hulahooping, it’s a good way to practice getting the hooping rhythm down!

  15. Ooooooooooh good list! Like the idea!

    Hmm? I want to speak German fluently, learn how to surf (not just the web), maybe even knit, and COOK! Do more than the basic old lady yoga poses… maybe drive a stick someday…

    I asked my boyfriend and he said he wants to learn the bagpipes. 🙂 So there’s his comment for your blog too!

  16. Si quieres, yo te puedo hablar en español todo el dia. Se hablarlo, leerlo, y escribirlo, pero soy de Puerto Rico y hablamos con un “slang” horrrrrible.

    I totally want to learn self-defense!

    Other things I really want to learn someday:
    – How to prepare a proper Thanksgiving meal.
    – How to play the guitar.
    – How to change a tire.
    – How to shoot a gun.
    – How to coupon and get awesome deals.
    – How to scuba dive.

    • I love it when you speak Spanish to me. Also, I understood what you said! So YAY ME for not entirely sucking at Spanish. Enseñarme español, por favor.

  17. I would love to get an “old school” camera and learn to develop film, as well!

    Also on my list of things to learn:
    -Knitting: I swear I am not an old grandma. Just seems like a good time-filler
    -Teaching: Somethiing, anything – I am horrible at trying to explain things.
    -Upholster furniture: Not as a career, just my own stuff.

    Stopping by from 20SB!

  18. Hmm this has inspired me to make a similar list, I can’t think of many things off the top of my head other than “learn to run a marathon” haha but I know there are more 🙂

    Oh, and get yourself a Hoopnotica beginner’s hula hoop and I promise you’ll keep it up (twss) no problem!

    • HAH. Even though I’ve never seen the acronym, I knew what “twss” meant, because I immediately thought it to myself after reading “keep it up.”

  19. Minus the hand writing and learning how to develop film, this is my list too – especially Drums and Spanish. (although, my signature is an embarrassment)

    I think I would like to learn how to draw and how to paint as well.

  20. Breakdancing

  21. Oooh, I either agree with all of these or have some experience with them. I used to be able to write calligraphy fairly well, I can develop black and white photos (and it’s actually SUPER easy – if you can get access to a dark room I’d say go for it), and I play the drums with some level of competence.

    I think my biggest things would be cooking more complicated meals, singing (which will never happen, sadly, I just was not made to sing, ever), and learning another language. Preferably French, because I already have the foundation down and it’s actually useful considering where I live.

  22. Fun fact: I won my school’s hula hoop contest on Field Day every year in elementary school. 😛

    Things I’d like to learn:

    More programming languages. I’m going to school for this, so hopefully it will happen soon!

    How to publish a book.

    How to play the drums. This has always been a desire of mine too. Another instrument I’d like to learn how to play: the cello. I’ve always thought it’s one of the coolest instruments.

    To knit/crochet. I’m so jealous of people who can make pretty scarves and sweaters!

    Some kind of martial art. This kind of ties in with the self-defense thing, but I’d really love to be as badass as Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill. On that note, I’d also really like to learn how to use a katana.

    Any second language.

    How to drive a stick shift.

  23. HAHA. I like how a lot of yours are the same as mine.

    One. Another language. I studied french and Spanish for years and I would love it if one day I was fluent in either one. But if I were going to learn a new language it would be something like sign-language or some random tribal language spoken by like two hundred people or something.

    Two. A musical instrument. Music is magic. Who doesn’t want to move people like that?

    Three. How to spell. I mean I’m grad-school, but it’s never too late, right?

    Four. How to swim. I love being in the water, but I can’t swim well. And the thing about swimming is that it’s vastly different than walking. If you’re walking and you get tired you stop. If you’re swimming and you get tired you die. So if the polar ice-caps ever melt I want to be prepared.

    Five. Perseverance . I’ve been trying to stop eating sweets for a while now.

    Six. How to drive a stick. The zombie apocalypse is coming and I don’t want to be the goober who gets pulled from his car and eaten because he couldn’t drive his manual car away from the zombies.

    Seven. To always have a sense of wonder.

  24. I already play piano, speak Spanish and do graphic design. But I’d love to learn random things like archery and fencing, how to speak Gaelic, jewelry making, and becoming competent at gardening (the rate at which plants die around me is astonishing).

  25. I used to know how to play the piano. I think it was easier to learn by the letter method, and then by the music notes method. Then again, it was a long time ago. Now, I can still play some things. I used to be able to hula hoop for a while as well, but I was in dance. It helps if you can jump rope, balance yourself on one foot, etc. Did you ever have a Skip It? I don’t know if that helps, but it was a bit similar to hula hooping… :p

    I’d like to learn to crochet. I used to know how as well, but I kept forgetting over the years. My grandmother is teaching me again, though, so perhaps I’ll learn how again! This time, I’ll hopefully keep the skill. 🙂 I’d also like to continue learning web design, and someday I hope to have some sort of a knack for graphic design.

    I hope that you do eventually get to learn these! Good luck! 🙂

  26. I want to learn how to play drums too! And to play guitar. And to sew. All at the same time; now that would be a talent!

  27. hula hoop! yes! i’d add sewing to my list, and bike riding. it’s a little ridiculous that i can’t do that at this point 🙂

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  29. I love your pup! We have a chihuahua/dachsound mix, and she is the light of our lives! We take her with us when we go wheeling in our Jeep, and sometimes we stay out past sunset. When we slip on our hoodies, so does she… sort of. I took the sleeve from an old hoodie of mine (it was stained & torn), and turned it into a hoodie for Lula! I also took some old ski pants, & made her a waterproof, fleece lined (scraps from the old hoodie) overcoat! Now she is the most stylish pooch on the trails, not to mention the cutest!

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