Do you ever wonder where your life might have been headed had you or something not changed your course?
At one time, I entertained the idea of Broadway. Glitzy lights, the city, straining my voice in Italian Opera and walking the streets of New York to look at glamorous clothes my gypsy struggling artists life would never afford me. Yet that half seedy, half glamorous life in alley way walk ups no bigger than my master closet appealed to me. For a short time, I got the tiniest taste of that life living in a roach infested studio apartment above a corner deli at college across from the theater department. I volunteered as an usher so I could see shows like “Stomp” for free and hang out with my friends in the theater department. At the time I was leaning towards another artistic venue: interior design, but the pot smoking, Chicago worshipping hippies that the professors preferred weren’t my gig either.
I eventually made it into the textile industry (which at the time was huge in this area) and transferred my love of backstage to organizing fashion shows in the underground areas of Atlanta, GA garment district and being behind the scenes of industry expo’s as booth designer intern. I LOVED every second of working 15 hour days and collapsing on feet that could barely support me.
When I finally graduated and looked for work, the doors were closing. Literally. Companies were folding up shop, abandoning historical buildings and factory towns and moving their products to Mexico and China for a larger profit margin. With my bright shiny new Bachelor’s degree I couldn’t compete with the displaced workers with years of experience and often a Master’s degree to boot who were flooding the market place.
I resorted to a nice cushy job in the family business putting my practical marketing experience and knowledge to good use for them. It was a dream job even if it wasn’t glamorous and often involved trudging to its own seedy part of town at 5am in my pajamas with my dog (as protection) in tow to open the doors for a questionable lot of grease soaked drop outs who could turn a wrench and weld two strips of metal together. The fact was, I COULD roll in in my pajamas and after the first pot of coffee kicked in change in my office while watching the morning news with my dog curled up on the loveseat. It was a huge damn office and I had the run of it.
I took advantage of my family’s willingness for me to explore other opportunities as their retirement loomed in a further spiraling economy and went to Real Estate School. I had no delusions that the family business would stay open as my father, the engineer, was the only one qualified to run it. All the designs and contacts were his and though we tried to find competent foremen, we never had any luck with someone who could design sawmills in their head like he could. I did well in Real Estate school. When it was time to move on for everyone, I even sold Dad’s 25,000 square foot building for them. When the market crashed, I rebounded and found work back in the Corporate Industrial world based on my experience with the family business. It may not be my dream job but I have been very fortunate in keeping jobs and moving on when necessary. Sometimes its slim times, and I’ve seen my share of lay off troubles but I’m a stable worker and good at multi-tasking. I can always find a bright future in the job I’m in even if I’m bored to death.
I still occasionally dream about those bright lights though, like when I’m belting out an aria or singing Phantom of the Opera at the top of my lungs in the car. I still wonder what my life would have been like had I taken different turns. Had I not wasted 2 years on that one slime bucket and waste of human flesh that I had once imagined marrying.
Through it all though, no matter what I dream, it all leads me back to here. Everything leads me back to this man, who was busy with his own choices being a Marine, finding his way while I found mine. At the right time, the perfect time, we found each other and we have made a magnificent life. My dreams may not be the big bright lights or even the Fashion Show diva anymore, but they are real and tame and in them, my husband is always at my side supporting me. We achieved one dream that we both shared, and that’s being a family and creating life.
What can be bigger, more challenging or come with more anticipation than a future full of our son? All the decisions we make now, revolve around providing a life for him. We are dreaming of Boy scout campfires, custom built swing sets, and lullabies sung by night lights. My big debut will be in a hospital where we(my leading man and I) meet our understudy not on a stage in front of thousands of people. Our success will not be measured by how big our name is on a marquee sign but by how happy and healthy a little boy is.
I had dreams, but none as great as this. Dreams change, morph, become realized and become bigger than you could ever imagined them to be. Stop and take a moment to look back on your past dreams and where they have yet to take you. If a dream hasn’t been realized, don’t give up, just keep dreaming. What are your dreams? Where did you expect to be?