Imagine you had only one more day to live. What would you do?
Spend it with your loved ones, travel to a faraway land, volunteer at an animal shelter ... the list of options is kind of endless and evidently inconceivable in 24 hours. So why not start today?
After a sudden death of her very close friend, New Orleans-based artist Candy Chang says she contemplated the time we're given on Earth a lot, but struggled to maintain a positive perspective on a daily basis. That's when she decided to bring her experience out in the open and started a project titled Before I Die.
Chang says she wanted to create a space where strangers could reflect and share what really matters to them. So she started by making a stencil that read 'Before I die I want to ______.'
Next, she had to find a spot for the stencils to appear. This abandoned house in her neighborhood was more than perfect for Chang's public art initiative.
Chang covered all the wooden blocks in chalkboard paint, stenciled them with a fill-in-the-blank sentence and left it there uncertain of what's going to happen.
The next day, there wasn't an empty spot on the wall.
Random people were stopping by, picking up a piece of chalk and writing their most personal, secretive aspirations on the wall.
People were wishing for all sorts of things -- from silly ones such as 'Before I die I want to ride and ostrich ...'
... to overwhelmingly sincere ones like 'truly live,' 'understand why I'm here' and 'hold her one more time.'
In her TED Talk, Chang said reading what people wrote on the wall made her laugh out loud, tear up and realize we're all in this together.
'It's about knowing you're not alone; it's about making space for reflection and contemplation, and remembering what really matters most to us as we grow and change,' Chang explains.
Her initiative really struck a chord with the community and turned into a global art project with more than 1,000 'Before I Die' walls created in more than 70 countries.
From Georgia ...
... to South Korea.
South Africa and many more.
If you'd like to create a Before I Die wall in your city, visit the Beforeidie.com website to learn more about what it takes to make it happen.