On September 1st, tomorrow, I turn 35. Some would be rejoicing. Others not so much. But me… I’m having a moment. Join me, would you?
My brother, seven years my senior, died in sleep at thirty-five. I got the call when I was on my birthday trip, almost seven years ago. And it was devastating and wrong and unexpected. But it also put a fire under my ass. I’ve talked about this often, but this time it means more. I’ve told readers before how my brother’s death inspired me to write. It made me realize that I didn’t have tomorrow to follow my dream. Only today. I couldn’t rely on the future because it’s never guaranteed.
Today I tell you all something new. The truth is, I was scared. I started writing because I was scared that, like my brother, I’d die with my music still in me. My sister may loathe me for this, but it’s true. My brother was talented and loving and an absolute inspiration and yet, he never truly lived. He kept thinking he had time, and yet he didn’t. It’s because of that that I try to live every day. I’m so dangerously afraid to not live. I’m so afraid that I’ll die and this moment or this moment, or this one will be my last. And will it be enough?
So that’s why I started writing. Really writing. Not like in my spare time, but in any of my time. I wrote like my life depended on it, and in a way, I think it did. I wrote so I felt alive. So I stayed alive. So I experienced a million lives. I wrote, because I was so afraid to die.
Tomorrow I turn thirty-five. It’s a celebration of thirty-five years on this earth. Ones full of love and experience and growth. And it’s also a milestone. I’ve been so afraid of this age for a long time. I’ve been afraid that like my brother, I’ll close my eyes and vanish from this earth. It’s a morbid thought, but let’s be honest, it’s a real one. People die. I will. You will. And the big question is: have we lived? I think that’s why I push myself every day. I think that’s why it matters to me. I want to know I’ve done enough. I want to leave this earth knowing I made a difference.
Anyway, on this day, the one before I mark my thirty-fifth birthday, I want to honor a special person who inspired me to write books. He didn’t know it when he closed his eyes that he was about to encourage his little sister to live, just by dying. But that’s exactly what he did, and I owe every book to him. To my brother, David, who inspired me to live by dying.