Project Runway: A dream I gave up all too soon

For our monthly Blogapalooza hour, this week's topic is: "Write about something in your life you’ve given up but that you wish you still did." So, what immediately came into my mind was that there was one huge thing I gave up when I was 22 and have regretted it ever since. 

1977. I graduated from Harper College's school of Fashion Design and Merchandising. At the time, I was committed to becoming the next big thing. The next great designer. The next Donna Karan. Norma Kamali. Betsey Johnson. I'd be right up there with the best of 'em. I wrote about certain points of this dream in last month's blogapalooza. But I didn't talk about how it affected me the rest of my life.

When a dream you have is set aside and then your whole life gets in the way of going back to it, how do we accept that?

I"m not sure we ever do.

I went into banking after my last failed design job at the ripe age of 22. I can honestly say, without any conceit intended that I was good. Damned good. I had ideas and designs and most of all those dreams. You see there was never any doubt in my mind, until I walked into that bank for a "temporary" teller's job that I was going to spend my life creating beautiful clothing. I'd spend my days making patterns, draping designs and be happily hunched over a sewing machine. And it would never feel like work.

As the years passed by and I got deeper and deeper into another career, the dream of designing was becoming a distant memory. It's hard to even fathom that something that had been so important to me could have faded into the sunset the way it did. But it did.

Ten years ago a show was introduced on the Bravo Network (now Lifetime) that would allow me somehow to live vicariously, the life I'd hoped for. Project Runway. "One minute you are in, the next minute you're out".

So season after season, year after year I watch with angst and envy. I question myself repeatedly: "Why did I let that dream go? Why did I walk away, why did I never go back?"

Life got in the way, that's why. I made a choice. I chose earning a living over struggling to achieve my dream. I chose stubborn pride over  sensibility. I chose immaturity over rationale. Then I got married, had children and raised them. And I woke up one day and I was in my fifties, still wishing I'd done what I set out to do.

When I watch Project Runway now I always wonder, "could I do it now?" I realize that while I may have lost some of my skills, I could always take classes and polish them back up. I still own a pencil and paper and I can still draw. I can still sew. I still can create. So now, the only thing that is stopping me is me.

I'll always think about it and who knows, maybe one day you'll be seeing me being critiqued by Tim Gunn. Or being given an "Auf Wiedersehen" double kiss from Heidi Klum. It ain't over til it's over. And as long as we have dreams to hold onto, there is hope.

"Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly".

Remember that.

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