Detox: Your tech addiction
Learn to draw
So you never made it to art school, and it’s been years since you picked up a pencil to do anything but a crossword—but it’s never too late to get back in the sketching game. Luckily, Boston has more drawing classes than you can shake a stick of charcoal at. A ten-week Basic Drawing for Beginners course at the MFA, starting January 4, will set you back $225 (465 Huntington Ave, Mission Hill, Boston. 617-267-9300; mfa.org). Other options are the nine-week Basics of Drawing for $178 at Brookline Arts Center (865 Monmouth St, Brookline. 617-566-5715; brooklineartscenter.com), or the ten-week Drawing with the Figure for $225 at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, starting January 13 (42 Brattle St, Harvard Square, Cambridge. 617-547-6789; ccae.org). If you don’t want to take the plunge into a full course, head to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School life drawing session, every second Sunday at Great Scott. It’s cheap ($8), there’s beer and the burlesque dancers who pose are far more entertaining than your average artist’s model (1222 Commonwealth Ave, Allston. truthserum.org).
Blow your own glass
The art of glassblowing has been around since 50 BC, and even now it’s still got an ancient, elemental vibe to it. Maybe it has something to do with all the fire. Learn how to do it yourself at the Diablo Glass School, where you can try everything from stained glass to bead-making to fusing and slumping. We recommend starting out with the one-day Glassblowing Sampler course ($75), which gives beginners a broad overview and a chance to make their own glass objet to bring home. There are two samplers in January, on the 15 and the 29. Other courses range from $50 to $300—not too shabby for a chance to play around with molten glass. 123 Terrace St, Jamaica Plain (617-442-7444, diabloglassschool.com)
Clear your mind
Meditation is pretty much the exact opposite of all the frantic, plugged-in connectedness that defines modern life. Make like Three Dog Night and wash away your troubles, wash away your pain at the Shambhala Meditation Center in Brookline, which takes an urban-friendly, inclusive view of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. Drop into Shambhala’s free weekly open house every Wednesday, where you can practice meditating and meet other like-minded beginners. Or head to Under 30 Meditation Night on Tuesdays, which comes with free meditation instruction and a group discussion. 646 Brookline Ave, Brookline (617-734-1498, boston.shambhala.org)
Write your masterpiece
If you’re going to pen the next Great American Novel, you have to start somewhere. Try out a workshop at Grub Street, the city’s main non-profit creative writing center. Winter term kicks off in January, with classes that focus on fiction, poetry, memoir and more. Check out the Grub Street Sampler beginning January 12, a ten-week course that covers a rogue’s gallery of genres ($455). For something a little cheaper, try Social Media for Writers ($65 on Jan. 10) or the six-week Daytime Jumpstart Your Writing ($180, beginning Jan. 26). 160 Boylston St, 4th Floor (617-695-0075, grubstreet.org)
Make some music
Between Berklee and the Boston Conservatory, Boston is bursting with musicians eager to share their skills (and make some money, of course). We recommend a Craigslist browse to start off, but there’s plenty to choose from no matter what you want to play. Try the one-off Instant Piano for Hopelessly Busy People at the Boston Center for Adult Education on February 11 for $36 (122 Arlington St, Back Bay, Boston. 617-267-4430; bcae.org), or the eight-session Showing Off on the Ukulele beginning January 11 at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education for $172 (42 Brattle St, Harvard Square, Cambridge. 617-547-6789; ccae.org). If you want to skip instruments altogether, Bristol Recording Studios in the Back Bay offers a free introductory voice lesson for you to hone your singing chops (169 Massachusetts Ave, Back Bay, Boston. 617-247-8689; bristolstudios.com).
Learn a language
Put yourself on the fast track to being considered “cultured” with foreign language classes that are available at a variety of institutions around town. The Goethe-Institut (170 Beacon St, Back Bay. 617-262-6050; goethe.de/ins/us/bos) will have you properly pronouncing Volkswagen in no time, with a range of options for prospective students including semester long courses ($450), individual instruction ($55 for 45 minutes) or even Skype lessons ($40 for 45 minutes). The Boston Language Institute (648 Beacon St, Kenmore Square, Boston. 617-262-3500; bostonlanguage.com) offers classes in a roster of languages way too long to list here. Sign up for a six-week session of weekly classes, or really dive in with full language immersion. This involves practiceingthree to four and a half hours a day, five days a week for four to six weeks (prices vary by language). The Boston Center for Adult Education (122 Arlington St, Back Bay, Boston. 617-267-4430; bcae.org) is currently holding registration for classes in French, Italian, Spanish and American Sign Language. At under $200 for 8 sessions, it’s the best bet for new students with a more casual interest.
Coalesce into welding
The instructors at Artisan’s Asylum wants you to be a welder. Or, more specifically, they want you to learn how to use their welding equipment without turning yourself into some sort of armored person. Their popular Introduction to Welding class ($200) starts up again in January and the Asylum has got a pile of aluminum with your name on it. Bring a flannel shirt, leather gloves and safety glasses to class with you so you can solder in style (and safety, natch). 13 Joy St, Union Square, Somerville (617-863-7634, artisansasylum.com)