While we're waiting for me to get myself together after much too much fun over the weekend, let's play a game.
Fundamentally, it is a role-playing game, but one that is personal to each of us. It begins with a choice, where both options are a flight of imagination, quite impossible, but both are full of possibilities.
Let us say that I'm able to alter your reality in one of two ways.
In the first option, you would be able to return to your 12-year-old self, at the time, the place, the world you knew back then, without any changes save one: you will retain all the knowledge and experience you have right now. Like you never could the first time around, you could play the system; assuming you could find a way to lay bets, and do so with the memory you have right now (no making lists of winners in advance, I'm going to send you off in the next three minutes), you can make a ton of money, you can decide to change things and do things differently than you did the first time.
The upside is that, of course, everything will be familiar. For some, perhaps their family life at 12 isn't something they'd want to return to, but for many it would be an opportunity to see relatives and friends again, to return to the comfort of a mother and father who took care of you, to see a world that is now long past or forgotten ~ particularly for those of us for whom 12 was a long, long time ago.
There are a couple of downsides. Forget new music, movies or television for awhile; and if you're going far enough back, forget the internet and easy access to media. To you, everything will be old. There won't be anything new for a long time, unless you invent it . . . not until you catch up to today.
As well, it will be hard to get the right timing on meeting those friends you knew after 12; hard to make your marriage happen again, if you're happily married right now . . . and forget your children. Even if you knew the day your son or daughter was conceived, even if you actually succeeded in conceiving a child on that day, it wouldn't be the son or daughter you know now. It would be someone similar, someone that looked much like the child you had, that behaved much like the child you had, but the child you have right now would be lost forever. There's nothing you could do to change that.
In the second option, I make you 12 right now. It's today and you're still the same person you were, but you're in a 12-year-old body. Perhaps you'll be able to identify a surrogate mother or father in the next few minutes, explaining the situation for them, or perhaps you'd like to take your chances on your own. You won't be able to play the system like in the first option, because the future will still be unknown ~ but at least you'll have the potential to begin again and do it better than you did the first time around, plus you'll have all these extra years of life. That is, assuming you're not hit by a bus.
Which would you pick? And once you picked an option, what would you do with it? Be brave, imagine this is a role-playing game and you've just been transformed or reanimated, whatever you want to call it, and the DM is asking, "What do you want to do?"
Tell me in the comments.