It all starts with Candy’s story. After losing someone she loved, Candy went through a long period of grief and depression. With time, she felt gratitude for the time they had together and eventually she found clarity in her life by contemplating death so much. But she struggled to maintain this perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. She wanted a daily reminder and she wanted to know what was important to the people around her. So after receiving permission, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her 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 she didn’t know what to expect. By the next day, the wall was completely filled out and it kept growing: Before I die I want to… “sing for millions”, “plant a tree”, “hold her one more time”, “straddle the International Date Line”, “see my daughter graduate”, “eat more everything”, “abandon all insecurities”, “be completely myself”… People’s responses made her laugh out loud and tear up. They consoled her during her toughest times. She understood her neighbors in new and enlightening ways, and the wall reminded her that she’s not alone as she tries to make sense of her life.

We want to share the spirit of Before I Die initiative at Barcelona, to help remind us of the things that make our lives meaningful.

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