What’s Something You Wish You Had Tried or Been Introduced to a Lot Earlier?

I saw this question posted on Facebook the other day, and I liked it. I found myself being influenced by the answers I saw on the original thread, so if you want to ponder it for yourself, I’d recommend pausing before reading my answers.

Here’s a few things that came to mind for me:

  • Indian food: I don’t think I ate Indian food until I was in my early 20s. What was I thinking? Naan and chicken tikka masala are so good. I could probably expand this category to a variety of ethnic foods, but this was the first one that came to mind.
  • English Premier League and Champions League Soccer: Growing up, I played a LOT of soccer. But even when I heard my coaches talking about top-tier teams, I never watched them play. I really wish I had, both for the entertainment factor and to help my development as a player. It wasn’t until my 20s that I started watching highlights of these leagues, and its one of my favorite things.
  • Two towels: This is one of the most recent concepts introduced to me that has legitimately made my life better. Did you know that you can have more than one bath towel? I sure didn’t. A few years ago a friend told me I should have two, and it’s been glorious.
  • Magnifying mirrors: I was dating a girl about 6 or 7 years ago who had this magical mirror that magnified your face when you got close to it. It’s amazing! Especially if you have a lot of weird, random facial hair (me, not her). I now have one mounted to my bathroom wall.
  • Whole sandwiches: This is a notorious story in my family. When I was in elementary school, my mom made my lunch, and she’d make me a half sandwich. However, I didn’t know it was a half. That was what I thought a whole sandwich was. So when I started making my own lunch, this is what I made, even though my middle school and high school years when I really could have used some extra calories (like I said, I played a lot of soccer!).
  • Cats: If you read my blog now, you might think that I’ve always loved cats. Truth is, I thought I was allergic to all animals until my mid-20s when I started dating a girl who owned a cat. As it turns out, cats are a pretty great fit for my personality, and I’m constantly delighted by Biddy and Walter.
  • Sex: I don’t want to get too explicit here, but to give you some context, I grew up with some very distorted ideas about sex and sexuality, and it took me a long time to unlearn them (and then learn what sex/sexuality is to me in a healthy way).

I was trying to think of a movie I didn’t watch until much later than other people (or a TV show, podcast, etc). I’m sure there are plenty, but none came to mind. I’m so sure that I’m missing some good stuff that there’s a good chance I’ll return to this topic.

Can you think of anything you wish you had tried or been introduced to a lot earlier?

10 thoughts on “What’s Something You Wish You Had Tried or Been Introduced to a Lot Earlier?”

  1. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way:

    -Boardgames: While I played a lot of Clue, Scattergories, and Monopoly with my family as a child, it wasn’t until 2014 that I discovered modern boardgaming. I had to fly back home for a funeral and my brother introduced me to 7 Wonders (and Through the Ages!) and I was hooked. I went to a local Meetup and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve met so many wonderful boardgamers since then, many of them my best friends now.

    -College Football: Growing up in Canada in the 90s meant that college football was practically nonexistent in my life. It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. and attended LSU that I discovered my love for college football. My first time in Tiger Stadium, which could fit more people than my entire hometown has and is often considered one of the loudest venues, will never be forgotten. It also helps that LSU just so happened to win the national championship my freshman year. I love that players get to play for and represent their school for 3-4 years compared to NFL players that tend to go to the highest bidder.

    I’ll steal one from you and say:

    -Asian Food: Growing up I associated all asian food with egg rolls, fried rice, and other buffet offerings. It wasn’t until college that I discovered other Asian cuisines and fell in love. Indian (I love a nice bowl of spicy Vindaloo) and Vietnamese are probably my 2 favorites. Unfortunately, New Orleans doesn’t have many great options for Indian fare. We do have a big Vietnamese community so it’s easy to find good Pho or Bun around!

    Now for perhaps the most surprising one:

    -Driving: I did not own a car until I was 27. It probably seems crazy for most Americans, but I really didn’t need one until I moved to New Orleans in 2011. I lived on campus for my 4 years of college, and lived on school shuttle routes while getting my Master’s and Ph.D. It would have been very convenient for trips to the grocery store but I never felt like I *had* to have one. That is until I encountered New Orleans’ poor excuse of a public transportation system (at least at the time). It’s definitely nice to own a car but I if I lived in a slightly larger city I think I would definitely use the bus or subway to go to and from work if I had the option.

    • Thanks for sharing your list, Charles! I thought about putting board games on my list too, and there are certainly games I wish I had played earlier, though I couldn’t think of many extreme cases. That’s really interesting that you made it so long without a car!

  2. Fresh lemonade: I was 44 yrs old before discovering fresh lemonade. My mom always used Minute Maid concentrate. It’s disgusting, and it’s all I ever ran into at restaurants too. I thought that’s what lemonade was all about.

    Then a neighbor gave us a bag of lemons from his tree. I made a batch of lemonade for my husband to give him something to drink as an alternative to his soda habit. It smelled so good! I decided to taste some and was blown away. It took me 44 years to stumble upon something that was even more refreshing than ice cold water on a hot day!

    Good home cooking: Mom was a Betty Crocker cook. She was usually fair at it, and we didn’t know any different when we were growing up. Cook’s Illustrated (and the related America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country) magazines and cookbooks were complete game changers. For instance, I will brine my poultry forevermore. I learned that sauteing garlic or onion does not take the flavor out. (Mom used to chop a whole onion, mince the garlic, and toss them into the spaghetti sauce shortly before it was to be served.)

    Attitude toward school: I hated school so much; I couldn’t wait to stop going. As a result, I didn’t get half the education I should or could have, and wouldn’t even consider college. I have a good job, but my promotional opportunities are limited due to lack of degree. That said, I come across so many people who have a degree (or two!) and still can’t write or speak well. It grinds my gears a little when I see it.

    • My mom used Minute Maid concentrate too! I never minded it all that much, but you’re right that real lemonade is much better. 🙂

  3. Love the two towels, Since I’m on the road so often now, many of the hotels even give 4!, one gets too wet, just grab another!

    Another for me, is grocery pickup and/or delivery service. There has been a few weekends where I’ll only be home for 40 hours, or less, Heck, August I spent less then 40 hours in my apartment. Being able to schedule someone to be at your door that next morning, with your non perishable items so you have at least a day or two of meals, and don’t have to rush out to the store, is worth the tip and service fees.

    • 4 towels?! You’re living the life, Sean. 🙂

      Oo, that’s really cool. I’ve never done that, but I’d like to try it sometime. Which service do you recommend?

      • I’ve never used 4 one night, but… its an option :P.

        Right now I’ve been using Instacart for either Whole foods or Meijers. However before I moved I was using the pickup at my local Krogers/payless. I would check to see if wherever you normally go has it as an option, that way you get the same things you normally get, just in a different manner.

  4. Jamey,

    Two towels! That’s fantastic. I’ve always had one, but I remember my youngest brother, from his teens until now in his 40s always using two towels. He would wrap himself in them and lay down on the bed in what referred to as “drying without effort.”

    Like Charles, I wish I had known about the new wave of board games back in the 90s, especially since I was in England during the latter part of the decade when the idea of designer board games was really getting started. Otherwise, I would probably say…fish tacos. I couldn’t quite get my head around it, but then I tried it one time. OMG are they delicious! (and I’ll enjoy them with some fresh lemonade)


  5. This one sounds pretty convenient, though I wish I started playing “modern” boardgames earlier (in college I wasted so much time that could be used for boardgames…). Though I had no money to buy them anyway.
    Also having started to play trombone just when I was 12 and not with a proper teacher was a big mistake.


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