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We all have comfort zones. Personal, professional, emotional, intellectual.

I think about that a lot when I consider future study. Especially future formal study. To some extent the next program or coursework I engage in is determined by what I’ve studied before (language, literature, writing). But there is some give within the humanities–and my last degree had a little of everything.

At the moment, I’m testing the waters, academically speaking. Reading up on programs. Perusing scholarly journals. Thinking about how I might apply my skills and interests in different ways. I could go very traditional or extremely weird, depending how I spin it.

This isn’t just about next steps, though. If I have a goal each year, it’s to challenge myself. To be uncomfortable. To be bad at things. To indulge curiosity. To overcome biases. In addition to expanding my academic studies, I want to learn how to do more things. How to make things. And fix them.

With that goal in mind, I’m trying to work on a new skill each month. (Distinct from continuing previous skills like foreign language, coding, music, and cooking.) I haven’t chosen all of them yet but they range from the very practical (basic plumbing) to the entirely creative (drawing) with a little of everything in between.

I’m a little leery of anything that will require a lot of specific supplies (knitting, for one), but I don’t want to dismiss too much out of hand. Balance in that, I suppose, as in everything else. And I’m certainly willing to take suggestions.

The point isn’t to become an expert, but to gain some competency in activities I want to know how to complete or feel I should know how to complete. (I should probably review driving stick and changing a tire when I get the chance…) And to challenge myself, of course.

What skills do you want to pick up?

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