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.

channel zero

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

Some time when I was in middle or high school, I stopped watching television. I realized that every time I sat down in front of the TV, I would eat. I would want something salty and crunchy and I would want to mindlessly munch while I zeroed in on the screen. So at some point I decided to cut off the bad habit by cutting off the source.

I didn’t miss it much, which some TV addicts might find surprising, but I was pretty busy with other things and my preferred activity post-school was reading anyway. (Not homework. Just fiction novels.) And if I did want to watch TV, my small bedroom TV had a DVD player in it, so I’d just pop in one of my seasons of Will and Grace and binge watch that for a while. (This was before Netflix and Hulu, so binge-watching was a little more hands on. You had to change the disc every 4 episodes… I know, it’s complicated and exhausting just thinking about.)

When I went to college not only did I not get a new TV, I didn’t even take my little one with me. I watched a lot of Hulu (before it was a paid subscription) or went to someone elses room and watched stuff if I wanted to. As a theater major at a liberal arts school, it’s not like I had a lot of time to devote to TV anyway. The same applied when I went to Highlands College. My first year I lived with a sweet family, and any TV watching was done with them or the occasional movie while babysitting. Netflix and Hulu, again, if I really wanted to zone out. And my second year, I shared an apartment with 5 other girls so how would I have watched cable even if I wanted to? If the TV was on, it was probably a movie, and between school, ministry interning, and two jobs, I usually didn’t devote my little free time to TV watching.

When I moved to Delaware, well you probably see where this going. No TV in my room, and I opted out of watching any cable and paying the cable bill. Now it was economical. Plus, I had Netflix and Hulu…. so… yeah. I guess you get my point.

So when I married someone who loves to watch TV and moved in with him, you can imagine the culture shock of suddenly having access to cable. Let’s just say I binge-watched HGTV like the newly married woman I was.. but less because of the ring and new last name and more because I hadn’t had cable in years! And we have On Demand! It’s pretty magical.

And most evenings, Allen and I eat dinner at the table or in front of the TV (I’m a table eater, he’s a couch/TV eater, so we compromise by doing both) and usually watch TV for the rest of our evening. But around 9:00p we turn off the TV and go to bed. Since he works at 11:30, he’ll sleep for an hour and a half or so, and I read for about an hour. Sometimes I journal. Sometimes we chat and catch up. Sometimes we snuggle, sometimes we don’t. This happens at least 5 or 6 nights of the week. Sometimes this various, but mostly it looks like that. But that’s it. That’s my favorite part of the routine. Turning off the TV. 

I like TV. I don’t love it. I love activities you do with people that inspire conversation and eye contact. To me, TV watching is a distant activity. It’s mindless. And that’s okay, because sometimes I need mindless. And sometimes I’m all ‘talked-out’ from my day, and I just want to zone out. But my favorite part is always when the screen goes off, and the apartment is quiet. I get my husband’s attention all to myself, and I get to pick up a book. Sleep is imminent at that point, and is there anything better than the prospect of a comfy pillow and a good night’s sleep?

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”

make it make sense

  1. Something with which you struggle.

Can I write about the struggle to come up with something to write about right now? Or how about THE Struggle, as in “The Struggle is Real” ? Or maybe the struggle of finding something to wear when I “have nothing to wear.” (Even though I have a closet FULL of clothes *insert eye roll*) Or the eyeliner struggle. I’ll explain for any men reading this: you put eyeliner on one eye and it’s perfect. You do the other eye and it’s not even, so you apply more to the first eye in an attempt to even it out. This goes on until ones reflection is actually a raccoon. The eyeliner struggle.

But in an effort to be transparent, I’ll go a little deeper than makeup struggles. Although there is a time and a blog for that.

So here is my general statement about struggle: I struggle with wanting to know and make sense of EVERYTHING.  Continue reading “make it make sense”