This is going to be a series of posts, and I especially invite comments for these posts.
What did you believe when you were 15 or 20 or 25 that you now know you were completely wrong about?
I’ve made a long list, and it keeps getting longer. The list is in my drafts.
I have a good friend who wanted to write a book with me about stuff we could tell young people that would change their lives. But we got busy. The first thing we thought of was “The Miracle of Compound Interest.” I still think that may be the most important thing young people don’t know: concentrating on saving and investing when you’re 20 will likely make you able to think about retiring, or at least not worrying about money ever again, by the time you’re 40. Wish I’d known that.
Some things on my list are political. Some things are financial. Some have to do with male/female relations and retaliations. There are psychological and personal things I’ve learned that I was so wrong about. There are things I thought were so important that turned out not to be and vice versa.
The only person in my life growing up who had any serious wisdom to impart was my paternal grandfather. And he was gone before I was old enough to talk to him explicitly about life wisdom. But he did a great job inoculating me and preparing me.
I’m not kidding, every other adult in my life was either useless, harmful, not close enough or I wasn’t old enough for them to guide me. My parents were both idiots about life, but such bad examples that I could at least do the opposite of what they did and know it would turn out OK.
My church leaders were completely full of shit and platitudes. Not one church leader ever said anything that helped me, inspired me or made me think. I was raised Mormon, and I’ve learned since then that Mormons aren’t typical Christians. Despite their virtues, Mormons basically chew cud, intellectually.
At school, there were a minority of teachers who weren’t obviously asinine people retreating to teaching children because adults wouldn’t put up with them. I remember and thank several teachers, but I was a kid, and all they could do was nurture, not impart wisdom. And, to be clear, most school teachers are shit. I’m so tired of this reverence we have for school teachers. When they’re great, they’re great, but most are bad. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” isn’t just beloved musically but because we’ve all been mentally raped by the majority of school teachers who really are “just another brick in the wall.” Most school teachers being shit won’t change till all schools are privatized and subjected to market discipline.
There is a lot I’ve learned, and a lot you’ve learned, that your moms and dads and scout leaders and teachers and pastors and priests and financial advisors and bosses should have told you from the start. Maybe you wouldn’t have listened at an earlier age. I think that’s BS. I was always looking for wisdom, and I think most people are too. I found few adults deserving of trust or respect or being listened to when I was growing up. If your experience was different, Damn, I envy you. I envy Donald Trump, being raised by a smart dad.
So I made it up on my own. I bought into ideology, as does everyone whose parents and childhood authorities were louts. Thank Heinlein I chose libertarian ideology.
And so I stand here now, a Trump voter.
Stay tuned…I’ll pick something really provocative for the next post that I was wrong about.