Lately there’s been a video circulating of a man talking with his 12-year-old self. He had the foresight as a 12-year-old to make a video as if he was talking to a version of himself in the future, and the now 32-year-old picked up the thread. You can watch it here (and I recommend it!).
I didn’t have the foresight when I was 12 to make a video of myself talking to…myself. But I wish I could go back in time and talk to the 12-year-old me. I think I was in sixth grade when I was 12 – somewhere around there. It was my second year in the public school system, and my first year was awfully rocky. By rocky, I mean that my homeroom teacher had what I would call a nervous breakdown. She really enjoyed playing us the Titanic movie in reverse so that she could save all of the people. Yeah. I had a lot of health problems going on and I had really no self-confidence to speak of. It was a rough time.
When you’re 12, you feel like you’re *pretty* much grown up, or at least I recall feeling that way. Of course, I was scared to death of middle school, not to mention high school, but I felt that being old enough to be afraid of that stuff meant that I was mature. I didn’t know how young 12 was. Twelve felt old.
If I could go back and talk to Margie v. 12.0, I’d tell her to shift focus. I’d tell her that stressing about the health stuff is a waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. I’d tell her that yes, people WOULD continue to make fun of her, but she needs to realize, truly, that it’s about them, not about her. I’d tell her that she is a lot more capable than she thinks she is. But most of all, I’d tell her not to rush growing up. I’d tell her to play outside more. I’d tell her to be a kid. I’d tell her to listen to Grandpa when he’s telling his long and winding stories rather than going off and being bored till Mom is ready to go. I’d tell her to eat the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving cuz as it turns out, I like them. I’d tell her to soak in all of that family time. I’d tell her how good she has it.
It’s important to reach out to the kid versions of ourselves now and then. Check in and say, “Hey, that was a rough time and you came through it!” Say, “That was a great time. You should have soaked it in more.” You know now how the story evolves. What advice do you wish you’d have known when you were a kid? When you were 12? You’re likely to find you can still use that advice now.
So what would you tell the 12-year-old you?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/2318775872/ via Creative Commons