10 Things I’d Love to Learn How to Do




Just over a month ago, we lost my husband’s cousin at a tragically young age.


About the same time, one of my best friends said goodbye to her forty-one year old brother-in-law, the father of three, who had always been incredibly healthy until, one day, the cancer showed up.


Today is the thirteenth anniversary of 9-11.


All of these things make us realize how unpredictable life can be. All of these things remind us that we need to treasure the days we are given, no matter how short they may be.


Thinking about all this made me think of bucket lists– it’s interesting to think about all the things we hope to do or accomplish before we leave this earth. From the mundane to the profound, there are a whole lot of options out there!




Today, both to honor those whose lives were cut short and to deliberately avoid bringing more “heaviness” to the writing community, I thought I’d share ten things I’d love to learn how to do before my days are done:


  1. Speak Italian– fluently. I took a few semesters of Italian in college. I was good at it! Given that I passed my French fluency test and also had some Spanish under my belt, this wasn’t a surprise. But you know what? I’ve lost it. I really can’t speak it at all anymore. I can understand everyday speech and read a little, but I would love to speak Italian with beautiful fluency.
  2. Play the harp. Oh, the harp! What a stunning instrument. I played the piano and the violon, and they’re both lovely. But, if I could learn any other instrument, I’d pick the harp.
  3. Drive a stick. I don’t really like driving much. I’ve been told that I’d enjoy it a lot more if I were driving a stick. I don’t know if that’s true, but, either way, I feel like this would be a valuable skill.
  4. Sew really well. I can mend. And do hand work. That’s about it. And I have a sewing machine! I’d like to learn how to sew really well, but I never seem to take the time to make it a priority.
  5. Make stellar pasta. I would really love to be able to knock out amazing pasta for dinner a couple times a week. This is one of those things that I can do, but it’s not fantastic enough for me to do often. I’d like to get better!
  6. Knit baby hats. Some day, I’d like to be able to basically knit hats in my sleep so I can crank out preemie hats for children’s hospitals. I want it to be memorized and second nature. Think that’s possible?
  7. Ballroom dance. I’m not a natural dancer. It’s so sad, but it’s true. I like dancing. And I’d love to glide around the floor. But, without a VERY strong lead, I’m not in great shape out there. It makes me so bummed that it doesn’t come naturally– I try to comfort myself with the fact that I have a good singing voice, but it’s really not the same.
  8. Apply eye liner properly. I have no idea what I’m doing, people. In reality, I don’t need much eye makeup, but I so enjoy playing with the stuff. And I have no idea what I’m doing. (YouTube has not helped me, lest you think that’s the solution.)
  9. Mountain climb. As a child, I clamored over the rocky cliffs of Newport, RI and loved every minute. I absolutely adored planning my hand- and foot-holds. Today, I’m an avid hiker and I still enjoy a challenge, but I’ve always loved the idea of truly scaling the side of a mountain. Bring it on!
  10. Read the skies. I took Astronomy my junior year in high school. Did I tell you all that story? I petititioned it up to an honors level and took it in place of Physics because, since it didn’t have a lab period, I could then add a second foreign language. All my (fellow nerd) friends took Physics and I teased them at the awards ceremony, knowing they’d be the ones getting the geeky science honors. First name called? Me. For Astronomy. Ha! Anyway, I loved studying the stars. I’d love to know more about it.



And that’s ten! That was fun. Truly. Are any of those things you’d like to learn? If not, what would YOU love to learn how to do?

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3 comments to 10 Things I’d Love to Learn How to Do

  • Becky

    YES to #6!! I cherish the little hats made for my babies. My mother and her knitting friends knit (or crochet?) blankets to give to their sheriff department for the officers to give to a kid if it has to be taken in an emergency.

  • Elizabeth

    I’d love to learn several of the things on your list as well! I like your emphasis on things to learn to do, because they’re, well, doable. My bucket lists includes things like traveling all over the world, but that’s an expensive dream! I feel like learning to do things is generally not very expensive and much more realistic in terms of actually making it happen. Here’s what’s interesting to me:

    Speak Italian – and other languages. I want to learn SO many languages, but I’d probably start with improving my French skills, because I took several years of that in college but I’m losing it as time goes by.

    Play the…not harp, but piano or guitar or something else. I have a super cheap bass guitar that I am sloooooowly teaching myself to play. I took piano lessons for a little while as a young child. I’d like to become actually proficient at an instrument instead of just vaguely knowing my way around. Piano or guitar seem most practical, but I’m also drawn to the oboe. I love oboe music.

    Sew really well. Yes! I dabble around with making clothes, but I’m better at modifying existing garments. I’ve never managed to make a piece of clothing from a pattern. I’d like to learn the basics, and progress to the more complicated stuff. Dressmaking sounds like so much fun!

    Ballroom dance. I took a few Arthur Murray lessons a few years ago and loved it. The inability to justify the expense at the time made me stop. I did 13 years of other dance (modern, jazz, some ballet) as a kid, so I know I’m coordinated. I’d really like to be able to waltz, tango, and swing dance, not to mention salsa dancing!

    Apply eye liner properly – I kind of have this one down. Kind of. I’d like to figure it out more. YouTube has never helped me, either, but I have found that tutorials on thebeautydepartment.com are helpful. Have you checked out their blog? It’s run by a professional makeup artist and hair stylist from Hollywood. They’re the real deal, and they break down their tips and tricks into doable steps for real people. I find them more helpful than any YouTubes I’ve watched.

    Read the skies – I did take physics and LOVED it, but I’d love to learn astronomy as well.

    Other things I’d like to learn to do? Finally finish the novel I’ve been working on for 10 years(!). That’s kind of learning and kind of just doing, but it doesn’t cost a penny, so I’m putting it in here. Learn to make pie crusts. Learn to do higher-level math (I know high school stuff and I took probability and statistics for my math requirement in college, but I’d love to learn calculus and trig). Learn to figure skate. And the list goes on. :)

    • I love your list, Elizabeth– those are great!! Trig was my very favorite math, hands-down. I did Calc, but I don’t know if I could do it anymore, to be honest. I will definitely have to check out that makeup site you mentioned– thanks! :)

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