This week I ask three extraordinary people about the things they wish they’d learnt as a child, the decisions that shaped them, and their hopes for the future.
By: Lia Burge Rogers
In an effort to reconnect with his creative self and make better use of his spare time, Sam Furness immersed himself in a different form of creativity each month, for a whole year. This project became Channel Twelve – an evolving series of Quests & Projects to enable people to widen the lens of their creativity, and enjoy playful lifestyles – illuminated by curiosity.
‘Super creative buzz woman’ Moyra Scott has been coaching and teaching for 8 years. Her latest innovation ‘Wild Art Journaling’ is a therapeutic and liberating practice to help people (re) discover the joy of their own creativity – and we offer the course online, right here at emberly.
Mary Wu is a research scientist at the Francis Crick Institute. She’s been heavily involved in developing the robotics to automate Covid testing. Her impressive work as a biologist is just one of her many talents – Mary is a keen cook, tango dancer, and long distance runner.
Is there something you wish you’d done as a child that you think/know would have enriched your life as an adult?
SAM: I wish I had got more into reading books! Despite being a curious person with a thirst for learning new things I still struggle with focus when I’m reading a book. I envy people who can devour book after book – it’s such a beautiful, simple way to A) spend time and B) learn about the world through other people’s eyes.
MOYRA: My mum will try not to say “I told you so” but I do wish I had continued with playing the piano. I love music and I would love to be able to play it to the level I love to listen to it. Likewise dancing, I wish I had found a way to learn that felt free.
MARY: There are so many! Ballet; gymnastics; team sports like football, volleyball and basketball. I think I am, by nature, quite introverted. As a child I was extremely shy about taking part in group activities. I ended up doing very well in individual sports and activities like long distance running and playing instruments, which did provide me with ways of expressing myself, but I feel like I missed out on activities that would have helped me learn self-awareness, and awareness of my surroundings and others.
Do you think it’s too late? If not, how would you begin?
SAM: Oh I know it’s definitely not too late to start reading! I mean – it’s not exactly loaded with risk is it?! In my dreams – and a genuine not too distant future – I do plan to take a bit of time off work. Only a month or so. I would love to use this time to recharge my body, brain and heart. I’m a bit of an all or nothing kind of person, so I’m hoping that having a chunk of time to immerse myself in reading, exercising and not much else, would get me hooked on books forevermore.
MOYRA: I’m happy with my art, which is something I did continue with. I make time for that. I still enjoy dancing – by my own rules. They say the best time to start learning the piano is 20 years ago. The second best time is now…My son plays the violin, I am living vicariously on that one.
MARY: Definitely never too late. (Mary recently bought the Colomba Ballet Basics course, hurray!) I’ll never be an Olympic gymnast, but I can now do hand and head stands after a few years of consistent yoga practice! We live in such a fortunate time when unlimited information and resources are just a few strokes of the keyboard away. I still feel shy about trying new group activities, but now I can do a bit of research on the activity, become familiar with what to expect, and build some confidence practicing at home before I jump in.
Related post : 10 Reasons to Take an On-Demand Online Dance Course
Is there a lesson you wish you’d learnt earlier in life? What is it and how did you learn it as an adult?
SAM: Don’t give up on your creative self. Your creativity isn’t limited to the things you’ve been good at to date. At 26, I felt like my creative self was a long lost friend…like we didn’t speak the same language anymore or something. Rather than stick to what I knew creatively (music and acting), I just started trying new things. One new thing a month for a year. Through that process I reconnected with my creative self in ways I could never have imagined.
MOYRA: Ah, now that would probably be that there is value in practice, even if it seems dull!
MARY: I wish I’d learned more self-awareness earlier in life. As I mentioned previously, I think this is something I missed out on as a child because I was too shy to take part in group activities. I spent a large part of my early adulthood having in my head what is expected of me (dictated by family and society) and working towards those expectations, rather than navigating my own ambitions and desires. I definitely learned these things once I started travelling; taking different group classes, seeing and witnessing the diversity in our world with my own eyes!
What holds you back (personally) when you are facing a new challenge?
SAM: Overcomplicating / overthinking everything! It’s a blessing and a curse. Being a serial over-thinker sometimes means that you do create some pretty great, layered, ideas – but more often than not it means you complicate simple ideas (and yourself) into a bit of a mess.
MOYRA: Consistency is always a struggle for me – I am always excited by new shiny objects.
MARY: Fear of the unknown
Related Post : Feel the Dance Fear and Do It Anyway
Do you have ways of managing those foibles?
SAM: Umm…. working on it! I think you need to figure out your mechanisms. Mine is definitely through a combo of conversation – to untangle the web – and solo time with a sharpie and A3 pad to map out the idea nice and big.
MOYRA: I manage it in some respects! My best technique has been by creating morning routines, things I “just do” first thing. I find it much easier to be consistent if I set myself these things. For example I have started each day with Wild Art Journaling for 7 days in a row now. I was just journaling, but bringing the art in with it has been fantastic. I feel so much better! I also find accountability great, so I sign up for classes for things I want to do – for example I go to yoga every week. And I have booked in for a monthly massage throughout the year.
MARY: Find time to do research – sometimes a little goes a long way.
Related Post: HABITS: Why They Matter and How to Create the Good Ones
What do you hope for your life to come? What steps will you take steps to realise your dreams?
SAM: Big question! I launched a business in November last year called Channel Twelve. It’s part creative programme / part studio. It’s still in its infant, experimental phase, but it’s been a much greater success than I had imagined it might be, in terms of the community growing around it and opportunities that lay ahead. So I’m thinking about that a lot and how to grow it in a conscious way. In the next phase of my career I want to make sure that while I’m building a business that helps other people live and create in more adventurous ways, that I’m also creating space for myself to grow as an artistic person.
MOYRA: My dream is that I share the joy of Wild Art Journaling with hundreds of thousands of people! And that more people (re) connect with their creative spark, feel lit up from the inside, and that their lives are more magical as a consequence. I would love Wild Art Journaling to be taught in schools as an after school club, so that young people can grow up with it as a way of processing their emotions and dreams – supporting them to connect to their creative power.
MARY: To always stay true to my own ambitions and not let other people’s expectations dictate my choices. It keeps coming back to the same theme….do my own research, formulate my own opinions, and build confidence to take on whatever comes my way.
At emberly, we believe it’s never too late to start a new journey and look forward to helping you take that little step – or giant leap – into the unknown. Let us know all about your regrets, dreams and wishes in the comments below or on our socials.