Wow, it’s been a while. Forgive me — I’ve had a lot going on over at Living for Monday. We’re building big things for college students, young professionals, and purpose-driven small businesses if you want to check us out.
Anyways, I want to share the four skills I particularly want to acquire before I die. (These could always change, and the list very well could grow longer over time, but this is it for now.) I would consider these four skills to be part of my epic quest, as Steve Kamb puts it, or my bucket list as popularized in the Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie.
Without further ado:
1. Become an Avid Fly-Fisherman
Throughout my life I have loved fishing. I spent many hours fishing for brim, carp, crappie, and other small fish as a child. Whether on vacation and in a small boat on a remote lake with my dad, or whether on my grandfather’s dock on Lake Lanier… I was enthralled by the act of wrapping bait around a hook, dropping it in the water, and hoping for the best.
And then one day I was out on a lake with my Uncle Chip. I was using the typical fare for a young fisherman — a closed-face spin casting reel. I wasn’t having too much luck, but I was enjoying the time nonetheless. Uncle Chip, on the other hand, was using a fly rod and had hooked a small brim… not too exciting in and of itself until a large mouth bass saw the fish in distress and decided to swallow the brim whole. Long-story short, we set the hook on the bass, my uncle handed me the fly rod, and right then and there I learned how to bring in a fish on a fly rod. I had never used one before, and my uncle set my expectations very low as to whether we would actually land the fish. But lo and behold we did the impossible through a combination of real-time teaching, sheer luck, and a childish belief in the impossible.
I’ve been hooked on becoming a true fly-fisherman ever since.
2. Speak Spanish Fluently
As you may or may not know, my mother’s side of the family is of hispanic descent. My grandmother is 100% of Mexican descent, making me 1/4 Mexican. The point being: the Spanish language is not entirely foreign to my blood, and I think that fact draws me to language more than the average person.
Secondly, my 7th grade Spanish class name was Alfredo. That level of awesomeness in a name can only point to one thing: I am meant to speak Spanish fluently.
If you sense a bit of a facetious tone, it is not for lack of a true desire to speak in another tongue. I love the idea of communicating in a foreign land in the language of the native people. I believe it shows a completely different level of respect for another culture and presents an opportunity to connect with others on a deeper level. Because I am able to speak with an appropriate accent and have developed the most basic of Spanish vocabularies, I would love to build on my knowledge and exercise my skills in either Spain or Mexico.
3. Play a Stringed Instrument
Years ago I tried to follow in my mother’s footsteps by playing the saxophone in middle school band class. Suffice it to say that I was not exactly a naturally talented wind instrument player, so I made the transition to percussion. I am far more adept at producing rhythms than tones, and so the shift worked out well for me.
Because I have always been drawn to tactile activities like sports, yard work, puzzles, and models, it makes be believe that I would be far better with a stringed instrument than I was with a wind instrument. That being said, my tonal recognition is still terrible, so I would almost certainly play out of tune relentlessly.
But no matter — the idea of playing on a violin, viola, or fiddle to entertain my friends at our family’s mountain house is irresistible to me. Becoming engulfed in the The Tudors, a Showtime TV series, and seeing the court musician has further deepened my desire. I don’t expect to be any kind of prodigy, or even a master of the craft. But I do want to give it a shot.
4. Practice a Martial Art
It is not the violence, but rather the pure athleticism required to excel in a martial art that draws me to its practice. I watched my brother grow into a leader while practicing multiple martial arts as a child and eventually earning his black belt. His ability to kick to the sky, defend himself, and develop immense self-confidence through the practice has given me a deep respect for him and other martial artists.
Over time, I know that I will increasingly lose my ability to play baseball, basketball, and other organized sports that require many people to play. But martial arts seems to me as a kind of escape from everything — something I would equate to the practice of yoga for many. It is an opportunity to remain competitive and become an ever-better version of myself. And that is attractive.
So those are the four skills I would love to adopt as hobbies over time. Undoubtedly, I will be unable to completely master all of the above. Indeed, I will almost certainly have to live with a certain lack of perfection with each of the above. And yet still, I am drawn to the idea of adopting hobbies that require concentration, dedicated effort, and expanding my comfort zone.
What skills would you love to adopt over time? Tell me about one in the comments to this post.
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