What Do You Want to Accomplish Before You Die?


Candy-Chang-Before-I-Die-NOLA-first-stencil3

From Tim McGraw’s popular “Live Like You Were Dying” ballad to personal bucket lists, the “live life to its fullest” mentality is commonplace in our society, but one artist is making this notion visual.

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Candy Chang, artist and urban planner, turned the side of her abandoned house into a giant chalkboard and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” With a piece of sidewalk chalk, residents filled in the blanks with their aspirations for the future. What began as a symbolic gesture after a catastrophic event turned into a nationwide movement known as “Before I Die.”

Chang’s website describes the movement:

“Before I Die is an interactive public art project that transforms neglected spaces into constructive places where we can discover the hopes and dreams of the people around us. It is also a reminder to ourselves of what is most important to us.”

Thanks to passionate people around the world who have spearheaded their own walls, there are now more than 300 Before I Die walls in over 50 countries and over 20 languages.

As a result, Candy put together a book to celebrate many of these walls and give people an opportunity to reflect on life’s big question. The Before I Die book (St. Martin’s Press) will be published in November 2013.

Whether single or married, Catholics are called to appreciate the blessings of today and to put our treasures and hopes in a place that is not of this world. Make a list of things you want to accomplish before you die and start checking items off your list tomorrow.

Each day offers us the opportunity to live life fully, and it’s up to us to embrace every second.

If you could write on one of the “Before I Die” walls, what would write?






11 Comments

  1. I am so happy to read this blog post! I have a project that I would like to do with non-English speaking families but I keep putting it off with a series of “How will I do this, that or the other!”. When you look at it in the context of “Before I die” the bottom line screams “Just get it done now!” Great inspiration.

  2. Jim-397948 August 27, 2013

    Sail off the west coast of Ireland

  3. Lori-989513 August 27, 2013

    That song is real inspirational to me…I went skydiving a few months back. Not sure about the bull riding, but who knows. My next adventure would be whitewater rafting!!!! We will see.

  4. Lynea-297530 August 27, 2013

    Doesn’t any one want to become a saint? Our Lord asked us to be saints. He said, “Be perfect…”

    • Marc-217196 August 29, 2013

      I do. And it has nothing to do with skydiving, or rocky mountain climbing.
      God is calling us all, and very few respond.

  5. I keep myself asking God for an idea.

  6. Before I die, as an aspiring theoretical physicist, I want to live my Catholic faith in a way that (1) compromises none of the fullness of its truth, yet (2) is agreeable and attractive to my (mostly atheistic) colleagues in the physical sciences. Striving for (2) has isolated me from a lot of my fellow sheep in Pope Francis’s flock (to the point where I highly doubt I will marry), but so be it: souls are depending on my daily “Yes” to Christ.

  7. I want to serve people. I want to help them make it to heaven. First ..as the bible says or something like it. He could save others but could not save himself. Right now. I am doing things for myself. Pleasing myself ..by working on relationships was one of my main new years resolutions this year. I have made some progress. God does not seem to listen to me though.
    I do not have too many worldly ambitions before I die. I would just like to maybe travel around the world. Work in a Mission in Africa for a while. Help people less fortunate than myself.
    In the area of marriage. I would like to be a husband, possibly a father/mentor. All that goes along with being married. I know that it is a lot of work. But it sure seems worthwhile to me from looking at my parents who have been married for 54 years.

  8. Ann-69118 August 29, 2013

    I would like to hike through Europe, the Grand Canyon, Sodona, Yellowstone and maybe see Victoria Falls.

  9. David-870960 August 30, 2013

    I pray for a marriage truly Blessed by God wherein we help each other to Heaven even as we enjoy that taste of Heaven that such a marriage offers. I also hope to fully complete a Divine Mercy Devotion as well as the Sacred Heart. I want to accomplish my journey to New Jersey – 3K miles across the USA to worship at my Dear Passed Friend’s Church and pray at her resting place. I pray I will return to Lake Louise, Canada to complete a Spirit Walk in memory of my Mother – hopefully along with my younger sister and brothers. I look forward to holding Grandchildren, and knowing that in and through them my sons will truly know how much I love them.

  10. I hope to help overturn Roe V. Wade! I want to make the murder of unborn children and the butchering of mothers not only illegal, but unthinkable at least in the United States of America so that over 6 thousand individuals will be protected DAILY (counting baby and mother). But even more than that I want to be saint. Being a saint every day, keeping my focus on Christ, working along side my friends and loving, loving, loving (each person I meet as ONLY as God would want me to) like there is no tomorrow! Wow that takes a lot of energy and patience and learning “how to dance in the rain!”
    And hopefully, there will be a man (just one) for me and me for him, as only God knows will work into my life. St. Anthony pray for us all! : )

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