"It's about knowing you're not alone. It's about knowing your neighbours. It's about knowing what really matters to us as we grow and change." - Candy Chang
A year ago, I wrote a list for myself on the things I wanted to achieve in 2016. November often resembles a haphazard time for me – a scattered period where the entire year comes together and I reflect on what has been. Now, as 2016 draws to a close, I've started reflecting again on the things I’ve ticked off my list and thought about what I want to embark on for 2017.
Time is incredibly fleeting. In the blink of an eye, it’ll be 2017. As we bid 2016 goodbye, I want you to have a think about some of the wishes you’ve shelved. Dust them off a little bit, and take them out again. What do you hope to achieve in this life? What makes you look forward to waking up each morning? What drives you?
Have you heard of the Before I Die campaign?
A public giant chalkboard that turns an urban neglected space into a constructive, inspirational one.
This wall was started by Candy Chang, a designer and urban planner. In 2009, she lost someone very dear to her. For a while, she struggled coming to terms with this loss, and she spent her days contemplating death, starting to think about how she wanted to live out her days. So, she started wondering if anyone else was in the same boat, and what mattered to these people.
In a bid to engage people without being intrusive, and to get to know her neighbours on a more personal level, she started the very first ‘Before I Die’ wall on the side of an abandoned building in New Orleans in 2011.
Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in a public space. This wall served as a way for passers-by to directly engage with street art and to share their hopes for themselves in a goal to live them out before they die.
Within 24 hours, this wall was completely filled. And since the implementation of this wall, more than 400 walls have sprung up in 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Chile - and in multiple languages, too. (You can explore all the walls around the world here.)
This campaign showed us how powerful public spaces can be if we’re given the opportunity to have a voice and share with one another. It showed us the potential of building such a strong community space where we could openly share our dreams, and to watch our loved ones and strangers alike pen their wishes alongside ours.
According to Candy, two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people. With 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, how do we live out our lives in the most fulfilling ways? What things do we wish to achieve, and how do we go about achieving these?
Of the things people regretted the most before they die, there were:
1. I wish I had followed my gut.
2. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself.
3. I wish I had spent more time with my family.
4. I wish I had travelled more.
5. I wish I hadn't worried so much.
Of these, how many of these are we already guilty of? What can we do today to change it? To live a life so extraordinary that you can look back and say you’ve had no regrets?
As the new year rolls around, I urge you to think about the things that truly matter to you.
I once read an article that asked, 'What would you not believe if I told you what your life would be like in the future?' Find the answer, write it down, and make it happen. Did you know that we are 80% more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down?
Some incredible things have happened to me lately that truly make me believe that where there's a will, there's a way. You only live once, but if you do it right, then once is enough.
Join us on Saturday, 26th November, where you get to write your wishes on our giant chalkboard and say hello to us! Check out our event page for more details.