Bartending Saved My Life
When many of us were kids, no one really ever talked about anxiety and depression. My parents, grandparents, etc never told me that it runs in our family. I still remember over hearing some of my friends parents saying that if you were a kid and had anxiety something was wrong with you, maybe they were right, what do I know.
All I know is that yes….I have depression, yes I also have severe social anxiety, both being diagnosed….not self diagnosed like a lot of horse shit these days.
I have lived with both of the above mentioned for most of my life, sometimes it can be quite crippling and there can be some really shitty days.
One thing that I can honestly say that has helped me keep these things in check: Bartending.
I remember first bar backing when I was 19 and I never wanted to talk to people at the bar during service. I pretended not to speak English sometimes or I wouldn’t even speak at all. I remember one of my managers pulling me aside and literally telling me “if you don’t start talking to customers, we’re going to let you go”.
I didn’t really have any options, I didn’t want to go find another job. I made good money for being 19 and being in college. I actually started to talk to people….and really enjoyed it. For some of you, you might say that’s so easy, but when it terrifies you to talk to new people, it’s not always an easy task.
The bar top feels like a safety barrier sometimes, no one can cross it (unless they’re super ballsy). When behind it, you can do whatever you want, say what you want and engage with who you want. Bartending really saved my life, it gave me a purpose and a passion.
I love bartending, it’s part of who I am. I am able to be creative with drinks and ingredients. When I used to look at guest interaction as a highly negative thing, I look at it as an absolute positive. That person in front of you is from a different walk of life, from somewhere you have probably never been to, that has a story to tell. Bartending gives you confidence, you’re in a career that so many people have wanted to be in or want to be in.
I look at where I am at now in my life and in my career and see that I am extremely lucky and fortunate. Lucky to have the friends and family that I have. Fortunate to work where I do and who I work with. I’m so thankful that I got into bartending and that it truly helped to save me and shape me into who I am today.