I agree that e4/d4 should be the main focus as a beginner. Tactics a major concern, and understanding the "why" of your moves. There a number of books for beginners which explore most of the problems which you will encounter. As you progress, there is no problem with looking at the main opening lines, but I think the focus has to be in understanding "why" each move is played. Middle game and end game development is necessary and again there are many books available to help in these areas. Most of all, play as much as you can, nothing beats the learning curve. Also, feel free to ask about stuff in these forums...there are many strong players here, who are very helpful. You might also want to take advantage of the video lessons and other teaching aids available here, depending on your financial position.
Just play the game and learn by your mistakes. ;)
I have been playing for over 20 years casually, but regularly. I feel like I've done beginners stuff forever. I will take all of your advice into consideration. Thank you everyone for your input so far.