I helped create a brand new 18 year old today. A new adult US citizen. Happy Birthday Josie Altucher.
To be fair, I’m only about 1/4 to 1/3 responsible.
When you were born, I really was scared. You were this new one foot tall human moving into our apartment.
You didn’t speak English and you complained all the time. You went to the bathroom on the floor. You wouldn’t shut up. You were really annoying.
Or…at least…I didn’t know how to deal with it. I used to pretend to get a haircut and just sit outside and read comic books for a few hours. I wasn’t so good.
I thought, maybe when you know how to play games it will be better for me.
We would go to the local cafe and I made up a game. We’d each take a card and then you had to either lie or tell the truth to me: is the card greater or less than 7? And then we each had to guess if the other was lying.
It was fun and we’d play for hours. Then we’d walk over to the abandoned church and look over the Hudson River and you would talk for an hour and I’ve forgotten everything but I promise I was listening.
And then you kept growing up. I didn’t know how it happened. Each week you’d get a little more mature. You had very important things to deal with. You started to find your own path and sometimes it was a bit scary.
About 18 months ago you had to help me deal with something. And you were very mature and I was surprised you even kept a secret.
Since then, you’ve also been writing and I think you’re going to turn into a good writer. We’ll see. Please keep doing it.
Here’s what I don’t care about: grades, achievements, school, and what you want to do for a career.
I’d be just as happy with the Fs as the As. They don’t mean anything ever.
You will change many times. Your friends will change many times. And even if you like me or not will change many times.
Just be a good person. Don’t gossip about people.
Try to be creative every day. Try not to let things bother you so much although I know it’s hard. Try not to take drugs until you are at least in your mid 20s so your neural pathways can finish growing.
They only grow twice: when you are born, and in the first few years after puberty. So don’t mess them up.
And if I’m ever in the gutter with a needle sticking out of my arm, please take it out. That’s the only thing I ask.
Oh, one more thing…hmmm…I guess I don’t know what I was going to just say.
I guess I will always want there to be one more thing.
[ RELATED READING: Hardcore Career Advice For A 13 Year Old ]
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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.