“Before I Die, I Want to…”

Friday 14 February 2020 - Posted by Julia McCutchen

How would you complete this sentence?

Where are you in relation to knowing what’s truly important and to living your life consciously and creatively in relation to those priorities?

A Creative Experiment

A few years ago, artist Candy Chang went through a long period of grief following the loss of someone she loved.

Through her contemplation of death she discovered clarity in life and came up with a creative idea that has now become a global art project.

As an experiment, Candy covered the wall of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighbourhood in chalkboard paint and stencilled the sentence “Before I die, I want to… ”

She left pieces of chalk for anyone walking by to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public.

Within 24 hours the wall was completely filled with people’s hopes and dreams. Here are a few examples: I want to…

  • learn to let go
  • be free of my fears
  • discover my own path
  • abandon all insecurities
  • be completely myself
  • make someone else’s life better
  • create something worth remembering
  • be at peace with myself and the world.*

The authentic outpouring triggered both laughter and tears, and was a powerful reminder of the shared impulse to make sense of life.

Today, there are over 2,000 Before I Die walls in over 70 countries around the world.

An Inspiring Story… with a Purpose

What an inspiring story!

And what a worthwhile purpose it serves as a reminder of the cycle of life, death and rebirth that is an inherent part of the creative process; and of course, life itself.

Right now I invite you to pause and reflect on your deepest dreams.

They don’t have to be grandiose or impressive; often the smallest details make the greatest difference of all.

Open a new text document and write the words, “Before I die, I want to…” and just start typing without over-thinking or censoring yourself.

Or reach for your journal or the back of an envelope or whatever you have around you at this time, and dive straight in.

A Modest Virtual Version

When you’re done, please complete the process by sharing what you come up with in the Comments section below.

Let’s see if a modest virtual version of the Before I Die wall can serve to inspire us all to take whatever actions are required to live our lives in alignment with our highest calling.

After all, as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once said, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”

Naturally, I’ll go first…


* With gratitude and respect to Candy Chang, and everyone around the world who’s found the courage to show up and share. Read more http://beforeidie.city/


  • Before I die, I want to create, teach and share what I’m here to create, teach and share.

    Your turn…

  • Before i die, i want to completely trust the message for me to create poetry of my experiences to share with others.

  • Before I die I want to become the Person I was meant to be, Learn the things I need to learn to improve the outer me! The inner me is always connected to the Universe.

  • Lovely, thank you for sharing. We’re all now holding the space for each other to follow through and realize our hopes and dreams!

  • Before I die I want to fulfil my destiny, to recover my connection to the spirit world which I had before I was four years old and to share it with the world, either through my book or through some other form of creative expression.

    • Beautifully put Daphne! Of course your connection to spirit remains in place; it’s just a question of continuing to clear whatever is obscuring it from your experience. Plus the sharing could be both your book AND other forms of creative expression 🙂

  • Before I die I want to write that damn Book I’ve carried around in my head for over 5 years now!
    thanks for an inspiring post, not sure why this is coming up in caps 🙂

    • Hi Kerstin, thanks for sharing your intention to write your book after thinking about doing so for many years. I know that you’re not alone with that experience so i’m going to hold the space for you to make it a reality this year! Perhaps you’d like to join our conscious writing retreat for women in june? (see here) The caps are just the system display when you type but it comes out correctly as upper and lower case when your comment is posted 🙂

    • Lovely, thank you for sharing that Helen. I encourage you to dive in to your chosen priorities as of course the moment for such matters will always be Now!

    • You’re most welcome Alma, and thank you for your comment. In my experience, engaging with all the aspects of what I call walking the conscious path (which I write about here on the blog and which lie at the foundation of my new podcast*) will lead you to Know who and what you truly are. Enjoy the journey!

      * Check out the podcast here.

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