Impressing 12-Year Old Me

Any time I do something big or important, I think of myself as 12 years old, and I ask what the younger me would think of what I am doing now. If the kid would be impressed, it was the right decision.

The reason I do this, is because I still carry many of the same dreams and am fascinated by the same things my younger self was into. And at 12, I still had a bit of the innocent naïveté of a child, without the awkwardness of being a teenager but with a well developed sense for right and wrong. I suspect others probably can relate to this as well.

So, it’s really a technique to try and stay true to my core, not be afraid of lofty dreams, and to keep seeking adventure. I think returning to that kid also acts as a way to avoid getting too jaded or caught up in life’s endless list of complications.

At 12, I was really into gaming. Especially roleplaying games and video games. I was also into organizing stuff back then, taking charge. Fast forward 35 years, and I am a producer in the gaming industry. Kid-me, from a decidedly blue collar family in tiny Denmark, would have his little mind blown. That’s a clear win, and the most direct tie back to my childhood. Most of the time, it’s much more subtle.

A common one I use, is “would kid-me trust this person?” It’s a pretty good bullshit-meter, because my default position was always not to trust adult strangers. And in continuation of my thoughts on donating work to other people’s projects, I absolutely use this technique as a measure, before making any sort of commitment. If kid-me disapproves, it’s an automatic pass.

In essence it helps me to be less constricted by outside expectations, and instead focus inward on what matters to Rasmus.

It doesn’t work for everything, of course. Specifically, it doesn’t work for things kids just don’t care about. Like choosing an accountant or cleaning your room. Kid-me never approves of those things, so I make sure to get him a small reward whenever it gets done anyway. Which current me is thankful for.

By Rasmus

Nerd and immigrant who uses words, pictures and sound to tell stories.

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