Big dreams

5. Discuss some of the things on  your bucket list

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a bucket list. Activities I want to do, places I want to see, people I want to meet. I must have started this list in elementary school, and it feels like every time I cross something off, I think of something new to add. While some may think having a never-ending list drives my Type A personality crazy, it actually keeps me grounded.

Keeping this list is a constant reminder that there’s always more to life than what I’m currently going through. It reminds me there’s more places to see and keeps me dreaming. I think it’s so easy to let go of big dreams the older we get. Our logic kicks in more and more with each passing year and tells us it doesn’t make sense to want to see every country or one day meet the president (I plan on taking this off for the next 4-8 years depending on who wins this election.).

In the meantime, here are some of the bucket list items I look forward to the most!

  1. Visit every continent.

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I’ve had the travel bug since I was born. I grew up moving around every year or two, and while some may think that’s a crazy way to live, I loved it. It taught me how to make new friends easily, what it’s like to be the new kid, and how to entertain myself for hours on end.

While all of these are great lessons, I think the most important thing I learned is there’s always more out there to see. The thought of getting to see so many different people and cultures is exhilarating to me. The more places I go, the more I want to. So far, I’ve been to both America’s, Europe, and Africa. I’m basically halfway there, which isn’t too bad for being 24.

2. Visit every state.

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Yes, I’m super excited to visit every country, but the more states I visit, the more I realize how much there is to see right here!

Just last month I went to San Diego for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. Though I’ll be honest- being on a flight for 6 hours and ending up in the same country did feel a little anticlimactic. Visiting the sea lions totally made up for it though.

IMG_0121I also would love to be able to look at map of the United States and be able to say, “Yep, I’ve been to all those places.”

3. Run a half-marathon.

Okay, so I know this one is completely unrelated to the first two, but I still want to talk about it. I used to love running. I’m talking “would run 8 miles just for the heck of it” type of love. Yet the older I got, the less I loved it. It started to feel like a chore, and anytime I started training for a race, something got in the way. I injured my foot, I ended up going on vacation, etc.

For me, being able to say I ran 13.1 miles is another way for me to say I pushed past all the stuff I don’t like to do something that’s good for me. I don’t want to be the type of person who quits something just because it’s hard, so this one is definitely more of a symbolic bucket list item than actually wanting to run long distance. I’m also hoping that in the process, maybe I’ll start to love it again.

 

 

 

We talkin ’bout practice

4. Something in life that gives you balance

Despite my introvertedness (read more about that here), I am quite the doer. I have a hard time saying not to the people and things that I love. Want to grab dinner? Sure! Need someone to volunteer for a project? I’m there.

I love feeling like I’m contributing to bigger things and to the people around me. I get a ton of joy from being able to help someone out and going on random adventures whenever the chance comes up. In fact, some of my fondest memories are from times I said yes to spontaneous beach trips, road trips, girls’ nights out, whatever.

I enjoy looking at a full calendar on a Sunday night and seeing the name of each person I know I’m going to connect with the following week. Even in high school, my mom would drive me from school, to cheer practice, and then to church- all on a Tuesday night. I’ve always been this way… basically, I like saying “yes.”

“Yes” is a beautiful thing when used in the right context, but I’m learning to practice using another beautiful word. NO.

Saying no is not an easy thing for me. I struggle with feeling selfish with my time, and if I’m being totally honest, sometimes saying no makes me feel a little guilty. I can’t help but secretly wonder if I’m making the people around me happy.

So while I don’t really enjoy saying “no,” I have started to practice it more often. Because like anything we want to start (or stop), it’s going to require practice.

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It’s going to require a willingness to disappoint some people even though that’s the last thing you want to do. It’s going to require the courage to say no to dinner with your friends because you need to stay home and spend some time with Jesus after a long day.

Luckily, I am not the first person to struggle with this, and I certainly won’t be the last. Lysa Terkeurst says it perfectly in her book The Best Yes. “Here’re the reality of our current technique: Other people’s requests dictate the decisions we make. We become slaves to others’ demand when we let our time become dictated by request. We will live reactive lives instead of proactive.

I don’t know about you, but the last word I want to think of when I look back on my life ten years from now is reactive. I don’t want to let other people’s demands and expectations determine the way my life unfolds, but if I say yes to too many things, I think that’s what will happen.

I want to live a proactive life. A life that’s filled with moments where I wasn’t afraid to say no to some things so that I could say yes to what was best.

The power of 4:35pm

3. Something that is part of your routine that you enjoy

Alright, people. I have a confession for those of you who don’t know me really well. I am an introvert. There, I said it.

Here’s the thing though- I’m what I like to call a “closet introvert.”

I know most of you have probably never heard that term, and that’s okay, because a friend of mine made it up years ago to describe herself, and I fell in love with it. Let me explain to you what a closet introvert is.

Closet introvert:

  1. someone who is good with people (usually really good), but doesn’t really like them
  2. a person who can be incredibly friendly when they meet new people and entertain a crowd with the best of them, but then needs to go home and sleep for the next five hours

I think you’re getting the idea. So that’s me. Hi, my name is Alyssa Wilkinson, and I’m a closet introvert.

I love people and spending time with them. I love getting on the phone with a customer I really connect with and letting that eat up 20 minutes of my day. I enjoy going out to dinner with my friends and making new friends. I consider it a personal victory when I’m in a room full of people I just met, and I find ways to make them laugh. I really do love all those things.

At the same time, I love coming home after a long day at work or aforementioned dinner with friends and not having to say or do a single thing. I love being able to sit on the couch and binge watch old episodes of Friends and Gilmore Girls. (Lorelai Gilmore is my spirit animal.) I love getting to take my dog for a walk when I first get home and not have to talk to anyone, and I especially love getting to sit down with a good book and get lost in another world for an hour or so.

It is honestly a conflicting place to be sometimes. Loving people and being around them most of the time, yet still loving the time I get by myself. And not just loving the time by myself, but literally needing it.

If that sounds extreme to you, I’m not joking. If I don’t get a people break at least once a day, I turn into a person I’m not very proud of. I get snippy, easily aggravated, and very quiet. I shut down, and it’s not pretty.

But every day, I get to have this moment. It’s the moment when I get home from work, say hello to my dog, and I get to chill out. I’ll usually make myself a cup of tea and grab a book (right now I’m reading The Best Yes and Daring Greatly) and sit down on the Love Sac in my spare bedroom. *shoutout to my mom and dad for getting an RV this thing doesn’t fit in because it. is. HEAVEN.*

Some days I get an hour or two, and some days I only get ten minutes, but it’s always the best part of my day. When all the distractions are out of my head, when I have time to process everything that happened that day, and when I get to relax and just be.

I know some people swear by doing this in the morning or right before my bed, and I used to beat myself up over the fact that 5am is never a time I enjoy seeing on my clock. But now, my time is right around 4:35pm, and for me, it’s perfect.

These are a few of my favorite things

2. Make a list of 30 things that make you smile.

  1. The smell outside after it rains. (I know there’s a word for this, but I can never remember it.)
  2. PUPPIES. Literally any puppy.
  3. While we’re on the subject, any baby animal. I can’t help it.
  4. Coffee. Preferably iced.
  5. Getting to talk to my dad on the phone.
  6. Catching up with an old friend.
  7. Kayaking.
  8. Seeing my employees reach a goal they’ve been working towards.
  9. Sunflowers.
  10. Listening to someone describe what they’re passionate about.
  11. Ice cream.
  12. Opening the mail and actually getting something good.
  13. Watching friends go from completely sober to a little tipsy after a few glasses of wine.
  14. Finding adorable baby things for my friends who are pregnant while simultaneously not having to have a baby myself.
  15. Climbing to the top of a mountain.
  16. Being near the ocean.
  17. Getting to watch someone “create.” Photography, painting, music- doesn’t matter.
  18. Watching my mom and dad interact with each other. They’re freaking adorable.
  19. Christmas Eve traditions with my brother.
  20. Seeing a rainbow.
  21. Trying out a new recipe and actually liking how it comes out.
  22. Looking through old photos.
  23. Getting notes from people.
  24. Hearing someone talk about a book they really enjoy.
  25. Reading a great book that you just don’t want to put down.
  26. Bonfires.
  27. Waking up in the woods after a night of camping.
  28. Having someone tell you something you can tell makes them feel vulnerable.
  29. A good pun will get me every time.
  30. Being so content in one moment you just can’t help but smile.

The struggle is real

  1. Something with which you struggle.

One thing that has always amazed me about little kids is their honesty. They are a people  not afraid to say it like it is! You promised someone earlier that day you would pick them up at the airport and are now trying to get out of it? They will call you on it faster than you can tell them to shut up. They have no qualms about telling you that shirt doesn’t look nice, you look older than you did yesterday, or on the flip side- how much they love you, what funny thing their friend did earlier… It doesn’t matter for kids. They just say what’s on their mind.

Being honest is not something I struggle with. Ask any of my friends- I don’t shy away from telling the truth (good or bad) even if it’s at the expense of someone’s feelings. I am so willing to tell the truth that I’ve had to learn to ask people if they’re telling me stuff to get my opinion or if they just want me to listen.

But in the spirit of honesty, here’s where I struggle: I have a tendency to use my honesty as a scape goat to being vulnerable. I think a lot of people wrongfully link the two, but they are actually very different. Honesty is defined as “truthfulness or frankness;” whereas vulnerability is “capable or susceptible to being wounded or hurt.” Continue reading “The struggle is real”

30 Day Writing Challenge

Hello, everyone!

This is Alyssa, and I’m speaking for both of us here, but we’re so glad you’re here! Over the next 30 days, Liz and I are going to write EVERY day for 30 days. We both love to write (read more about that here) and want to get better at it. Better at the whole words putting into sentences thing.

Because we’re Type A planners, we’ve put together a list of prompts to help us out because this challenge is going to be… well, a challenge. Here’s the list, so you can keep up if you’d like: Continue reading “30 Day Writing Challenge”