Things are Good

Written by Patrick J Turner Jr

Published on April 12, 2023

Hello. Welcome back. I’ve found writing these posts to be helpful in organizing my thoughts in a somewhat coherent way. I realize most of these posts are somewhat long-winded and perhaps not always written in the most coherent manner, but compared to the inside of my head it is a great improvement. I like to call my approach to writing these a “shotgun” method of throwing a bunch of stuff at the page and developing it over several editing passes. It results in these posts that make sense, but are ultimately not very well structured, and rely on writing habits I have used as a crutch for filling space in school papers for far too long.

I feel as though I am railroading myself into a set style and not challenging myself to change my writing habits. My writing can be so drawn out and boring because that’s just the type of writing I found myself falling into throughout school. I’ve worked on some creative writing projects (and am currently working on another!) as well as some scripts which I have turned into YouTube videos. In fact, making videos used to be my favorite method of creative expression in high school and early college. I don’t feel particularly proud of most of my creative work and constantly feel the need to improve. Part of the reason I haven’t made videos in a long time is because the constant pressure to keep one-upping myself combined with the immense amount of work each video required only to be viewed several hundred times left me feeling burnt out.

Today I went back through my old YouTube content and found I did not recognize the person who had made them. Even looking at somewhat recent videos from a year or two ago I could not understand my thought process and felt embarrassed that I had made them. A hobby which I had previously enjoyed for many years was now staring me in the face, my earnest expression of self was mocking me. I unlisted the videos I was no longer proud of, and went on with my daily tasks, a feeling of discomfort following me. Had I really always been so annoying?

I have felt this way before. I’ve purged my Twitter and Instagram of old posts multiple times when I was younger. Maybe it’s just an unavoidable part of growing up and being disgusted by lasting digital snapshots of yourself. Perhaps this same dissociation can be found in artists and their early work across generations or even with family photos and home movies. Seeing a younger version of yourself behaving and acting in ways you would not dream of now is a sign of growth maybe.

I caught myself from falling down the rabbit hole of overthinking that my old YouTube channel started to take me on. Lately I’ve been feeling good about myself and managing my negative thoughts in a healthier way than I have the past several months. I used to think I wasn’t the type of person who was heavily affected by seasonal depression, but with the weather being nicer I have felt a lot nicer mentally as well. It’s hard to pin down exactly what led to me being in a better state of mind, but from this position I am more capable of preventing myself from slipping back into a bad place.

We’ve all either engaged in or know someone who keeps a depression hole. It can be hard to clean up your room when you can’t seem to break out of a mental slump. I’ve been doing well at keeping my apartment clean, managing my calendar, and doing nice things for myself. I recognize with each of these actions I take I am doing a form of self-care for my future self. Doing my laundry now means I won’t have to stress about it when I don’t have time over the next several days.

Things are good right now, and instead of worrying about if they’ll be bad again I’m choosing to focus on the behaviors that make me feel bad in the first place. I’m trying to stop overthinking and get off my phone. I’m trying to make better conversation and to express myself. I’m trying to show through my actions the things I believe internally.

I’ve realized that I typically know what I need to do at any given moment but will often put off actually doing the things I need to out of some form of procrastination or something. I know generally what I should say to people, I know what good social interaction looks like and how to leave a decent impression on others but will usually default to my usual behaviors because it’s easier somehow. I’m still trying to find ways of making better habits I guess.

This past weekend my girlfriend and I traveled to South Carolina to visit our families. It had been a while since she had been home, and I hadn’t seen my extended family since Christmas, so it was nice to see everyone. I found that being in the car with my girlfriend and spending a lot of quality time with my family broke me out of the habit of being on my phone constantly. It was refreshing to be off social media and messaging apps and to converse with loved ones in person.

I do love keeping up with friends and family online, but I do worry that doing it too much and obsessing over connecting through an app is interfering with my ability to communicate with others in real life. Like anything else being on social media is fine in moderation. I owe a lot to the internet for allowing me to communicate and maintain a lot of my friendships so easily. Yet sometimes I can become overwhelmed by a fear of missing out. Being so connected to my friends but so far apart from them that I become hyper focused on what they must be up to, or if they still like me.

That’s one habit I want to break and form new healthy ones in place of. I’ve had the great pleasure of having some enlightening conversations with friends recently as well. I spoke with an old childhood friend about our experiences with having ADHD and found joy and connection in sharing our struggles. I caught up with one of my exes, and we had a nice conversation about jobs and being adults. I opened up to my roommate about my breakups, something we never really talk about.

I’m finding that it feels good to be open and emotionally available to others. I want to do the same for all my close friends and my family as well. The other day I had a conversation with some of my girlfriend’s friends at the bar and felt deeply satisfied when I was able to carry the conversation without difficulty. I came out of the experience feeling proud of myself for being able to have a normal and happy conversation with people who I didn’t know super well.

I see myself exhibit these behaviors from time to time and have them set as goals in my head. I have to keep striving for them so that they no longer become a rare occurrence, but the norm. I see that I am capable of feeling good about myself. That keeps me optimistic and keeps me going, even if I don’t have a written plan for how I’m going to do better, it’s the thought that I can do better. I need to develop more of a plan. We’ll see how things go from here. Thank you and goodnight.