Friday, 11 May 2012

Self-Discovery

At the start of the year, my 9-year-old declared herself Pony Mad. Her rolled-up bedside rug became a steed, her wall was plastered with posters of cavorting colts, her table was cleared to make room for home-spun tack and her pink unicorn hobby horse was retrieved from retirement and stabled beneath her kitchen chair.

Then, following a weekend with her cousin, she pledged herself to Harry Potter. The table was reorganised as a tribute to Hogwarts, Alan Rickman glowered above the bedstead and the pink unicorn was metamorphosed into a flying broomstick.

Next, a play-date with a precocious friend turned her into a fashionista. The bedroom became a boudoir and the table became a repository for old perfume bottles, scavenged jewellery, lip salves and hair ornaments.

Now, after another weekend with her cousin, she is a football fan. She begged a trip to Sports Direct to spend her savings on a Liverpool football shirt (‘Although I’ll get Chelsea or Arsenal if they’re cheaper!’). The potions have been banished from the bedroom table to make room for an album of football cards, the walls are decorated with photos purloined from my unread newspaper and she appears for breakfast in full sports gear dribbling a football along the landing.

I watch these transformations with amusement, exasperation and a slight twinge of envy.

When I was young I wanted to be a nun (so I could look like Audrey Hepburn in a wimple), a dustman (so I could ride on the step at the back of the 1970s refuse lorries) and a deep-sea diver. My bedroom was a desert island, a ship’s cabin, a boarding school dormitory and a thatched village for my dolls-house people.

But it’s been a while since I felt a passion to reinvent myself. Currently my ambitions are to conquer the black mould on my bath sealant and to coax a flower out of my peony. I look no further than the next batch of church cakes and the school parents’ evening.

My bedroom is just a bedroom with a permanently unmade bed.

I am content, but not striving. I have, however, hopes of a Second Flowering. It will arrive some time in my 50s when I am liberated from childcare. When it comes I shall be a hippie in Goa, a plantswoman in Dorset, a pianist, a coxswain, a beer binger or a contortionist.

I shall study my reflection in black latex and in that nun’s wimple. Multiple avenues will yawn before me and I might even…oh heck, I can smell the family fish fingers burning! I’ll be back when I’ve done the washing up…

What did you want to be and are you it? And tell me in confidence, what would you like to be next?

23 comments:

  1. I wanted to be a writer, and still do. Next? I want to be a lion tamer, sword fighter, princess in a turret, ninja, glamorous spy and bareback rider. In no particular order.

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    1. I'd be the first two last if I were you so that, if either should kill you, you'll at least have sampled the rest of your ambitions.

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  2. I wanted to be a bus driver. I'm not. I wanted to be an actor. I'm not. I wanted to be the person who chose which pictures to put in theatre programmes. For a while I was. One out of three ain't bad.

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    1. You also wanted to be a bishop, didn't you? So you could live in a palace.

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  3. I wanted to be a journalist, newsreader, presenter, ballet dancer, Gary Barlow's wife, backing dancer on Top of the Pops and make-up artist. There are still a few of these ambitions yet to conquer. My mother is currently going through her "rediscovery phase". She's given up life in the city for a life in the country (with my dad), gone on an Aga course, decided to keep donkeys and chickens and taken up knitting again. She's exactly the same as she ever was.

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    1. If you were a ballet dancer a tutu might be called upon to back something lyrical Top of the Pops and you'd be on hand back stage and off camera should a make-up vacancy become free. Not quite sure how you fit Gary Barlow into it, though.

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  4. I wanted to be part of the RSC, alas I only made it to the RAC.

    Seriously, I always wanted to act and I did, but alas only for a couple of years before I realised it was really just an expensive way of becoming a waitress.

    Now, I would love to own my own shop. Great idea in this marvellous double dip....or write - but don't all bloggers?

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    1. I'm intrigued to know what kind of shop. I've always fancied being a bookseller.

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  5. I would like to be a writer ... ha ha ha ha .... I've been lucky though as I have managed to fulfill some ambitions ... a DJ, a counsellor. I have some ideas for fiction but whether I get around to it is another question. I would also like to be less busy and just be, well, content with my lot. When I was teenager I wanted to be an actress .... ha ha ha ha.

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    1. This is proving fascinating hearing everyone's ambitions. I think most teenagers fantasise about a career in the spotlight. My nunly vocation was definitely cinematically inspired.

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  6. I wanted to be a writer. What's weird about writing that is that I have just realised - for the first time ever - that I have actually achieved something that I wanted to achieve. Thank you for that. Mrs. Matron.

    Other than that, I wanted to be Princess Leia. I also wanted to live in a house with a horseshoe-shaped gravel driveway a la Country Life. I didn't manage either of those.

    When I grow up, I still want to be a writer. I'd also like to live in Harrogate. I have vague notions of setting up a school where children use fountain pens and only use the word 'like' in similes. I will also have lots of dogs.

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  7. Fish fingers you say? Sounds like you could be a top flight chef in your future incarnation. I think I also went through a nun phase as a little girl... and I am sure that was inspired by something on telly. Erm, when I grow up I would like to be a singer or a dancer or both!

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    1. Whaddya mean? Fish fingers was my good day. Usually it's Frosties!

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  8. My daughter is watching The Sound of Music as I write. I vaguely remember as a child wanting to be Maria. I definitely didn't want to be a nun. I loved that bit where she's sent out of the convent, and I always felt sorry for the ones left behind.

    I wanted to find my own Captain von Trapp, and have delightful children, and live in the mountains. Well, I am married, and I do have children, but I live on the Great Plains. Ah well... Can't have everything...

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    1. I'd like to adopt Maria's personality and her dexterity with curtains - but seven children and Christopher Plummer, no! Am glad to have achieved the vital parts of your goal. Maybe you'll reach high altitudes yet!

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    2. Ah yes, her dexterity with curtains. That would be awesome. Christopher Plummer not your cup of tea? Really? Are you HUMAN?

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  9. I also wanted to be Maria in the Sound of Music, or Liesl. I wanted seven children and the mansion house on the lake in Austria. The Nazis? What nazis?
    Then I expanded my horizons and wanted to be Julie Andrews.
    I wanted to be a writer but Johanna Spyri had already written the book I wanted to write. Bother!
    I wanted to be a pianist but didn't play the piano. Details...
    Then I got realistic and decided I'll be an executive wife and make lots of dinner parties - in between lots of holidays in fancy hotels.

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    1. I'm very much with you on the piano - and the violin. Would love to pour myself out through Beethoven, but certainly couldn't be bothered with scales and metronomes! I'm assuming your life lacks the executive and the fancy holidays but hope it's a contented ne. And I'm not sure anyone wrote the sequel to Heidi...!

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  10. The only fantasy that I will own up to is to live in a cottage in the middle of nowhere. I still harbour the dream of living in the country.

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  11. I wanted to be Madonna, and after that a journalist.

    Still do want to be a journalist actually. The kind that writes opinion pieces that drive everyone mad, a la Julie Burchill.

    Is something up with your feed by the way? I've tried to subscribe to your blog about ten times now and your posts still aren't coming up in my greader.

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    1. You're a brave lady. I'm too cowardly to stir conflict and too indecisive to publish my opinions. I'm baffled by my feed. Email subscribers seem to get it and I've checked and pinged the feedburner thingy but I know in some cases it's not updating and haven't a clue what to do about it.

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