Another year, another new beginning of the Gregorian calendar in which you swear to exercise more, eat less, learn a new language, save money, serve the community, get a proper forty winks each night, and stop cussin' all the damn time. And while some well-intentioned combination of gym memberships, detoxes, Rosetta Stone CDs and cuss jars can certainly help you accomplish those noble goals, we're more inclined to stick with resolutions we can actually, well, stick with. What better way to improve yourself and become a more interesting human being than picking up a new skill? Whether your homework of choice involves puppet-crafting, bacon-curing or simply stepping up your culinary game, Atlanta offers a plethora of places to get your learn on.
Learn How To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse
Okay, so we haven't actually found any zombie-slaying tutorials. But if/when disaster strikes, mastering one or two time-tested heritage skills can make the difference between surviving and thriving. For those interested in the latter, The Homestead is hosting a whole spread of classes that'll serve you well holding down the fort (not the least of which is bacon-making). While you're outfitting the bunker, be sure to stock up on homemade canned goods: Preservation Place will show you how. And if you're at all interested in the ins and outs of beekeeping, chicken-tending, or urban farming, the Oakhurst Community Garden's Wylde Center has you covered.
Learn to Scratch That Creative Itch
Yearning to indulge your inner artist a bit? Perhaps a bit curious about how one goes about learning to sew, draw, or craft puppets? We hear you. For those vowing to spend less time watching Scandal and more time making cool stuff, options abound in this fair city. Aspiring Etsy mavens can learn the ropes of stitchery, felting, jewelry-making and more at Beehive, while those with more musical inclinations can head to the Goat Farm's Soundspace to learn the ropes from local musicians. Jim Henson wannabes, look no further than Atlanta's famed Center for Puppetry Arts for intros to marionettes, stop-motion and more. More artistic opportunities abound at community places like Wonderroot, the Atlanta Printmakers Studio, Callanwolde and Spruill, too. (Bob Ross would be so proud of you.)
Learn to Impress Your Friends and Win Over Your Enemies (With Booze)
Because we truly believe that everyone should have at least one great cocktail recipe up their sleeve that, given the proper tools and ingredients, can be whipped up at a moment's notice for friends and foes alike. And few places in Atlanta are more qualified for this kind of education than Holeman & Finch, whose H&F Bartending Academy classes offer a definitive study of libations of all kinds (past lessons include American whiskey, agave spirits and suppressors). Sign up here to receive emails for future classes. If your tipple of choice is the hop-based variety, local craft beer markets like Hop City offer homebrewing classes each Saturday. No word yet on moonshine tutorials in ATL, but you'll hear it here first.
Learn to Whip Up A (Damn Good) Square Meal
Looking to step it up, at least beyond the realm of Microwave Cooking for One? There are dozens of Atlanta chefs who take pride in sharing their mad skills with we mere mortals—and a whole lot of them do so at Cook's Warehouse. Learn the art of farm to table from Restaurant Eugene's Linton Hopkins, the secrets of Venezuelan cuisine from Arepa Mia's Lis Hernandez, or any number of other trade secrets from their insanely diverse roster of curriculum.
So, there you have it: by the end of 2014, not only will you be able to run faster, jump higher, and leave behind your crippling caffeine addiction, but you'll also know how to be a bacon-making, puppet-crafting, raised-bed-planting, all-around more awesome human being. Bring it on, 2015.