What things when younger did you think were more important than they turned out to be?

The classic example is ‘I thought quicksand would figure more in my life than it actually has’. Or ‘I thought a dog would run and get help if I got into trouble.’ Neither, being tv cliches, have actually turned out to be very important after you became an adult.

I have two more: ‘Dressing for day-into-night’ and ‘Having coffee with the neighbors’. Neither have turned out to affect my life in any way at all.

I was much more concerned about quick sand and the Bermuda Triangle than I had any reason to be.

College (which is still overstated, maybe more so now). It seemed like the end of the world when I dropped out.

Scarlet fever. Kids got scarlet fever left and right in the books I read.

Also, rabies. I know I saw and read Old Yeller and I think at some point, some adult told me that the reason I shouldn’t approach a strange dog was that it might have rabies. So I thought it was pretty common for dogs to have rabies and there was a high likelihood that any given dog might have it.

I thought that all adults were smarter than I was as a kid, that they somehow knew the secret meaning of life. Turns out I was a lot smarter than many of the so called adults, many adults are fools.

Having the boss over to dinner seemed to loom large when I was a kid, but my dad never invited his boss to our house, and when he became a boss himself, no one invited him to dinner. I least I don’t think anyone ever did. It would have been odd, tho, for him to go to dinner with someone without my mom. They were occasionally wined and dined by people my dad did business with.

Nor did I ever invite my bosses to dine, altho I did host a few parties for folks I worked with, and occasionally, the boss would show up. I do recall one time my husband, daughter, and I were invited to dinner at his boss’ place, and I think that’s because of their personal friendship rather than anything related to work.

Was this ever really a thing outside of TV and movies?

I took play sports way too seriously. I would get seriously mad or even in tears as a kid if I were on the losing end of a soccer game, especially if losing badly, even if it was nothing but a pickup game that meant nothing.

Looking back, it was ridiculous of me to be like that. I wish I’d just been totally chill and enjoyed the fun.

Around age 4 I still had a thumb sucking habit that my parents were desperately trying to get me to break. I was actually pretty embarrassed by it but couldn’t seem to break the habit. I do remember having problems falling asleep at night worrying about exactly how I would explain to my future wife that I still sucked my thumb.

Graduating high school. I mean, yes you are asked about it, but no one ever asks to see your diploma. All those years of hard work, and I could have just lied…

They’ll find out. They’ll look up your permanent record!..(lord, 3 of the 4 schools I went to are no longer in business/not even standing there any more. If I called and demanded to see my permanent record, would it even BE anywhere?)

There are still some jobs that require it and do background checks. I am not sure about high school, but I’ve had to prove college and have given permission for that sort of thing to be researched and verified.

Not only have I never encountered that as a thing, but I’ve worked for organizations where it is specifically forbidden. I’ve had meals and get togethers with co-workers and the bosses were invited but declined due to the rules. One joined us after she left for another company. Now, in more casual environments like the restaurant industry I’ve partied and done meals and other things with bosses.

I thought doing what I loved was super important. Now I’m doing what I tolerate and it pays well, so that’s good enough.

In that same vein, I thought that I had to have a spotless house or I was failing. Now I like to have a reasonably clean house that takes about a half hour to clean up if I know someone’s coming over. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just enough not to make me cringe.

Pretty much all the things parenting-related that seem critical at the time and that you read about obsessively - organic, homemade baby food, nursing, cloth diapers, no co-sleeping/yes co-sleeping, attachment parenting, scheduling, optimization, all the shit that comes with kids physical and metaphorical - none of it matters. It just doesn’t. As long as you feed your kids, love your kids, aren’t an asshole to them and don’t let them be assholes, either, it really doesn’t matter.

For the first 20 years of my adult life I carried around too much crap in my wallet that I never needed on a daily basis. Things like my social security card and library card. Around age 40, I purged my wallet down to 3 things: ID, credit card and insurance card and my back pocket has loved me since. The rest of that crap is either now in my glove box (occasionally used stuff like library card) or at home.

Sex, yah?

Ring around the collar is much less of a problem than I anticipated.

As a young adult I hated the idea of having to wear a tie or (god help us) a suit to work. When I landed jobs that paid more but required me to wear a suit, I changed my mind.

Obsolete reply these days?


Along the lines of the quicksand one in the OP, given how much they drilled “If your clothes are on fire, stop, drop, and roll” into us in school, I was expecting people’s clothes igniting to be a much more common occurrence than it actually is. But I suppose it’s a good piece of knowledge to have in the unlikely event it actually does happen.

I believe it was a more common occurrence back when cooking was done in an actual fire, and women wore long, flowing dresses.

And maybe because smoking was more common? I remember a Dick Van Dyke PSA where he said to always check the couch cushions after a party in case a lit cigarette ended up there. Also there were cautions about not smoking in bed because smokers would fall asleep with a lit cigarette in their hand. I also remember a big deal being made of non-flammable pajamas. Maybe those things contributed to more household fires and led to those fire drills in school.

Tornadoes seemed to be a much more rare occurrence than I expected them to be throughout my life with the way we practiced tornado drills in schools and figured out where we would hide in our basement when one came by.
If I had to estimate at 10 years old how often tornadoes came crashing through towns I would have estimated every neighborhood was destined to be hit about once a decade.