Almost two years ago, I sat down to write the story of a young boy named Ollie who only had one day to live. Back then, I was scared of death. Scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish everything I wanted to do in life, scared that friends or family members were going to disappear from my life without giving me the chance to say goodbye.
But The Deathday Letter didn’t turn out to be a book about death. It turned out to be a book affirming life. For me, it became a symbol for how I wanted to live. Ollie’s adventure is, flat out, balls-to-the-wall insanity. By the end of his day, he accomplishes more that most people do in their entire lives.
That’s why I wanted to jump out of a plane. It wasn’t just a publicity stunt. It wasn’t just a 1/3 life crisis. Standing on a four inch ledge, staring out of a plane, preparing to jump, was the most alive I’ve ever felt. My jump instructor told me after that I’d never be able to explain jumping to someone who’d never done it, but I think I can. In fact, I think I already have. And if you read the book, I think you’ll understand too.
Because Ollie doesn’t just die in this book. And he doesn’t just seize the day. He stares out that open door, through the clouds to the ground below, where life and death are meaningless. Where all that matters is whether or not you have the courage to jump. And Ollie jumps.
So today, on Ollie’s deathday, on the release of my very first book, I invite everyone out there to jump too. Don’t worry about living or dying. Just take a leap into the unknown and enjoy the ride. I know I sure have.