sunrise in rio de janeiro, view at the copacabana beach

Learning is a Lifelong Skill

This post is about why learning is a lifelong skill that you should practice constantly and enjoy to the fullest.

two hands holding a book about botanical dyeing next to a wooden basket with wool and a sock knitting project

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Introduction to Lifelong Learning

The term learning sometimes gets a bad rep. We suddenly feel reminded about our school or college years and the seemingly endless things we were supposed to memorize and recite. Only to forget about them shortly after. This is such a pity because in reality, learning can be very fun and fulfilling. Maybe learning wasn’t fun and fulfilling during your school years because someone else decided what topics you should learn about. But now you are an adult and this is the great part: there is only one person deciding what you should learn about – you! And the possibilities are nearly endless.

three books on botanical dyeing on a white wooden dresser next to a wooden basket

If this isn’t the first post on my blog you read, you are probably interested in natural dyeing and/or creating a handmade wardrobe. And you are learning about it by researching on the internet. This is wonderful! As you can imagine, natural dyeing and creating a handmade wardrobe are two topics that I am also interested in and learning about constantly. But, to be honest, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what I like to learn about.

What do YOU like to learn about?

The idea for this blog post came to me on one of my daily morning walks this week. And since learning new things is a topic that is very exciting to me, I felt the urge to write about it. My hope is that I can inspire you to learn something new. And I would love to hear what you are currently learning or are planning to learn in the comments so that we can all inspire each other!

Not only will learning about a new topic broaden your range of skills, it is also beneficial for improving cognitive abilities as this study showed.

Traditional Skills and New Fields of Interest

Thinking about the basic skills we have lost in the last couple of generations due to convenience and technology sometimes makes me sad. Skills that children naturally used to learn from their parents or grandparents. But on the other hand, the internet has brought us the ability to pretty much learn about every topic you can think of. And we should use this possibility to our advantage. Granted, I wasn’t able to learn any fiber crafts from my mother or grandmothers. But nevertheless, I was still able to teach myself how to sew, knit, crochet, embroider and spin by doing my own research with the help of books, courses and the internet.

It isn’t my aim to center this blog post on myself, my interests and the skills I have learned and aspire to learn in the future. Therefore please know that I am listing the following fields of interest more as a starting point for you to branch off of and explore your own unique set of interests.

7 Topics to Learn About

Here are some ideas of topics you can learn about at every stage of life. Let’s have a look at some specific learning suggestions.

1. Fiber Crafts

Of course handiworks had to be placed at the top of my list. After all, this is a website about the fiber arts. Handcrafts include knitting, sewing, crochet, embroidery, cross stich, spinning and weaving. All of these skills have been practiced by humans for generations and are practical, useful skills and relaxing at the same time. Natural dyeing is also a very interesting field that falls under this category.

two embroidered white shirts and a light pink peony bloom
simple granny stripe and granny square crochet blankets for beginners

Resource Suggestions:

Embroidery for Beginners (blog post)

Simple Crochet Blankets for Beginners (blog post)

Natural Dyeing Books (blog post)

How to Dye Yarn with Natural Dyes (blog post)

2. Food

Whether you are particularly interested in this topic or not, we all have to eat. Therefore it is beneficial for everyone to engage with this topic in some way or the other. You might be interested in learning about healthy eating. Or you might want to improve your cooking skills.

half a loaf of homemade sourdourgh bread

Personally, I am interested in making my own sourdough bread. Currently, I am also learning how to make cheese. In the future, I plan to dive deep into the topic of preserving food, especially canning and fermenting. I regularly make my own jam, granola, elderflower syrup and sauerkraut.

Food Resources:

3. Finances

Another crucial topic that everyone should learn about, whether it particularly interests you or not. You absolutely need to be able to understand at least the basics and manage your finances well.

Fortunately, finances have been a field of interest for me since early adulthood. I have done lots of research, read countless books and have managed our combined household finances from the very beginning. Therefore I have numerous recommendations on this topic for you. I have listed them from basic money management to advanced investing knowledge.

Finance Resources:

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (book)

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi (book)

Financial Independence:

Your Money Or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez (book)

Mr. Money Mustache (blog)

Frugalwoods (blog)

Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker (book)

4. Home Renovation

Everyone, whether you live in a house or an apartment, whether you rent or live in your own home, should have some basic home renovation knowledge. Painting, for example, doesn’t require any specific skills or muscle strength and only very little supplies are needed. Hanging lights yourself is another basic, but important skill to have. You don’t need to be an electrician to do it. You can get a lot more advanced and learn numerous handyman skills if this is something that interests you.

a staircase under renovation

When we bought our house two years ago, we mainly knew the basics. But nevertheless, we immediately got to work and started stripping the wallpaper off the walls, removing linoleum flooring and did everything we could before the tradesmen took over. In the process of the renovation, I taught myself how to strip layers and layers of paint off our doors and stairway. Afterwards we repainted everything ourselves. It was a tedious and time-consuming process but it not only saved us money, it also broadened my range of skills and confidence.

Home Renovation Resources:

If you need some motivation to get with started with doing some home renovations yourself, I can highly recommend the YouTube channel from XO, MaCenna. She does an impressive amount of renovation work herself and is overall very inspiring and interesting to watch.

5. Gardening

Did you know that gardening actually makes you happy? This has been scientifically proven (see this article for more information). Putting your hands in the dirt increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural anti-depressant. In the soil, there is a specific soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae that stimulates the release of serotonin. To increase your happiness even further while gardening, you should consider growing vegetables instead of focusing solely on ornamentals. These are results from a study that was conducted in the environmental institute of Princeton.

potatoe plant with flowers

Gardening Resources:

The Complete Gardener by Monty Don (book)

A Year Full of Flowers by Sarah Raven (book)

Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison (book)

6. Fitness

Another crucial field that you should focus your attention on. All it takes is to find the right sport for you. Don’t dismiss the idea because you associate fitness mainly with working out at the gym. There are so many ways to exercise and I am confident that there is a sport for everyone.

For example, it took me almost 35 years to find a sport I truly enjoy doing. I had already given up hope and considered myself a person who is just not into sports. But then I found ballet and I have been loving going to classes multiple times a week ever since. Granted, the first months weren’t as much fun because I was so unfamiliar with the exercises and there was so much to learn. But since I know the basics by heart now, I love learning more and challenging myself every week. All it takes is to accept that you most likely will not be good when you start and slowly grow your skills over time.

ballet shoes laying on a white wooden floor
photo credit: Racool_studio/

7. Language

If English is your mother tongue, learning a new language isn’t as essential for you as for the rest of us, non-native speakers. But it is nevertheless a very worthwhile undertaking. Besides the obvious benefit of speaking an additional language, there are numerous advantages to it. For example, learning a new language is an effective brain workout and protects adult learners against dementia and other degenerative neurological conditions as stated in this article by Cambrige.

sunrise in rio de janeiro, view at the copacabana beach
photo credit: wirestock/

Personally, I am currently learning Brazilian Portuguese. I don’t have any immediate plans to travel to Brazil but I chose to start learning the language anyway. When I was 15, I spent one month in Rio de Janeiro as part of a student exchange program. I loved the people and the city and promised myself to come back there one day and to learn the language. But you know how it goes. There was always something seemingly more important and I simply didn’t get to it. Until the beginning of the year, when I finally decided that there would never be the perfect time to learn Brazilian Portuguese. I simply started right there and then and I am so very happy about this decision.

Language Learning Resources:

I use the Duolingo app to learn Portuguese and I can recommend it. It contains not only written but also audio exercises and I feel like it is constructed in a way that prepares me well in a straightforward step-by-step approach to learn the language.

Another popular language learning service is Babbel. It is very similar to Duolingo and they even have a referral program where you will get a free 3 month-subscription if you use my link to create an account.

Wow, this post has gotten rather long. I am still not at the end with my suggestions, but I feel like it is best to split this up into two posts in order not to overwhelm you. But before I let you go, I would very highly appreciate it if you would take the time to share with all of us in the comments what you are currently learning about or what you would like to learn in the future!

Pinterest: Learning is a Lifelong Skill

three pictures of 1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2. cornflowers and 3. ballet shoes
an open book and glasses laying in the sand with a blurry glimpse of the ocean behind. a text saying "7 topics you should learn about."

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I am a yarn dyeing artist, writer and educator.
I am also an avid knitter and love to create something with my hands every day.
Read more about me here:

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