It's 10PM. I know I should just go to bed, but finally--FINALLY--I can sit down. I can watch what I want to watch on TV. No one is asking me for something, no one needs this or that. The kitchen may or may not be cleaned up from dinner, but I don't care. I sink into the couch, stemless wine glass in one hand, remote in the other. My eyes glaze over as ____________ starts (insert The Good Wife, Top Chef, True Detective, etc. depending on the day or my mood). And then one glass of wine turns into two because I have to have a little something while I'm watching. (Or maybe it's potato chips, or M&Ms or whatever...)
I came across this on Facebook the other day:
It's funny because it's true!
I value my alone time--I'm a true introvert. Energized by solitude.
However, whenever these nights happened, I regretted it the next day.
I would wake up, startled by the alarm going off far too early. My day started on a bad note, feeling rushed, guilty, exhausted, empty.
After a while, I looked at that time I spent watching mindlessly. Was it really how I wanted to spend my very limited free time? (And make no mistake--sometimes the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Everyone needs to decompress from time to time). The problem came when instead of being refreshing and relaxing, these kind of nights became the new normal. It's a lot like bad eating habits--treats are fine, when they are actually treats and not your normal diet.
And for me, that is when the guilt creeps in. And those kind of feelings began to take over my life. I knew I had to change.
In the course of a month, my alone time shifted from 10PM to 5AM. It was not easy--at first. But after a while, it became a habit. I still feel that alarm clock on days when I don't get to bed early enough, but it's far less often than it used to be. I get at least an hour of my beloved solitude and I use the time to better myself. Usually it's a workout, sometimes it's working (on something I'm passionate about so it doesn't seem like work), and sometimes I just read and enjoy the quiet before everyone else wakes up.
Now, I realize that not everyone is an early bird. Not everyone enjoys working out in the morning, but it is worth looking at how you spend your limited free time--whenever it might be--and deciding if that is truly how you want to spend it.
For me, instead of bleary-eyed watching, I've decided that this is much better: