Strength in Numbers: How it feels to be 13

In this series, “How it feels to be…” I talk to humans at different ages and points in their life. Today we talk to Zach, a 13-year-old soon-to-be eighth grader entering his local high school. Zach is tall and lanky, with tanned skin and hazel eyes–one greenish, one brownish. He loves to architect houses on the video game Sims, something he admits he plays a little too much of. We are sitting on the sun porch of his grandmother’s lake house in Vermont. I had promised to take him kayaking today but the rain relentlessly pounding against the dark lake and the rumbles of thunder overhead have dashed our plans.


What is making you happy right now?

That I’m in Vermont right now.

What is bothering you?

The rain.

Tell me a happy memory.

Christmas last year in Vermont at my grandma’s house. I like coming to my grandma’s house.

When is the last time you received an unexpected nice gesture?

Two weeks ago I held the door open for someone and they said thank you. People never say thank you.

What is something small that you regret?

Karley [sister] face timed me when she was babysitting her boyfriend’s cousin and her cousin wanted to talk to me because she was little and I said I didn’t want to talk. Then I felt bad because she was only 10, but it was 7 o’clock in the morning.

What is something big that you regret?

There’s nothing big that I regret. I don’t do much.

What do you wish you did more of?

Social interactions.

What do you wish you did less of?

Playing Sims.

What frightens you?

Getting murdered at night when I’m sleeping or dying in my sleep. You wouldn’t know it happened.

What are you looking forward to in the near future?


When you imagine yourself in your head, how old are you?

Fourteen. Because I’m almost fourteen. I’m wearing white shorts when I picture myself and my red American Eagle shirt and a pair of Adidas because that’s what I always wear. The picture just sort of has a white background. Is that weird?

How do you feel about aging?

I don’t like aging. I’d like to stay 10 or at least 16 so that I could drive.

What’s the best thing about being you?

A lot of people like me. I don’t know why, I don’t really talk to them.

[“Thank you for answering my questions,” I say.]

Yeah, no problem. These are really weird questions. Like, they aren’t something I would think of. I would just ask what’s your favorite color.

[“What is your favorite color?” I ask.]

Red or black. No, red.



5 thoughts on “Strength in Numbers: How it feels to be 13

  1. Pingback: Strength in Numbers: A 12-year-old talks life | Stories for Strangers.

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  5. Pingback: “I want to mean something to someone.” | Strength in Numbers | How it Feels to be 18 | Stories for Strangers.

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