My friend Debbie always tells the best stories from her past.  When I read her blog posts, I notice how different our styles are.   She uses memories to tie in current happenings and feelings.  I really like that about her.  Her recall is pretty accurate and she can paint a crystal clear visual of past events.  I have a hard time remembering 10 minutes ago sometimes, especially spoken words and dialog.  I find that I am more inclined to write about things yet to happen and how those motivations impact my life now.  Maybe I should take a moment to remember things from time to time and document them in my blog.  I will give it a shot today, but first, a quick observation.

Speaking of the past, do you ever look at old photos of yourself wishing that you had fully realized how wonderful you were at the time?  That happens to me often.  Even looking at pictures from just a year ago I can recall not being able to fully see myself and my surroundings/circumstances.  Even though I can’t always remember specific words and conversations, I can always remember how I felt.  Looking at old pictures makes me want to reach through time and yell, “Hey, YOU! Jen West! You are awesome.  You look really cute. Here is a high-five from the future!”.  Which then always inevitably makes me think.. oh gosh, have I lost that time?  It’s another year past, what have I missed out on from not being fully self-aware?  But… that is exactly the problem.  I should never think that, or ask those questions.  Thinking that now only puts me back in the same trap, the same loop of thinking.  Then once again, a year from now, I will recall feeling regretful.  I do not want that to be the case – ever again.  The feeling of regret is probably the worst thing you could wish upon yourself.  Because regret means that you lost a chance, that you can’t get that opportunity back.  Regret sucks, and I want nothing to do with it.

Now for story time!  When I was 16 I really really wanted to have a job, so I started working at the Captain D’s in Gardendale, about 15 minutes from my then-home.  I would reek of fish and cleaning projects after my shifts, and my mom started washing my work clothes in separate loads from everyone else.  I’m pretty sure no one enjoyed anything about my first career choice, except for me.  I loved having my own money and being “independent”.  Hahaha.  One time I even caught a rat under a to-go cup and got a round of applause from my coworkers.  Despite all those unique highlights, my favorite memory is my family coming to visit me every Sunday.  They would wait until the end of my shift, and we would all have dinner together in the restaurant.  I think Captain D’s offered some sort of special Sunday discount, and if I ordered the food myself we got an even better deal.  It was really sweet.  I only made it there about 9 months before throwing in the towel, but I will never forget my entire family sharing hush puppies and fried fish while I told them stories about angry drive-thru customers after church let out.   I’m  not exactly sure how this story ties in with anything about my blog post today, but it’s entertaining none-the-less.

My first job – Captain D’s