I am going to try to learn a standard by listening to the bass notes, to get the chord progression. I think I will start with "I cover the Waterfront."
It struck me that you ought to approach learning to play music the way you do learning a language, or vice versa. When I tried to teach myself to draw a few years back I remember thinking: oh, that sounds incredibly hard or time-consuming (when looking at particular instructions). Well yes, that is because these things are hard to do.
You can learn a lot of Italian or a little Italian. You can learn a little piano or a lot of it. In either case a little bit won't get you a lot. When I am frustrated by my progress on the piano I realize it is because I am not putting in enough work of the right kind. Instead of thinking "I just need to know enough to play my own songs," I should have been thinking: I need to play a lot of piano, not just enough for bare adequacy, because then my songs will sound bad. I am a long ways from there, but I get better gradually. While I am frustrated, it is a good frustration, because I use it to my advantage. I really have not had a bad experience when playing, since I resumed a year and a half ago.