There are moments in life when I stop and just laugh, thinking to myself how my younger self would be appalled at what we have become – mostly on the nights I fall asleep before 9pm.

Things obviously change as we get older, and some of it is to be expected. That said, no one knows the kid you were better than, well, you – so no one else knows just what would be the hardest thing for them to believe.

These 16 people are musing on just that, and I’ve gotta say…I feel their pain.

16. This is likely my future.

That I have a kid taller than me.

I’m not tall or anything just never pictured being shorter than my 13 year old.

15. That’s honestly the way it should be.

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.

14. Time to get cracking.

That I’m almost 40 and still don’t have a stable full of horses.

13. It’s never too late.

That I never became the first man on Mars. That was always my plan. I guess, technically, I could still be the first.

12. What more could she ask for?

She has friends, good, supportive, long term friends.

12 year old me ate lunch by herself and didn’t know what to tell mom when asked who we should invite for my birthday party. 34 year old me has now lived in 5 different states and keeps up with an enormous number of real, supportive friends from all those states. And nearly all those friends have PhDs because I met them through grad school. I just had to wait to find the people who liked school as much as I did.

11. I’ve forgotten what I said I was going to do this morning.

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 …

10. And that’s ok.

That, I too, don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my life.

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

9. Waiting for eternity.

We never got that growth spurt we were promised.

8. Marriage isn’t everything.

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.

7. The good stuff never changed.

That I still laugh at the exact same things.

Still listen to the same music too.

6. The hair is a win.

12 year old me was an optimist, and thought adult me would be married by 25, or maybe 28 if I went for the PhD, with an enjoyable meaningful job, and a kid or two by 30ish and my own home.

Surprise, 12 year old me… you never even dated till nearly 30, still single by 40, have never yet had a real, good job, and had to move back in with your parents, and have no forseeable plan for life to move on. On the plus side, for being a pudgy dork 12 year old, you’re in good athletic shape and still have your hair.

5. But hopefully you’re happy anyway?

We never achieved that swan status. Still an ugly duckling.

I read the hans christian anderson story, it features many times of the ugly duckling saying “I’m so ugly, I should just DIE” it’s not a good moral. A better moral is you may be an ugly duck. but that’s because you are really a dog, and someone out there thinks you are one heck of a dog. just gotta find that person.

4. An exciting surprise.

I live in a whole a$s other country and speak another language now, that definitely would’ve come as a surprise.

3. That is frankly unbelievable.

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

2. I’m so proud of a stranger.

That he would become a scientist after all. Being a dirt floor poor country kid seemed insurmountable at the time.

1. It’s truly horrifying.

That sometimes, when I’m not paying attention, my mom‘s words slipped right out of my mouth!

There are just too many things to list here, for my poor middle school heart.

What would you say, if someone asked you this question? Tell us in the comments!