My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis #BlogOne #AlysiaHelming #RealLifeStory
In the beginning…once upon a time…
Ummm, okay, where to start?
I’m a story teller. I make stuff up for a living. That’s my job now. Thank God, because with my story telling ‘gifts’, my career choices were limited to 1) con artist, 2) politician, 3) fiction writer, 4) committed to an insane asylum. I think my mother is happy that I chose option #3!
Perhaps this is why I’m all tripped up in writing my ‘real life’ story here in the blogs. I’m not allowed to make anything up and I can’t exaggerate. This really clips my wings. Especially since the story I want to tell about myself is so much grander than the real story. Because sometimes real life is tough and often, mundane. Do you believe that all the images of me and my life on Facebook are real, or not?
Nothing is as is seems…or is it?
How do I know where to begin to tell my ‘real life’ story? It sure would be boring to give you the rundown of my entire life since childhood. I guess you can read my bio if you want the high level ‘sugar coated’ version of me. It sure sounds nice.
Wait… my husband just handed me a vial of something he calls the ‘truth serum’. Not sure what it is, but some spicy drink…I’m feeling dizzy, and… (okay, so maybe I just made this part up)
Oh, now I know I can do this. Time for the truth!
Here it is…writing this book, creating the entire series and six trips to Greece within one year equate to my version of a mid-life crisis. But that doesn’t sound pleasant, right? When we think of a ‘crisis’ in midlife, images come to mind like spending too much money you probably don’t have, forcing your body into those tiny skin-tight jeans you used to wear, dancing until the wee-hours of the morning – basically doing a lot of rebellious stuff that you haven’t done in many, many years (or maybe never before).
But why do we do these things?
This whole journey for me started around the time that I turned forty. For most women, this phase in life is a time of contemplation about the past and a metamorphosis about the future. It is a time of major change and transition for us. My theory of why this happens to us goes back to simple physiology. Between the ages of forty and fifty, our bodies go through a lot of change. We are gradually losing our ability to have children and our hormones doing crazy things…
Our bodies are changing…and our minds are changing too. Sometimes, there is a delay between what our bodies are leading us to do and what our minds can understand yet. It’s a heck of a lot like being a teenager; but we are more confident now. We know what we want, even if it’s more spontaneous or outright impulsive.
This should explain exactly why the market for young adult fiction readers over forty is almost thirty percent! And why so many successful young adult writers are either very young or in their forties. We can relate to this time of incredible transformation. For me, I find myself yearning to recapture my youth. As a writer of young adult fiction, this is the perfect way to do it! The best part is that I can relive those teenage years, but now with all the confidence of a more experienced woman; and I feel like my writing can help younger women because of this.
Going back to me and my mid-life metamorphosis, let’s examine the meaning of the word ‘crisis’. There are two definitions in the Google dictionary:
1) A time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger (emergency, disaster, catastrophe, calamity)
2) A time when an important decision must be made (critical point, turning point, crossroads)
It’s all how you view it. Your glass can be half empty, like #1 above, or half-full, like #2. When faced with major change in your life, you can mope around and lament about how hard it is (#1) or make the most of it (#2).
For me, I’d like to tell you that I started out knowing that I had this incredible book and the whole series inside of my mind; that it all came so easily for me, but that’s not how it happened. Just like so many of you, my life is complicated. I have many roles to fill and ‘identities’ to assume. I’m a mom…a wife…an entrepreneur…and now a fiction writer.
Through my ‘crisis’ of creating the world of “The Protogena Chronicles”, I discovered that I have a strong power of purpose that permeates everything I try to do, even as crazy as it may appear to the outside world. My purpose is to empower people and to help Greece.
Well, I have a feeling I know what you’re thinking. That all sounds nice, but what qualifies me to take on such large, lofty goals? I’m just a mom – originally from Kansas City - who dabbled a bit in screenwriting and retired recently from the boring corporate world…
Okay, I confess my ‘corporate’ experience wasn’t exactly boring. My husband and I created from scratch companies that build, own and wind and solar farms all over the United States. So maybe I know a few things about going after your dreams, defying the odds, taking risks and manifesting what you want. The screenplay that I wrote while learning screenwriting at UCLA chronicled our David vs. Goliath story. This is empowering.
But why Greece?
As far as I know, I am not of Greek descent. While I have always loved Greek mythology and one of my best friends is Greek-American, I only just visited Greece for the first time on a Mediterranean cruise in 2014. I don’t have any particular credentials that make me an expert in Greece, and I don’t speak the language.
The obvious answer is that my story is about Greek mythology so it makes sense that the story’s setting should be in Greece. Beyond this, upon my first research trip there in September 2015, I literally fell in love with Greece and the people there. Because of the deep rooted sense of hospitality that permeates the Greek culture, it seemed that the people I met opened up to me more because I wasn’t Greek. Lastly, because I was an Economics major in college and have worked in strategic planning, I’m fascinated with the crisis there. I enjoyed weaving it all into the back story of a fictional novel.
This series of blogs will take you through my journey of self-discovery, transformation, magic and serendipity that has accompanied almost every aspect of my writing of the Protogena book series and my so-called ‘mid-life crisis’. The most amazing thing that I discovered is that as I have steadfastly remained true to my power of purpose, incredible ‘coincidences’ have occurred everywhere, almost all of them leading me up and towards achieving my goals and dreams, but often in a most unpredictable way.
During all of my visits to Greece this past year, I always opened my heart and mind as I said to myself, “Let the magic begin…”
Interestingly enough, many of the men and women, that have crossed my path on this journey, in both the US and Greece, are going through some sort of big change or transformation in their lives as well. It’s like we’re all attracted to each other, helping each other in some way; and through our interaction, I have witnessed them blossom into a more fulfilling life, whether it be resolving some conflict that held them back, opening their mind to a new possibility or venturing into a new career opportunity that they never dreamed was possible before.
This is especially true in Greece, where the possibilities for people are not like they are for us in the United States. Many have never ventured outside of Greece or Europe. Others just accept that they won’t ever be any more than they are today, so many grow accustomed to just getting by, scraping up just enough money to live week-to-week, hoping and praying that the government won’t retroactively impose another random tax on their already highly-taxed wages. With no clear solution or end for the financial crisis in Greece, this mind-set must feel impossible to break through.
I believe Greece is on the verge of its own version of a mid-life crisis. It’s time for transformation and a message of hope there. Whenever I visit Athens, I feel this and wonder if this is my purpose? Although my book series is a work of fiction, maybe my books, which I have written with so many real-life and historical details that are or were a part of life in Greece, might somehow help them. To offer some hope. To be a catalyst to a brighter outlook. To bring about clarity to the rest of the world of what it’s really like there. To drive more tourism and attention there.
Whatever it is, I'm passionate about Greece and its culture and I'd like to do whatever I can to bring more about more awareness there.
My book series and blogs are written for the people of Greece, as well as for anyone, boy or girl, teenager or adult, going through some kind of life transformation (coming of age, mid-life crisis or starting something new and different). I hope you love them all and that they inspire you in some way.
Like my character, Helene, let’s all say the words together…
“I can do this.”