Editorial:
Learn New Skills to Add Fun to Your Life

Posted by Angela Miakoda
August 2, 2018 - 7:03pm EDT

Last year, at 53, I started learning how to play guitar. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but despite constantly telling my clients not to get in their own way, I’d been getting in mine for years. Telling myself that I was too old to learn an instrument and that I’d be terrible at it anyway.

Well, I’m still pretty terrible, but with each new chord learned, I feel a sense of achievement.

If your like me you have skills and hobbies that you enjoy doing weekly or even daily. But what if you changed things up and tried to actively learn something new? Think of it as a chance to broaden your horizons and potentially discover a new passion. There are plenty of fun, new skills that people of any age can learn online or with a group of friends. Here are a few ideas of new pastimes that can improve your life.

Photography

Since cell phones have become ubiquitous, everyone thinks they are a photographer, but there’s a difference in whipping out your iPhone to capture a sunset and using a high-quality camera when you know what you’re doing. Photography lessons online are a great place to start. Taking a class where you can learn in person and get feedback from a knowledgeable teacher will also improve your skills immensely. Another advantage to learning to take great photos: You can frame them as art for your house!

Cooking

You’ve probably seen a few cooking shows, and who doesn’t want to chop and dice like the pros? Here’s a list of 10 of the top things every budding foodie should know - this is a great place to start. While you can find other cooking tips and lessons online, nothing will improve your cooking skills like taking a live class in a kitchen with a chef. This is a great group activity for you and your friends. Once you get home, check out some recipe sites for hundreds of new recipes to try.

Coding

If you want to learn a new skill not just to make yourself a more well-rounded person but to make some extra money or even change your career, it would be hard to find a better option than coding. Once you know how to code, you can build websites, create new programs and even start your own business. Coding is a valuable tech skill that can bring many rewards. One of the best places to start learning is Code Academy, where you can join millions of others taking lessons for free. Coding will help you learn how to think differently as you learn how the process works - the earlier you can start, the more effective your training.

Dog Training

If you’re really into animals, or if you just have a dog at home that needs to behave better, you might want to learn some techniques to train dogs. Here’s a good first tutorial to get you started. As you begin training your pooch, remember that you don’t have to start from scratch. Useful in so many situations, “sit” is often the first command dogs learn. In fact, most dogs “sit” on their own, so all you have to do is connect the command to the behavior. Once you have these basics down, you can continue to follow your passion to become a professional dog trainer.

If I didn’t cover a skill you’re interested in, there are dozens more out there. Just search online for “how to learn ____” and you’ll likely find plenty of resources. The point is that thanks to technology, the opportunity to improve yourself is better right now than it has ever been. Find something you’re interested in, and after a few weeks of working on it, you’ll be surprised to discover you have new skills. You may even find new friends and deepen current friendships if you pursue a new skill with a group of friends.

 - Julie Morris