Speaking to journalist Angela Mollard, Wilkinson, who guest-edited the new issue of Stellar, said she was most enjoying doing away with the early starts of morning television after a decade of sleep deprivation left her feeling permanently exhausted.
“I’ve got these new reserves of energy and I feel challenged and invigorated,” she said.
“I love it when the alarm goes off and I see the number seven at the front. I wouldn’t change any of it.”
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Wilkinson, 60, shared an anecdote that revealed just how much the job change had meant to her family – husband Peter FitzSimons and children, Jake, Louis and Billi, all aged in their 20s.
“It was about six months after I made the move, and Pete, the kids and I were sitting around having a midweek barbecue that ended up going well into the night. At about 11pm, we were all still chatting when Jake, our eldest, turned to me and said, ‘Mum, it’s so great that you can do this now – stay up late and not be frantically watching the clock so you can get to bed. I feel like we’ve finally got you back.’ I was suddenly reminded of the price your kids pay when your job can be all-consuming. That’s when I really knew it had all been worth it,” she said.
Wilkinson’s swift exit from Today saw her jump ship from Nine to Ten – and from breakfast to prime time, where she’s appeared on The Project since January 2018.
“I’m thrilled that at the age I now am, I’ve never felt more valued as an employee, more engaged with what I do and never felt more excited about what’s ahead because, clearly, I’m in my second half now.”
And Wilkinson also opened up about which of her former Today colleagues she keeps in touch with – and which she doesn’t. She said she was still “extremely close” to both Ben Fordham and Sylvia Jeffreys, having recently enjoyed a four-hour lunch with Jeffreys just days before she gave birth to her baby Oscar.
She’s less close, it would appear, with Karl Stefanovic or Georgie Gardner, admitting she hasn’t seen either of them: “The timing just hasn’t worked.”
Wilkinson last year opened up about Stefanovic’s return to Today after being dramatically ousted, admitting she was “surprised”.
“Look I was surprised because he now knows what it’s like to sleep past that 3am alarm,” Wilkinson said of the decision.
“But he clearly feels like there is some unfinished business so I can’t wish those guys anything but luck,” she said.
“They have obviously had a tough couple of years (and) I wish them well. When you know the pain of that 3am alarm and you are still prepared to do the hard yards I wish them luck.”
Read the full interview with Lisa in the current issue of Stellar, available in The Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Herald Sun.