Before I Die by Candy Chang
“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. When I lost someone I loved very much, I thought about death a lot. This helped clarify my life, the people I want to be with, and the things I want to do, but I struggled to maintain perspective. I wondered if other people felt the same way. So with help from old and new friends, I painted the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.
It was all an experiment and I didn’t know what to expect. By the next day the wall was entirely filled out and it kept growing: Before I die I want to… sing for millions, hold her one more time, eat a salad with an alien, see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, plant a tree, straddle the International Date Line, get clean, live off the grid, build a school, be someone’s cavalry, be completely myself… People’s responses made me laugh out loud and tear up. They consoled during my own tough times. This neglected space became a constructive one for contemplation and reflection. It’s about remembering what matters most to you as you grow and change. It’s about getting to know the people around you in new and enlightening ways. It’s about creating public spaces that help us see we are not alone in our struggles towards leading personally meaningful lives.”
Read more about the project in here.