Is Twelve-Year-Old You Still Here?

January 19, 2011

What would twelve-year-old you think of you today?

Last week, I wondered aloud on the blog just how much of our twelve-year-old selves make it to adulthood.

I think it’s time for a little fun.  So I’m asking you: how much of twelve-year-old you is still around today? 

When I Was Twelve…

I was: skinny and quiet.  I was known for being smart (or just smart sounding), but not at all athletic.  I was also not known for being a snappy dresser.  Also, for knowing about a lot of stuff, I was pretty inept at doing anything…except for school projects.

I liked: science.  But I also liked games and puzzles.  But not so much math…unless math involved shapes.  I played with lots of “science-y” toys, like robots with motors and gears.  And I’d go get dirty in the creek with friends, but it was to look for fossils.  I liked to think of myself as more grown-up than I was, which made me look annoyingly precocious.

I wanted: to blast a rocket into space.  I didn’t want to be on the rocket.  I wanted to be at the space center to push the button.  That’s what I thought I’d do as an adult.

Now That I’m Not Twelve…

I’m still pretty wiry.  But my wife is the quiet one.  I learned how to be loud…sometimes.  I never got to be any good at a sport, but some people seem to still assume I’m brainy, even though I try to not put off that nerd vibe.  I just can’t shake it…maybe if I didn’t use words like “precocious.”  I developed my art skills, but I still love puzzles and games.  I also learned how to do a few manly things.  Also, it turns out that you have to know a bunch of math to push buttons that blast rockets into space, so that didn’t pan out, which you may have guessed.  I’m pretty sure I’d punch twelve-year-old me in the face.

Okay, you’re turn!  Tell us who you were when you were twelve in three questions: I was, I liked, I wanted.  Tell us if any of twelve-year-old you is still alive today.

26 responses to Is Twelve-Year-Old You Still Here?

  1. I was tall and gangly. I was a potty mouth. I was an athlete (baseball). I was bow-legged but not real bad. I was loved. I was inept in anything that had to do with using the hands.

    I liked girls. I liked baseball. I liked to eat (my grandfather called me highpockets).

    I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I wanted to be accepted, especially when we moved to a new school in the middle of my 12th year.

    This was a lot harder for me Matt than you since I am ancient and required more memory work than you. :)
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Perfect! Who Me

  2. I had a number of things I loved to do. I had a motorcycle and rode it every day, even when it snowed; gas was $.33 9/10 in those days. I built a lot of model cars and worked on real ones with my dad. I had a 35mm camera – not the coveted Nikon, but a nice Minolta. I did a slide show about our town and won an award. I also like traveling though it was with my parents. I played other sports with the kids in the neighborhood. I played hockey on the pond a couple of houses away, football and baseball in the yard, and hoops in the driveway. My memories of church were that it was BORING and I had to sit next some huge stinky kid named Mark Smith (not his real name, because if he saw this he could pound me into a pile of sand). I was a tall skinny kid. I was 5′ 8″ and about 100 lbs from 6th grade until 10th. I was definitely quiet – daydreaming, music and art. It was the advent of jeans and t-shirts. I had a terrible attitude about school, and that got in a lot trouble.

    What’s left? Well, my wife doesn’t want me to have a motorcycle, but I would if I wasn’t married to her – I am thinking Kawasaki Ninja. I had a Mustang GT until gas went to over $4.00 a gallon. I may get another one. Hockey earned me 11 crowns and lots of stitches, but I played on the pond with some guys at church last year. 50-year-old knees don’t go enjoy a lot things. I still enjoy photography, and I photographed 32 national parks and monuments in ’88. I still think that church can be boring, but Jesus, now he’s exciting! I still enjoy jeans and t-shirts. I’m over 6′ tall, but no where near 100lbs. I am still pretty sarcastic and my pastor reminded me that it is not a spiritual gift.

    I have traded in the my life to be the real me, a total geek with Harry Potter glasses. I did manage to fit in 9 years of college too. Somethings have changed.

    Now that I am a parent, I would have smacked me pretty hard –

    Thanks for the memories, Matt.
    David recently posted..The Tale of Two Realities

  3. I was tall and skinny. I was not an athlete, but played basketball because we needed tall guys. I was addicted to black jeans, because that was the only type of jeans we were allowed to wear to (Christian) school.

    I liked girls, food, comic books and the Simpsons (whenever I could sneak in an episode since it wasn’t parentally approved).

    I wanted to be funny, gave up on that when no one laughed at my jokes, then wanted to be cool. I wanted to be whatever it was that people liked, because I wanted to be liked.

    Is 12 year old me still alive? I hope I’ve outgrown at least most of the insecurity but probably more of it is still there than I care to admit. And I haven’t followed the Simpsons faithfully in a few years, but I loved the movie and will always like it better than Family Guy.

  4. I was: loud mouthed but was scared of fights and getting punch in the eye. I was really into RPG video games.

    I liked: Making paper airplanes and fishing. And I liked hanging out with my brother. Also camping and sitting around a camp fire was a favorite.

    I wanted: to have friends and go out with my 7th grade crush. Her name was Catherine.

    Today, I think part of me is still like a 12 year old. I get excited over small things. I’m not too big into RPG video games anymore since they take forever to beat and I’m impatient. I like hanging out with my brother and I still enjoy making a fire and sitting around it for hours and talking.
    Charlie Chang recently posted..254 Doubt and inspiration

  5. My 12-year old self was pretty miserable. We’d just moved and I ended up at the bottom of the 7th grade pecking order.

    I liked science and nature, and I still do. I loved the water, and counted the days until I could get my scuba certification (you had to be 14 in those days). I liked animals a lot.

    I wanted to be a marine biologist and sail around the oceans doing research. I also wanted a husband and family some day. Now, Pete and our daughters are far more important to me than all the coral reefs in the world.

    My interests haven’t changed all that much. But I wouldn’t trade the hard won maturity that comes at my current (middle) age for being young again. Too many of those life lessons were painful!

  6. I was: Skinny, happy, nice, and loved sports although I wasn’t very good at any of them at that time.

    I liked: Video games. A lot. Especially anything with Tecmo Bowl in the title. Also history, comedy, and girls although I wasn’t getting anywhere.

    I wanted: People to like me way too much at that point. Also, I wanted to be good and wasn’t a troublemaker.

    I’m still happy and nice. I suppose I’m more athletic than skinny now. I became a history professor and writer, girls eventually spoke back, and I still want to be good. But I got past that need for approval after college. What a relief. Cool post.
    eduClaytion recently posted..Who Do You Look Like

  7. Let’s see, when I was twelve I was tall and gangly. I was an athlete, but had already eschewed team sports in favor of martial arts. I loved to write poems and short stories, and I wanted to be an astronaut. I was totally obsessed with space and the early space program. I liked boys and was regularly devastated when my crushes didn’t like me back. I was known for being smart, but I already felt I wasn’t as smart as my friends or my older sister. The two things that made me stand out as special were my writing and my martial arts. I also loved to walk by myself for hours in the woods around our house.

    27 year old me is only just starting to rediscover my creativity after shutting it off for a long time to pursue academic and career achievement. I’m pretty sure 12 year old me would be at once impressed that I achieved so much, and sad that I let my creativity slip. In many ways I am still the same person. I still love space and read about it all the time. I still love to walk in nature and I still love to be creative. I let myself forget about 12 year old me for about 12 years, but I am finding her again. She was pretty cool.
    Cara recently posted..Grocery bill update and Delurking day

  8. What’s up with all the tall and skinny 12 year olds here? When I was 12, I was entering into my juvenile delinquent stage. Never got into any real trouble, but I was very rebellious, outspoken and stubborn. I think 12 year old me would be surprised I lived this long, frankly.
    katdish recently posted..What would he say to us today

  9. I was: 12. So that’s what? 6th grade? In all the gifted classes except one (parents didn’t want to overload me), plus choir and band. (Just in case you didn’t already figure that out, all of that = GEEK). I think I was consistently 3rd shortest in the class. Glasses (when I didn’t lose them). LOOOOOOONG hair.

    I liked: Reading. Anything to do with space. Star Wars. Andrew Shackelford (and a bunch of other boys, but he was my “boyfriend” during the summer between 5th and 6th grades – arranged by our respective best friends on the last day of 5th grade with never a word spoken between us all summer, and we decided very early on in 6th grade that it just wouldn’t work between us since he was Catholic and I was Baptist – we stayed friends though). Star Trek: TNG.

    I wanted: To be an aerospace engineer and eventually an astronaut. At the time, I did _not_ want kids (my younger sister was born on the 1st day of 6th grade and I did a lot of baby sitting of her and my younger brother).

    Today: I have: Glasses and long hair; I love: reading, anything to do with space, Star Trek/Wars, my husband (who is _not_ Andrew Shackelford), my kids, and my various jobs; I am: a part-time aerospace engineer who has applied to be an astronaut, a very content mostly-SAHM, a “worship leader” at my church.

    I’d say a LOT of the 12-yr-old me is still around and other than the drama and angst of youth, I’m ok with her.
    Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

  10. I was: short, active, loud-ish, talkative (to my friends). I think I was playing baseball (but not enjoying it :P) at that point and doing Kenpo karate, but didn’t consider myself “athletic.

    I liked: doodling comics and starting my first “business” creating comic books, greeting cards, and everything. I even had my own website! I was into video games, nerf guns and pretty girls.

    I wanted: to not have to go to school, to have a girlfriend, to make money doing comics and with my website, to create things all the time, to have fun, and to keep my friends forever.

    I am: still short, not as active, a bit more quiet unless with friends and no longer athletic unless playing Wii or Kinect.

    I like: doodling comics, having websites, playing video games, and my beautiful wife!

    I’m glad: that I don’t have school, that I found my wife, that I have a comic that people enjoy (but I’d still like to make money for it :P), that I create things a lot, have fun and have kept some of my friends.
    bman recently posted..An Eye Load

  11. My 12 year old self would look at the 40 year old me and think he’s a real loser. Not being harsh, just being real about it. The 12 year old me had huge dreams and didn’t let anyone stop him from reaching them. The 40 year old me let all his dreams die and fade for way too many years. 12 year old me may like what I’m doing now with Mustard Seed Year, but he would look at me and ask “why did you let yourself lose your ability to believe in dreams in the first place?”

    Sorry it was more than just your questions. Here’s your Qs:

    I was already scarred by being an outcast

    I liked rock music, drums and MTV.

    I wanted to be David Lee Roth.
    Jason recently posted..Day 18- You never know if this is your last day

  12. I was short, quiet, and serious. I had a few very close friends with whom I could be loud and silly, but I had trouble making new friends. I was known for reading books all the time, scribbling away in journals, and spending most of my time in the ballet studio.

    I liked ballet, books, history, and writing.

    I wanted to become a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and write books.

    A good deal of my twelve year old self is still around today, though I’ve since learned that my goals can come to fruition in many different ways. Twelve year old me thought if I was going to be a dancer, I had to dance with a major ballet company. Twelve year old me also thought that I would publish a novel by the time I graduated high school and that if I didn’t I was a failure. So, y’know, I’ve grown a little bit. But I’m still dancing, quiet, and bookish, just maybe enjoying life more and beating myself up less than when I was twelve.

  13. I was a pretty average height and on the slim side at age 12. I went through a pretty awkward 6 inch growth spurt and 30 lb weight gain between 12 and 13, so I probably am the same height and weight now that I was at some point during that time frame. I was also shy and a little socially awkward, with a slightly wry sense of humor. I was a musician (viola!), and pretty good.

    I liked….reading, music (classical and grunge…what a strange combo!) and drinking coffee. Yeah, I started that habit way too early. But, judging aforementioned 6 inch growth spurt, it doesn’t actually stunt one’s growth.

    I wanted to be cool and not such a dork. I also wanted to be a writer, doctor, opthalmologist, and veterinarian at various points when I was 12, and was so precocious I was already picking out colleges I wanted to attend. That last part may have made my first want completely impossible. ; )

    Now I am 30 and apparently still look so much like my 12 year old self that people have a hard time believing I am old enough to have graduated from high school, let alone be married and have 2 kids. I did end up graduating from one of the colleges I had picked out when I was 12 (St. Olaf College! Um Ya Ya!), and I still have a myriad of things I want to be when I grow up: writer, musician, and rock star (I’m sort of kidding about that last one). I play the electric viola now (with a worship band) and am trying to figure out how to make that writer/musician/rock star thing happen after both my kids are in school and my husband graduates from seminary. The snarky, wry sense of humor is still there, and probably a lifesaver.

    And, I still feel like I am 12 years old sometimes. In fact, I think I ate like a 12 year old yesterday: all pizza and candy. Yikes.

  14. I was: overweight, quiet, a sports-fan, a reader.

    I liked: books, girls, sports, Weird Al Yankovic.

    I wanted: to be popular, to be blonde, to be a professional athlete.

    I am: overweight, not as quiet, a sports fan, a reader, a father, a husband, a pastor, and above all a follower of Jesus.

    I like: books, sports, Weird Al Yankovic, my wife, my kids, writing, reading, liveing.

    I want: to make a difference.

    I’ve changed a little. Maybe not enough :)
    seekingpastor recently posted..A Dream to Be Thankful For

  15. When I was 12:

    I was: short and skinny, the smallest kid in my class, actually. Because of who I chose to hang out with (plus a little of not completely caring what others thought of me) I was picked on all the time. It did not help that I was sick a lot, sometimes “sick” just to get away from school (bullies and boredom, depending on the day) and sometimes really sick … or hurt from being clumsy. I was on a first-name basis with the hospital emergency room by that point! I was fast, but not very athletic due to the clumsy thing. I was a friendly person, but by this point one of the worse gossips (just so I could see how events unfolded).

    I liked: girls; I had wanted to get married since I was very little just to show people how to really love a woman! (Plus, I also wanted kids of my own so that I could really show them how to deal with mean people … which at the time meant training them to kick the snot out of others!) I liked history, science, reading, baseball, arts and crafts, as much carpentry with my dad as he would let me help him (working with my hands), video games and just about whatever was on TV.

    I wanted: money to help out my parents. We lived just above the poverty line for years thanks to medical bills (not just mine!) and life in general. I wanted to play baseball, but I stayed out so that my parents could afford to let my little brother and sister play (I gave up more for them than they realize to this day, and my parents still say I should have tried to do more for me. I was actually happy watching others have fun!) I also wanted peace. By the time I was 12, I suffered from Chronic Anxiety (was always worried about EVERYTHING) and pretty much hated the world.

    I am: now taller than the majority of the world but by no means the tallest! (6’3-1/2″) I still hang out with “the rejects” but also anyone willing to hang out, but instead of gossipping I talk about Jesus and how we can get along with each other. I am rarely sick anymore (though I just got over a cold) and am rather athletic and fit. I and a friend take a lot of high school and older people on hikes, camping trips, canoe trips, caving (spelunking) trips, etcetera. I still like girls, but I married the most beautiful woman I have ever met! We both enjoy history, science, reading, writing (as I am sure you can tell by now), worshiping our Savior, sharing our Savior, getting outside, playing video games, and watching movies. I still want money to help people (including my parents and pay my own bills!), and I have found that peace I desired. It was only four years away from that little boy and eleven years ten days ago for older me today.
    Daniel M. Klem recently posted..I Love-Hate Religion

  16. I wanted to be the drummer for DC Talk (back when they still spelled it that way and not a lowercase dc) or the Newsboys. But since i’m typing this from a youth room above a fellowship hall it would tell you that I never achieved either one of those. However I can play drums moderately well. :)
    jay sauser recently posted..…my 2011 book list…

  17. I was sad. When I was 12 my dad died. Shaped a lot of who I was; who I am today. I smoked cigarettes. I was chubby. I would do almost anything my friends asked me to do. I was confused and lonely.
    I wanted to fit in.
    Sorry to be such a downer, but all you nerds and geeks need a reality check!
    Today, I’m still sad that I lost my dad at 12. Jesus rescued me from a lot of my loneliness. I don’t smoke (quit 22 years ago) but once in a while I walk by someone and the smell entices me…
    I still want to fit in, but it doesn’t drive me to do whatever my friends want. Just causes me to choose my friends carefully.

  18. I was artsy. And weird. I was smart, but didn’t apply myself or live up to potential, mostly because I didn‘t care (I might have cared if I had been challenged) I was shy, but contentious and a know-it-all around those who knew me well. I was also very sheltered and naïve.

    I liked low cut shirts, pizza, and the internet. I also liked Hanson. I liked going to my Dad’s seminary classes, and paid much more attention in those than I did in my own middle school classes.

    I wanted bigger boobs (I used to rip the shoulder pads out of old shirts and put them in my bra cause my mom wouldn‘t buy me padded bras.) I wanted to be liked, and I thought that if I were just rich, skinny, and self-disciplined that life would be so much easier (as if my life was hard)

    I’m still an under-achiever (and I hate that about myself). I’m still shy sometimes. I’m still weird. I don’t like low cut shirts anymore, and I got the bigger boobs I had wanted. I’m currently in Bible college. I still do artsy things like painting and drawing. I’ve grown a lot in learning not to be a contentious know-it-all. I still think life would be better if I were thinner and had more self-discipline, but I no longer care about money.

    If 12 year old me met me now, she would probably be completely aghast that I did not go straight to college after high school and that I’m not married yet. I would probably tell her “Stop worrying about boys, it will be more than 13 years before you get married…IF you get married.”

  19. I’ve thought about your questions for a couple of days. I truly think that there is none of that person remaining today, though I have a pretty good memory. As Paul put it so succinctly,
    “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” –I Corinthians 13:11

    Or is it as Wordsworth said, “The child is father to the man”?
    No, responded G.M.Hopkins, “How can he be? The words are wild.”
    vanilla recently posted..Chanticleer

  20. I was the target of the bullies, so I tried to be very quiet and make myself invisible most of the time. I became involved in my only fight when I was twelve because my grandma made me a winter hat that would have been very cute on a five year old and my mom made me wear it. I was chubby and hated gym. I became a Christian when I turned 12.

    I liked reading and watching old movies, the campier the better. I also liked listening to records and singing to them. Billy Joel was my favorite. I like school except for the bully part.

    I had too many interests to be really focused. My main goal was to get married and have kids. But I also had dreams of singing, acting and teaching. My singing abilities prevented me from entering that career and my desire to be invisible prevented me from being an actress.

    I still like reading and watching movies. I am a homeschooling mother of four, which means that I am fulfilling my dreams. I am much more outgoing now than I used to be, more like my younger self. And I have found an outlet of storytelling to my kids and blogging, which is a lower-key version of an actor.
    Tandeming Troll recently posted..Pictures from Flagstaff

  21. Hi Matt! I finally got around to replying to this post! You can check out my 12 year old me here: