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12-year-olds are a unique breed of human beings. They sit right in that middle area where childhood innocence, youthful fears, and reckless adolescent confidence all overlap into a completely irrational soup of decision-making.

But that period of life, like all of them, does pass. We keep growing, sweeping through adolescence, surging on through the twenties, and edging into middle age.


Once an adult, it can be difficult to imagine exactly what felt most important when you were 12 years old.

And yet, a few things stick. They lead us to compare and contrast the plans of that 12-year-old kid against what actually occurred in our lives.

The result is a reflection equal parts nostalgic, relieved, and hilarious.

Some Redditors offered up their answers to that question.

coronacel asked, "What would 12 year-old you never believe about adult you?"

Many people keyed in on the clearest signs that adulthood had arrived completely, leaving the zaniness of childhood largely in the dust.

Genes

"That sometimes, when I'm not paying attention, my mom's words slipped right out of my mouth!" -- BlindGirlSees

"Sometimes it happens even when I'm paying attention. I'm too young to turn into her." -- SkyScamall

"I just tell people that my dad is the world's greatest ventriloquist. He can be miles away and his voice still comes out of my mouth." -- OpeScuseMe74

Changing Priorities

"For almost 9 years, I've worked literally 1 minute away from a huge water park and I've never gone there." -- subject_deleted

"Yeah the chance of drowning is non-zero, pretty sure 12 year old me would avoid the place too." -- vizthex

"This one breaks my heart, imagine the look on your younger face." -- Splashfooz

All About Context 

"I actually like exercise and physical activity, it's just PE class that sucked." -- mulitvac83

"School does a surprisingly good job of sucking every last bit of fun out of many subjects. PE focused on competitive team sports -- horrible for non-competitive or less coordinated people." -- ljr55555

Bed Time 

"That I'm in bed usually by 8:45 every night. To sleep 😳" -- QueenBetsie

"a good sleep cycle rocks. Wish i could push myself to do that." -- GotYeeted

"This is me and then I sleep 8-9 hours and wake up with the sunrise and no alarm. 12 year old me, during the summer, stayed up until sunrise and slept until afternoon." -- pieohmi

Some Changed, Some Didn't 

"That I actually like bees now and want to pursue beekeeping some day."

"I used to hate all bugs no matter what, but with more research, I realized that bees aren't so bad. Still hate other bugs tho..."

-- godoffloof

Lost in the Shuffle

"That all of the things I said I'd always remember and never do as an adult, I've largely forgotten and probably do as an adult ..." -- monsieurpoupon

"12 year old me would hate an office job. Ugh, 9-5 is not for me! I wanted to be doing stuff outside. Commutes are gross.

"31 year old me loves my office job and the structure a 9-5 (though I am 8-4, technically) brings my life. I MISS my office and my commute since working from home. They were clear divides of when I work, wind down (commuting with podcasts and audiobooks), and am free at home." -- deskbeetle

No, Special Agents Aren't the Only Ones 

"I live in a whole a** other country and speak another language now, that definitely would've come as a surprise." -- Ryoukugan

"Same. And despite all the hours 12 year old me spent with a Japanese dictionary, it's not Japan" -- Cunninglinguist87

Others lamented that some things they dreamed about as kids never quite panned out as the years went by.

To be fair, many of those dreams were rather far-fetched. Though not all.

Still Waiting On the Steeds 

"That I'm almost 40 and still don't have a stable full of horses." -- carmindy

"I just turned 40 and finally do have a horse of my own. It was well worth the wait, young me!" -- corporatewazzack

"I used to wake up every Christmas morning, hoping and wishing I'd see a horse on my parents' suburban front lawn. Believe it or not it didn't happen."

"I literally picked a career path in accounting to have the financial stability to own horses some day and am borderline ready to forgo having children to make it happen." -- fivecentssobct11

Not Automatic

"That I haven't gotten married. That something I just assumed would happen and yet here we are and I'm still single."

"I think he'd also be surprised at how rough my teenage years were."

-- snoobsnob

Never Came Together 

"That, I too, don't know what the fu** I'm doing with my life." -- lilasketching

"Lol I think 12 year old me knew more about what I was doing in life than I do" -- platypossamous

"12 yo me had her whole life planned ahead of her and was ready to take on the entire world. She wouldn't be happy to hear that none of it panned out the way it was planned and I have no idea what I'm doing on any given day." -- SimonSpooner

Don't Hold Your Breath 

"We never got that growth spurt we were promised" -- mumoftheweek

"Same. I'm in my 20's and people still tell me I'll get one one day." -- Monarch_of_God

"Mine seems to have been horizontal rather than vertical." -- AStartIsBorn

But some people took note of the things that haven't changed a bit, despite all the years that separate them from their 12-year-old selves.

They were happy to reflect on the innocence they've managed to retain.

Good for a Laugh 

"That I still laugh at the exact same things." -- Billy-Mays-Ghost

"Still listen to the same music too" -- platypossamous

"I love a good fart joke. Probably more than I ever have." -- WaterWatcher

The Locks are BACK

"That my hair would still be this long!"

"I was on chemo from 11-14 and all I wanted was to get my hair back. I had luscious locks halfway down my back(I'm a boy) and I'm proud to say after 3 years of being off chemo my hair has restored to (almost) it's old length."

"I'm eternally greatful for my life, and plan to live it to the fullest!"

"I get that I'm not really an "adult" but I'm as adult as I've ever been"

-- angeryhornet

Finally Striking Out 

"When I was not 12 but 13, I got this crazy idea. I dreamed of someday loading a bunch of camping gear onto my bicycle and disappearing for a year or so to ride around the country. Also when I was 13, I started to see signs of trouble in my family."

When I was 17, those family troubles would culminate I'm my parents' divorce. And when I was 20 years old, I would finally set off on that bike camping trip I'd dreamed of for so long."

"So 13 year old me would be super stoked to hear that the bike trip actually happened, and he wouldn't be entirely surprised about the divorce and its lingering effects to this day. But 12 year old me? Yeah, he has absolutely no idea what's coming."

-- MasteringTheFlames

Committed After All These Years 

"I'd still sit down for an all night session of Dungeons and Dragons." -- TigerMkIV

"I never played DnD, but I really, really want to try. I've been listening to a bit of The Adventure Zone podcast and it sounds like a blast. Growing up, it was always the bottom of the barrel for nerdism. You could play or be into anything nerdy and get away with it because 'at least it's not DnD.' "

"I think my friends and I would really dig it if they just got past the stereotype. The last time I talked about it some time ago, the idea got shot down. Maybe I'll give it another go the next time I go home, or try arranging it with them online over roll20."

"The biggest problem is that I would likely have to be dungeon master for a group that knows nothing about it. I barely do." -- Voittaa

THE DREAM

"That I own an ice cream shop. 🤯" -- blackcatice

"As an ice cream shop owner, how much ice cream do you infact still consume? Do you get tired of it after a while? Can one even get tired of ice cream?" -- AnAncientMonk


Now that you've read this, take a second to reflect on your own answer to the 12-year-old question.

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