“Do you do anything else besides this?’ – the #1 question I get asked as a bartender.

In the last year I have graduated college, landed a job at a media company, quit my job at a media company, began bartending full time, applied to grad school, poured some drinks for myself too, traveled Europe and managed to clean out my whole room (if you know me, you know that was no easy task) and get into grad school.

I did all this while fighting the crippling anxiety and depression that gets thrown at me every now and then, while also finding myself and what makes me happy. So if you really want to know what I did this last year? It’s really easy, I found myself again.

Growing up I was always kind of a loner kid. And I know what you’re probably thinking – Irene, you? Really? Yes, really. As a kid all I did was come home everyday, watch TV, read a million books, and write in my little journals. I liked to get lost in words. And I really never knew why I loved this so much but I did. I found comfort in words that made sense to me and I found comfort in words that made sense to someone else, too.

I think that’s why I want to be a therapist.

Which brings me to my next point – I changed my life plan in a matter of 3 months. But I don’t think I ever really changed my plan, I just think that I swerved off the path I always had for myself for a few short years to maybe see if there’s anything else out there.

We hear that theme a lot with friends and relationships. Let it go, do ya thang and if it all works out later on it was always meant to be – if it doesn’t then you got your answer right there. So I think maybe I did that with my dreams a bit, I switched them up in pursuit of something else, only to find that that something else would never be my dream.

I think the best thing I did was take this gap year. Take this year to switch up directions a few times and maybe even allow my life to set sail on it’s own without my paranoia and need to control everything that comes my way. I set myself up for success so many times that sometimes I think I had set myself up for just that – success. Not happiness, not fulfillment, just success. And if you think that the two are synonymous, it’s okay – I used to too. But here I am, I’m 23 years old. And I’ve realized that that’s never going to be the case. Unless you’re searching for success in happiness, and whatever happiness means to you, you’ll never find happiness in success.

I’m a thinker – can you tell? I think about everything. Actually everything. I get lost in my thoughts all the time and it could be about the littlest thing. I think about people and why they say and do the things they say and do. I think about what brought me somewhere and why it matters. Most importantly, I think about who I want to live this life for and how I plan on making it count.

I’m starting school to be a social worker, but I can tell you that my long term dream is to be a private practice therapist and New York Times best-selling author. I want to write about kids and families and why everything under one roof matters. I want to share stories of my life, thoughts I’ve pondered, and experiences that shape you without you realizing it. I want to be the change in the world that everyone’s always talking about. I want to be the person people can say helped them change their life.

Someone recently told me my words are healing, that person made me feel like a million bucks. And that’s what’s so important to me.

So if you ask me what I do, what I plan on doing moving forward, it’s heal. Continue to heal myself, continue to help heal others. Getting my masters in social work is a start, but it is definitely only the beginning.


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