Nothing Is Better Than Falling In Love


I told her I loved her and I wanted to marry her but I was afraid to ask her mother.

We were both about four years old and riding on the nursery school bus. Later that day her mom called my mom and told her, “tell your son to stay away from my daughter”.

I wasn’t good enough. But you always remember the first person you loved in that way.

You realize that you can love your mommy and daddy but maybe there might be one other person who you can love who can help you feel good about yourself.

Or maybe many people.

The other thing I remember was being on top of a bunch of kids. We must have been playing some sort of “make a mountain” sort of game.

And then I took a shit. From the top.

Everyone yelled at me. The teachers sent me home. I remember I was on the bus. The small bus.

I got out of the bus and my mom was standing in the driveway.

“What did you do!?” she said.

Later that night she taught me checkers. My dad must have been traveling. We played checkers until it was past dark. I didn’t want to stop.

She wanted to stop. Eventually she said I had to go to bed. But I was disappointed.

Love, shit, and games.

I don’t think I’ve changed since then.

One time an astrologer told me I needed to go to an AA meeting. I had never been to one before.

There was a church up the street so I went and sat in the back . Everyone ate donuts and coffee first. I didn’t know what to do. What the rules were.

People went around and finally it was my turn. I said, “this is my first day” and everyone clapped. I felt like a fake that they were clapping for me. I had no intention at that point to stop drinking.

The church was the church right next to Ground Zero. We could still smell the fumes. The fire was still burning in the center of it all.

Next time, I went to a Business Owners Debtor’s Anonymous meeting. I fell in love there.

We were going around telling our stories. She had a sexy look about her. She started to tell her story and then she stopped and said, “I can’t tell the rest. It’s too shameful to tell here.” At a BODA meeting.

Of course, at that point, I judged her. I pictured what was the worst thing she could say. I judged that she would be perfect to be kissed by me.

When it was time to tell my story I looked straight at her. In a room full of people I told her how much I had lost, how many people I had broken. How broken I was and how I wanted to be fixed. It was like I was bragging how bad I was.

Afterwards, coffee and donuts. But she was gone and I never went back.

Another time I was involved in a mental hospital that helps drug addicts.

I said this in a talk once and everyone laughed like I had made a joke. Here I was on the stage talking about business but it was just natural to the audience that I was going to be involved in a facility for drug addict teenagers.

But the reality was I was helping the owner sell the company. He got an offer for $10 million. I told him I could do better.

So I called about 30 companies. About six asked for follow-up calls. Three asked for meetings. One company made an offer.

$41.5 million in cash.

The owner didn’t want to take it. If he didn’t take it I was instantly going to go broke with two kids to feed.

I would sleep in a bed downstairs and I could feel every piece of blood going through my body. I felt like I could kill myself just by willing myself to die.

He said, “If we were offered $41 million now then I can get $100 million next year.” Even though he was just offered $10 million a few months earlier.

He was smoking mental crack, which it’s no surprise, since he was actually a crack addict before starting this hospital.

I called his wife. She was twenty years younger than him. Pretty. I asked her what she did at work the day before.

Apparently an angry girl had spread her feces all over the wall so it was Amy’s job, as President of the company, to clean it.

“What if that girl had killed herself?” I asked.

“Then we would be out of business,” she said.

“Please tell Andy to take the $41 million then,” I said.

A day later he accepted the offer. A year later the company missed all of their projections and everyone got fired.

A few months later the IRS called me. But that’s another story.

I can make an observation: life is a maze. We don’t know where we will be blocked and have to turn around. We don’t know where the exit is. We try every path we can as quickly as we can.

Most of life is just a sentence of hardships, punctuated only by the briefest of successes.

You can get pregnant before you’re ready. You can give your heart so many times to people who don’t deserve it specifically because you feel you don’t deserve it either. You can lose all of your money. You can get sick.

But life is not a maze or a sentence or a mission or a calling or a purpose. It’s not self-help, or gratitude, or thinking positive.

Life is a rocketship powered by your own shit, that explodes and sends you into space to explore where no man has gone before.

Haha. It’s not that either. I was just saying that.

I have no clue. I am alive! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated.

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