It’s #BackToTheFutureDay: Here’s My Message to my 12 Year Old ADHD Nerd Self

Have you heard today is #BackToTheFutureDay?

I guess October 21 2015 is the day that everyone looked forward to when they watched the movie, Back to the Future 2 in 1989.

In the movie, the world was totally different by now — and in some ways lots has changed.

What if we could see what the future looks like?

I’d want to know if it’s worth trying so hard just to get by in school.

Or if I should bother getting out of bed on days when I’d rather keep sleeping. Lel.

My ADHD mentor, Ryan McRae sent me a post today — keep reading and you’ll see it. Here are the things he would tell his younger self, if he could go back in time. I met Ryan when I was 14… his 12-year-old self kinda sounds like me.

Here’s what Ryan had to say:

In 1986, I was 12 years old. Clearly, we live in a different world bordering on science-fiction in comparison: we have email and phones that we talk into, and can record disasters and amazing achievements on.

But when it comes to being 12, on this planet, not much has changed. And when you were ADHD like I was, it was a bit harder, a bit more awkward.

So in true Back to the Future fashion, if I could go back and tell my 12 year old self a few things, this is what I would say. (Yes, I realize I couldn’t tell myself directly without destroying the space-time continuum.)

Keep Playing Video Games

You put a lot of hours into those video games, but they paid off. In couple of months you’ll run the computer lab and you’ll be able to do really fantastic, creative things. People will come to you for help and eventually people will pay you for that help. You’ll see the start of an entrepreneur spirit grow deep within you. Just turn it off when your parents tell you because we all remember the “Pitfall Incident of 1985.”

1980s Atari

Remember Atari? #backtothefutureday

Hit the Books

I appreciate how much you like to read. I remember the fresh stack of comic books you’d get each week. You’d dig into them and the world would spin by. You were the only kid in 12 square miles that loved to be dropped off at the local library. That paid off as well. You’re the guy who is “in the know.” You deep dive into books and because of that habit, you’re the idea fella. You’re the guy who comes up with the plan that works.

Don’t Sweat The Dances

Next time there is a school dance, just go. Don’t worry about looking cool or knowing the moves. Be the guy who has the most fun. Everyone loves that guy.

The Bullies

Man, they keep coming, don’t they? Don’t give them any room. Don’t let them see they bother you. Ignore them. Don’t become fluent in the language of being petty. You’re not that guy. On graduation day literally wave goodbye to them. Don’t think about them another minute of your life.

Kids with ADHD being bullied for being different

Dig What You Dig

Pursue all the things you’re curious about. Your ADHD gives you this LET’S FIGURE THIS OUT spirit. Use that. It’s rare on this planet.

Sophomore Year

Don’t get a C in English just because you didn’t like the teacher. Dig in because that stuff followed you when you applied to colleges. It’s cool, but don’t hit the opt-out button so fast. Figure out what he wants and then hand it over. Don’t make it a contest of wills. He’ll win. Hand in that final project.

Let Your ADHD Out More

You enjoy the movies; do more of that. You hate sports, but you like walking, so do that. Your ADHD is your superpower but don’t repress it. Don’t try to be like everyone else because your ADHD is a feature, not a bug.

You’re Terrible With Money Sometimes

You either hoard it or blow it, son. This is what you learn at age 15: for every dollar you earn, put 10 cents away. Blow the rest on whatever you want, but that 10 cents, needs to be buried and kept safe. You’ll pay cash for a car when you’re 19 and blow all of your friends’ minds. Boom goes that ADHD dynamite.

Kids with ADHD money skills

Forgive Yourself Often

You are going to blow it sometimes. Your ADHD is going to take the wheel and drive you off a cliff sometimes. But I’ll tell you this, you can come back from every blunder where you lose or misplace something. Any blunder that can be repaired with money is fine. But be careful of your relational blunders, the unkind words that will fall out of your mouth, be careful of those. When you make those mistakes, say, “I’m really sorry—that isn’t who I want to be. Will you forgive me?” And when you are feeling down on yourself, make sure you do the same for you. You are fighting a tough battle—be kind to yourself.


STOP! Warning to selfP.S. Don’t eat those leftover tacos your brother brought home from that party when you were 14. You got food poisoning and were in bed for 3 days.

Ryan McRae ADHD MentorRyan McRae is the founder of The ADHD Nerd, a blog dedicated to helping people with ADHD be more productive, focused and happy.  He has spoken all over the world, including Afghanistan. He is an Apple fanatic, voracious reader and lover of things pumpkin flavored. If you would like his free book, Finding Focus with an ADHD Mind, simply get it here.  He can be reached at

Get Updates from Jeff in Your Inbox

Get Updates from Jeff in Your Inbox

Don't miss out! Sign up to get the latest news and updates from ADHD Kids Rock.

You have Successfully Subscribed!



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This