Friday 3 February 2012


My friend and I were talking the other night over dinner (a flash dinner as we call it, as we both had to return to sick children, which meant inhaling one’s dinner and trying not to develop indigestion) and we were discussing how great it would be to be able to dedicate one’s life to amassing as many skills as possible. And not just skills, but mastering a craft, spending real time on something that one has always desired to learn - one man’s neuroscience is obviously another man’s underwater basket weaving - be it the mundane or completely outlandish. 

Granted this transient, yet intellectually stimulating approach to life would require a ton of time, money and energy – things that not everyone has; but it got me thinking about the things I’d love to learn before the grim reaper comes and taps me on my shoulder (give me time Mr. Reaper please, lots of time). There are of course items on the bucket list that although incredibly worthy, also seem to smack of cliché, you know the ones: learn a language, play an instrument, learn to fix a flat tire (Is that just me?). And there is certainly nothing wrong with that, learning a language is an extremely useful skill that most of my dear countrymen lack (obviously I’m disregarding all the Spanish speaking individuals residing in California. They’re doing just fine on the bi-lingual front).

But if one were to think outside the box in terms of acquiring new skills, just think of the possibilities. I could learn to fly a hot-air balloon (mmm, heights, not my thing), or weld (although that helmet looks claustrophobic), or fence (not very partial to knives), or lay bricks. I bet I’d be a damn good bricklayer considering it takes precision and a meticulous eye for detail. Then there are the skills that one would never dream about trying, but may just come in handy one day. Like, I don’t know, driving a bus - you never know if you were being chased by an axe murderer and saw an abandoned bus that you had to drive...Okay, I watch too much TV. I mean, how many times have your cursed the bus driver for running late, or being crazy on the accelerator, and then stopped and thought, holy hell, how does he navigate this thing through tiny English streets without taking out half the population. Well-done Mr. Bus Driver!

Then of course there are the things that I know I would just suck at and to be honest, I never want to try no matter how long I live. Like, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. I don’t like heights, the bitter cold, or coming down with altitude sickness, or of course losing my toes to frostbite; so that’s out. And adding to that, my claustrophobia prevents me from wanting to do things like scuba dive or go down into a coal mine. I mean, I’m sure the fish are beautiful down there, but I’ll take your word for it and watch Planet Earth a few more times on the Discovery channel. Not to mention, coal. So dirty.

So fine, the list may be narrowed down due to preferences and neuroses, but beyond this, I challenge you; pick one thing this year to try and master. Okay, forget master, let’s go easy on ourselves and just say attempt. Who knows, by the end of the year, I may be the fencing champion of the world...I dream big, what can I say.

Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed