A little while ago I came across this quote by the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Is that great or what? I couldn't agree more. In our modern age, jobs have become so specialized that many people only ever become really good at one or two things. Furthermore, the proliferation of convenience products on store shelves enable us to get along without any sort of proficiency in even basic skills, like cooking or scrubbing a floor. But human existence can and should entail so much more than a narrow life of going to work, coming home and popping some food into the microwave. We are all capable of so much more.
Part of my reason for wanting to achieve "the simple life" is my desire to learn many new skills. Not only for their useful purpose, but for the sheer fun of it. A few of the skills I want to learn in 2010: sewing clothing, knitting a hat, canning tomatoes and homemade jam, growing potatoes, making sourdough bread, growing bean sprouts, and drying herbs.
I'd love it if some of my readers would share what new skills they are planning to learn this year! :)