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?